Writing for social media. Why every word counts.

Let’s talk goldfish.

If you believe we evolved from fish, then you could say we are devolving.

Apparently, the average human now has an attention span shorter than that of a goldfish (crazy, right?).

Goldfish = 9 seconds.

Humans = 8 seconds.

Our large volume of media consumption, social media usage and multi-screen behaviour is affecting our ability to focus on a single piece of information, according to a Canadian study.

Which is why, when it comes to social media content, every word counts. What you write and the way you write it determines whether you are able to reel your audience in or not.

Think short and snappy. If your audience has to click on ‘See more’ to get to the point, chances are your social media marketing will flounder.

Writing succinct copy is a skill in itself and writing for social media is yet another skill set.

Some of the rules that you learnt at school fly out of the window but the staples stay the same.

Mix sentence styles up, use emojis and have a bit of fun but NEVER compromise on spelling and punctuation. We all know what happened to Grandma when someone left out a comma (‘Let’s eat, Grandma’ versus ‘Let’s eat Grandma’).

To help you out we have listed our top 6 rules for survival, so that your social media marketing flourishes, not flounders.

1.Keep it casual

Even if you are a serious brand you should adopt a more conversational tone when you’re on social media. You can soften your approach without being flippant.

2. Add a personal touch

Use pronouns, such as ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘you’ and ‘me’. It’s much more personal than ‘the company’ or ‘the client’.

3. Drop the formalities

Avoid jargon and ‘business-speak’. People go on social media for entertainment and downtime. You can provide more comprehensive, technical information on your website.

4. Engage people

Invite people to get involved. Creating a dialogue with your audience helps get them invest in your brand.

5. Don’t oversell

Inspire, inform and entertain but don’t overdo your advertising speech. Occasional offers and promotions are fine, but you want to build a sense of community not bombard your audience with ‘junk mail’.

6. Link up

Provide your audience with useful links (preferably to your website). Think of the post as a ‘teaser’ that takes them to where you want them to go. You might link to a blog on your website, for instance. Like this one.

And, by the way, if you’re still reading – congratulations! Consider yourself evolved.

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