Help! What writing styles should I use on different social media platforms? Part 2

Help! What writing styles should I use on different social media platforms? Part 2Last week, Amanda from Birmingham wrote in the following question:
“I want to be sure I get my writing style right for platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and so-on. I run a small arts and crafts business from home and I have a business page set up for that on Facebook. Do I need to differentiate my style from one to another and if so how?”

Part Two: Twitter, Google Plus and Facebook

Hi again Amanda

As you will remember from Part One last week, you’ll find the basic answer to this question by studying your target audiences. That’s really what dictates how you approach your writing in almost every genre and medium. We covered LinkedIn and Facebook then as they are very different and probably the most widely used platforms in our sort of businesses. But now let’s take a look at the other three platforms you mentioned and see how their rather more subtle differences affect your writing style.

Writing style on Twitter

Twitter of course strangles any form of writing style by restricting it to 140 characters. Or realistically, somewhere between 100 and 120 characters if you want to leave enough room for retweets etc. Thankfully the awful trend of abbreviating every word to within an inch of its life so as to cram as much unintelligible information into a tweet as possible has now passed, as people are becoming more accomplished at condensing their thoughts as well as their writing style.

I am the wrong person to ask about content for Twitter, because even after tweeting like a schizophrenic parrot for several years I still have yet to discover why it’s so popular. The style, obviously, must be crisp and concise and be stripped of all but essential words. Journalists and wannabee journalists love Twitter and it’s true to say that it’s an excellent place to find out the latest breaking news even before the UK’s Daily Wail gets to it.

But being a writing writer, I can’t survive for long on a diet of verbal starvation…good luck, Amanda!

Writing style on Google Plus

Google Plus is not everyone’s cup of tea, although I don’t understand why. To me, in writing style terms it’s a lovely mash-up of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and I love the way that business and personal content come together in a rather less rigid way than anywhere else.

Unlike LinkedIn and Facebook there aren’t many groups – called “communities” on Google Plus – based around local or regional parts of the UK yet. But if your arts and crafts business sells internationally, and/or you want to share information and experiences with other people in similar businesses all over the world, G+ is a very good place to do it.

As I suggest above, the right writing style is informal and unfussy, and perhaps not quite as relaxed and laid back as Facebook. But it’s certainly nothing like as formal as LinkedIn, even in business groups.

The way G+ works takes a bit of getting used to but once you do get the hang of it, it’s great.

Writing style on Pinterest

The most important thing to remember about Pinterest is that the focus is almost entirely on images, not words. You need to be very careful to select good images for your Pinterest boards (shouldn’t be hard for you as arts and crafts are wonderfully visual) and then be sure to get in there and write some crisp, concise text about each one.

Although Pinterest has been flirting with the overall business community quite a lot recently, it’s still only of real attraction to business users whose products are pretty to look at. (Having said that, I get quite a lot of traffic from there but that could be because I put a lot of time and effort into choosing good images for HTWB articles.)

In your descriptions, you need to be sure you direct viewers the way you want them to go – do you want them to read more? If so, say so … “read on for the whole story.” Do you want them to buy now as it’s a special deal? If so, “click through now for a fab 20 percent discount!” And don’t forget to check the URL of your image – using the edit facility for a pin, change the URL to your website’s landing page or whatever is more appropriate.

Hope you found this helpful, Amanda

…and don’t hesitate to write in again if you have further questions! (If you missed Part One, check it out here.)