Effective social media updates are a key part of any successful content marketing strategy – they can help raise brand awareness, drive traffic to your website or blog, promote a sale or a new product or service, and entertain and engage customers. But just like the dreaded headline, if you don’t happen to be a professional content writer, writing social media updates that capture attention can be something that at best you rush through, or worse, something that becomes too much of a chore. Here are a few things to keep in mind for the next time you’re updating your social media pages.
What’s your aim?
It sounds simple, but the first step in creating an effective social media update is to be clear in your own mind exactly what you want to achieve before you set fingers to keyboard. Do you want to sell, inform or perhaps just share something your customers and target market are likely to find interesting and useful? When you have a defined purpose, it becomes a lot easier to focus on crafting a compelling update that gets people to visit your website.
Be clear and concise
Keep updates short and snappy. Remember, we’re talking about social media. People should be able to grasp your message at a glance, so unless you operate in a highly technical field, it’s generally advisable to use plain language and avoid jargon.
Keep it simple
Content writers like us who enjoy playing with words for a living are often tempted to come up with a clever play on words or a guessing game to intrigue readers but when it comes to social media, that can sometimes be counterproductive.
Many people have so much information coming their way that being asked to puzzle out what you mean just feels like hard work. They’ll move on to something easier and your effort will be wasted.
The aim is always to give readers a positive reason to do what you want them to. You may be using an update to promote a blog post or a sale, or advertise products and services, so after you’ve drafted it, ask yourself – would I click on that?
The value of keywords
Identify what’s interesting to your customers and use related keywords in your updates. Here are some examples of brief keyword-focused updates with the keywords in bold:
- Winter gloves on sale! 20-50% price reductions on selected lines.
- Spring bedding for garden borders now in. Half price to first 50 customers.
The keywords are what customers may be searching for or interested in. Those words catch their attention and they read on, discovering that thanks to your offer, there’s a compelling reason to go to your website NOW.
A fresh pair of eyes
It’s a great idea to get someone else to read your updates before you post them. The odds are you’ll have been staring at your 140 characters or couple of sentences for a while, and a fresh perspective is often helpful.
Target your audience
Remember that your updates will vary depending on the platform you use, and your target audience. For example, Twitter can lend itself well to posting something entertaining, while LinkedIn is a professional network, so you might post valuable business information or insights.
Not a skilled wordsmith?
While you might know very well what you want to say, picking and arranging words to fashion a compelling yet brief message is not everyone’s primary skill. Why stress over it? A skilled content writer actually enjoys turning ideas and bullet points into high quality material, and could save you a great deal of time and frustration.