Social media is a great way to market your business. But how do you write posts that grab attention and get people sharing your content? If your posts are proving unpopular, I’ve got some tips to help you start feeling the love.
1. Use your sparkling wit and conversational skills
When you write copy for your blog or website, you probably use language that’s direct and personal. But writing for social media is a different beast. It’s a conversation with real people. I know it sounds obvious but interacting with people in real time online can take some getting used to.
The major mistake I still see companies make is posting updates that are all about them. Don’t be that guy. Pretend you’re at a big cocktail party (that’s pretty much what social media is). Except this one is full of potential clients and business partners.
The best advice? Be yourself, start conversations and add value where you can. Share great content and answer questions. The rules for social media success are the same as they are in real life: Be open, be real and don’t be boring!
2. Variety is a spice best served daily
So what should you write about? Social media marketing is all about variety. Your aim is to inform, educate or entertain and ideally a mix of all three.
It helps to develop a content calendar or at least have an underlying plan for your posts. For example, on Mondays you might talk about a current project or start a discussion with an industry-related question. Or you could allocate time for a Q&A session on your area of expertise. This is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and create some interaction.
Remember that every post doesn’t have to be work-related. A mix of personal and professional posts will help people get to know you. It’s ok to reveal interesting (with the emphasis on interesting) personal facts.
Do share blog posts and news articles. If you’re retweeting or sharing someone else’s post, comment on it in a way that adds to the discussion. Don’t just blindly retweet updates that many of your followers may already receive. The aim of sharing content like this is to build your expertise and credibility by association.
3. Tweak your updates for different audiences
I know plenty of people post Facebook updates to Twitter, and Twitter updates to Linked In. But the truth is each social media platform has a different audience and those audiences have very different expectations. My advice is to take a few minutes to tailor your message for each one rather than linking and automating updates.
4. Be intriguing as hell
Whether you blog or not, your headlines had better make me want to click. Use intrigue to make them compelling. For example instead of:
“These tips were recommended for users of Pinterest,” try:
“Discover the secret to marketing your business with Pinterest” or
“5 ways companies are using Pinterest right now to triple their profits.”
If you’re having trouble with headlines, magazines can be a great source of inspiration. You can also find some great tips in these articles by Copyblogger.
Of course it goes without saying that your content should back up the promise in your headline.
5. Promote your competitors & share their work
I know this is counter-intuitive but bear with me. One of the unwritten laws of social media is that you can’t talk about yourself all the time. So what do you do? Introduce your fans and followers to other people in your industry who have interesting things to say and great articles to contribute. It’s a win-win. And if your competitors find your content valuable they’re likely to do the same for you. Which means you get introduced to a whole new audience. In the world of online business your competitors are your allies. Remember that.
6. Use a call to action
If you want more shares, clicks and likes sometimes it pays to tell people what to do. Research has shown that certain words like “please retweet” or “check this out” will encourage people to share your content. Hubspot social media scientist, Dan Zarella has more information on popular words here.
7. Be present
I know you have a business to run, not to mention a life. But don’t post and run. There’s no point having a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Pinterest if you only show up once a week to post funny photos of your cat. If you’re having trouble maintaining a host of different platforms, check your analytics and focus on one or two that give you the best return on your investment. Plan your posts and develop a schedule to prevent social media from eating your whole day!
Those are my tips for writing great social media posts. Try them out and see how you go! It does take time to build up a social media presence and start seeing results, so don’t give up too soon.
If you have any other tips that you’ve found work well with your audience, I’d love to hear them.