Just as writing for the web requires different tactics than writing for print, writing for social media is different than writing for the web. Writers need to evaluate their style and approach when writing for social media in order to meet the unique needs of this medium.
Know Your Audience
One of the biggest ways in which social media writing differs from web writing is the fact that you are writing for specific people, not for algorithms. Even though web writing is generally crafted to appeal to people, it must also take into account how to best attract attention from search engines and how to stand out in search results. With social media, the emphasis is on building conversations and relationships, not page rank. Content has to appeal to specific individuals, not aggregate groups, and must be written in a way that encourages sharing.
So-Me Writing for Dummies
While talented writers can produce content for just about any medium, to be a successful social media writer, it helps if you’re a sociable person. The same qualities that make you successful in social settings will help you with social media. Below are some helpful tips.
- Be yourself. With social media, it’s best to be authentic. People generally respond most to those whom they perceive as being genuine. Regardless of whether they agree or disagree with you, by being yourself, you will at least reveal your personality which helps start conversation.
- Don’t worry about building a platform or a brand. People gravitate towards social media for interaction and connection, not to receive broadcast marketing messages or to simply follow carefully crafted statements. Make them feel that they have a personal connection with you.
- Participate in conversations. Social media is about listening and responding to others, not just talking about yourself. Building an audience is artificial; letting one gather around you is organic.
- Share what you love. Don’t limit yourself to posting content revolving around a limited subject matter. Share things across a variety of topics that entertain, engage, or excite you, but be sparing about sharing things that irritate or anger you.
Writers are particularly suited to use social media because it relies on the ability to write compelling and interesting content. It’s all about the words. Most writers are also natural storytellers, a skill that meshes perfectly with this medium. Social media can also help relieve some of the isolation many writers face. Writing is a solitary occupation and social media can help connect you to potential clients, industry leaders, other writers, and readers.
Speaking of readers, most writers don’t have the opportunity to meet their readers, much less to find out what they like or don’t like, but they can do just that with social media. Engaging with readers can be fulfilling on a personal level, can increase audience retention, and can help you as the writer come up with new content ideas.
Victim of Your Own Success
Despite all of the positive aspects of social media, writers should be cautious about falling victim to common social media pitfalls, such as:
- Distraction. Social media should supplement and support your writing life, not supplant it. If you’re spending more time on social media than you are on your writing, you probably need to re-evaluate your priorities and goals.
- Over sharing. While you’re encouraged to share details of your personal and writing life, there is a line that you shouldn’t cross. Sharing uncomfortable personal details, the uninteresting minutiae of everyday life, or gloating about your successes (or rivals’ failures) can backfire and drive followers away.
- Arguments, sour grapes, and unbridled criticism. Social media is not the place to start or engage in public squabbles or to air your dissatisfactions with your career, fellow writers, the industry, or life in general. Similarly, you shouldn’t use it to blast other writers’ work. Just like in the offline world, you should strive to maintain your professionalism online.
Making the “Write” Connections
Social media can be an incredibly effective tool and rewarding experience for writers who are looking to not only market themselves and their work, but to establish genuine connections with other people. Social media can also help you stay informed on developing trends and monitor longer term trends. For writers, it also makes for an excellent research resource. By tapping into the collective knowledge and experience in your network, writers can quickly gain new perspectives, contacts, suggested reading, reviews on products, and an array of other information. It’s a great way to connect with other writers, creatives, readers, and industry insiders, helping you take your career to the next level while meeting people and making friends along the way.
This article was written by Kaity Nakagoshi and provided by University Alliance, on behalf of the University of San Francisco’s online program. They offer a variety of professional certification opportunities, including a master certificate in internet marketing and a specialized certificate in advanced social media training. To find out additional information please visit: http://www.usanfranonline.com.
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