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Writing for social media is a bit like fishing. You need a juicy worm to lure your readers away from all the other hooks. Of course, writing clear, compelling, relevant copy with a strong call to action is no different from writing for websites, brochures or direct mail.

But the big difference with social media is that your message can reach an exponential audience in minutes. Or be heard by no-one – in seconds.

Used wisely, social media (eg. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Four Square, Google+, Digg et al) lets you share stories like never before, and create ongoing conversations around them. It’s the online equivalent of a TV phone-in or talkback radio. And like talkback, it’s a tiny minority who bother to respond, share, re-tweet, vote, ‘like’ or leave comments.

So how do you write content for a medium that can be as powerful as it can be unforgiving? 

Tip 1. Understand the brief

What do you want to achieve? There’s more to it than just trying to sell more stuff. What about building loyalty? Getting feedback? Proving your expertise? Handling complaints? Updating people?

Tip 2. Understand your audience

What does your reader need or want to know? They’re already out there telling you – just listen in on competitor Facebook pages and comments on industry forums or blogs.

Tip 3. Mix it up

The most successful Facebook pages mix up their posts to keep it interesting. So Mondays are interactive – perhaps a quick poll or competition. Wednesdays are about information or insight. Fridays are special offers, just in time for the weekend.

Tip 4. Strike the right tone

Your tone of voice has to be conversational, yet still reflect your brand’s tone. Professional or irreverent? Empathetic or witty? Whichever, this is no place for jargon. Avoid phrases like ‘leveraging stakeholder engagement’. There’s no excuse for it.

Tip 5. Keep it fresh and regular

How often to post? There are no rules, but keep your audience in mind. Too often and they’ll turn you off, too infrequent and they’ll forget about you. If you’re tweeting, probably a few times a day. If you’re blogging, every few weeks.

Tip 6. Ask questions, solve problems

Asking the right questions at the end of blogs, group chats, polls and surveys can generate a good response – and teach you something new. Help customers solve problems. Whether it’s returning a garment or finding lost luggage, you’ll win some loyal fans. Create an army of ‘social evangelists’ and they’ll spread the word for you.

Tip 7. Remember, it’s a conversation

Always respond to comments, answer questions, and thank people for re-tweeting. Respect their point of view and acknowledge their position. Every comment posted, every ‘like’, is another opportunity for friends and their friends and so on to find you.

Tip 8. Spelling and grammar matter

If badly written, a status update or blog – no matter how relevant – reflects badly on you and your network. There’s no excuse for not re-reading your post before hitting send. If possible, ask someone to read it first.

Tip 9. Don’t forget a call to action

Don’t just tell people to ‘like’ your Facebook page – what’s in it for them? Why should they let you clutter up their status updates? So encourage them to visit a website or enter a competition – and make it really easy to do.

Rule 10. Just do it

Writing a 140 character Tweet or a 300 word blog, can feel daunting. So, just start writing and see what happens – every post is a chance to learn what lures those fish in. And if you’re really struggling, get in touch. We’ve helped brands of all shapes and sizes land more customers through social media.

Want to see our creds? Just ask.

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