Small update, big responsibility

Danielle De Souza Submitted by on the 7th of July 2014

We ask a lot of the social media updates we craft and post on a daily basis. We ask them to be short and concise while still being full of personality and charm. We ask them to communicate a thought, ask a question, drive an action and be shareable, all while oozing brand personality. If we’re going to ask all of this of a simple update then we first need to do some thinking and planning. These are the points and questions I go through to help me when I write for social:

 

Specify your audience

Before you type the first word you need to know who you are writing to. Don’t send your update on a blind date. Specify who you’re talking to (or who you want to talk to) and keep them in mind when crafting your posts. This visualisation will ensure your post is relevant to the audience and is well prepared for the conversation ahead.

 

Decide on the call-to-action

Social updates can’t be all things. The more specific the purpose the better chance the update has of achieving the desired goal. Decide if you making a statement, asking for a response or driving traffic to another site. While there are many possible calls-to-action, a single update can’t achieve them all at once. Unless you have a clear plan, you can’t communicate effectively.

 

Choose words wisely

The outcome you desire dictates the vocabulary of your update. As a rule, unless your objective is to sound pompous, you should always try find the most concise, descriptive and specific words to communicate your point.

 

Forget adverbs

Given the space constraints, you should practice using one word instead of two. Although most of us use adverbs in everyday conversation, you need to learn to do without them on social. There’s no need to be “amazingly happy” when “happy” is good enough.

 

Write, rewrite and write again

If you’re telling the same story across multiple social platforms you must write a custom update for each. You can’t expect a single update to be successful across different platforms. We’re already asking a lot of each update, this is asking too much. Don’t copy and paste.

 

Punctuation saves lives

Few things turn a reader off faster than poor punctuation. Beyond making your update look unintelligent, improper punctuation often drastically changes the meaning of the words. There’s a big difference between, “let’s eat, grandma” and “let’s eat grandma”.

 

Hopefully these six tips will help you improve your social media writing and enable the content you share to actually achieve the goals you set out for it.

If you have any other tips or advise on improving social media writing please share them in the comments.