Writing for business on social media: the knickers-off truth

We read an awful lot about the realities of social media and the opinions, information and advice are so voluminous you begin to wonder what is worthwhile and what is over-bloated BS.

Writing for business on social media: the knickers-off truth

The knickers-off realities of writing about your business on social media

Here is a brief digest I feel is helpful to SME (Small to Medium sized Enterprise) businesses.

Many social media “gurus” will say that I am over-simplifying and they are probably right. However everyone has to start somewhere and for those “gurus” to start shouting detailed data can be very unhelpful … especially to busy business people like us who have better things to do than sweat blood for hours over their Google Analytics, much as those are useful once you know enough to get your head around them.

The knickers-off realities about writing for social media

As you may already know, getting your name and brand out there on the social media is quite an important and inexpensive way to search for jobs, grow your business, and more.

However there is a lot of nonsense talked about social media. Anyone who has a Facebook page and an Instagram account these days will put themselves forward as a Social Media guru when in fact they forget about two key issues:

One, there is a lot more to social media than they think there is and

Two, you don’t actually need to splatter yourself all over every platform.

I read an article recently by some smart American guy who is saying that because the social media want to squeeze people into paying for their posts to get seen by as many people as possible, the only way to get attention for free is to splatter yourself all over the place. Then you hope and pray that someone, somewhere will see what you have to say.

Although I can see a business model in there somewhere, personally I think that’s a pile of doo-doo. If, as individuals, you choose where you get active very carefully, there is every chance you will get seen and your posts will be read.

Provided, of course, that what you say is interesting and valuable.

Writing for business on social media does not require a magic formula

What it does require, is for you to be yourself.

Does that sound facile?

Well, probably that’s because it’s a lot easier than the “gurus” make out. There isn’t the time or space in this article to go into the small print of writing for social media, although I have shared a number of practical tips in the following articles, so please help yourself:

What writing styles should I use on different social media platforms? Part 1

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

Blogs and social media: publishing #blogversational posts direct to the SocMed

Are blogs and social media business posts having a reshuffle?

…and several more: key “social media” into the search box top right of screen.

In any case there shouldn’t be any small print: social media is about writing down what you would say to whoever you’re discussing with, what you think and what you think about what they are saying.

No mysteries, no magic tricks.

Writing for business on social media is like chatting in a F2F business group

Writing for business on social media: the knickers-off truth

A lot of nonsense is talked about social media

No sh*t? Yes, really.

If you’re like me, you will be networking F2F with different types of groups – heavy business, mixed lockout groups, mainly social women’s groups, part-networking/part-training groups, referral-based groups, etc. etc. Needless to say the way you talk both formally and informally to other people in these groups varies according to which one you’re looking at.

And that’s exactly how the online version works, when you’re writing posts and comments in social media. I’m sure you already know the basics of the social media platforms:

Facebook: friendly and easy-going with a strong business presence if you want it … but even business posts and comments need to be relaxed and not hard-sell

LinkedIn: totally business orientated and very unforgiving if you post or comment in a frivolous way

Twitter: with a restriction on posts of a mere 140 characters, and ideally 100 or maybe 110 if you want to leave room for people to retweet what you share, elegant writing styles go straight down the toilet. Twitter is all about sharing a message rather like you would write in old-fashioned telegrams in the 20th century (even I am not old enough to remember those) where every word counted, in that case largely because you paid by the word. Messages were so brief it wasn’t funny. I’m not a huge fan, but Twitter is brilliant for researching specific topics and allowing people to keep up with you.

Google Plus: somewhere between Facebook and LinkedIn in terms of what you should write about. A very cross-Atlantic and increasingly international readership so keep your writing simple and relevant. Avoid the intimate snapshots of your daily life (e.g. what you cooked for dinner) as people in Russia or Taiwan probably won’t get the point. Everyone on there seems to love cute pix or videos of cats though…and business posts, especially if you hashtag them properly, will get some attention.

Pinterest: image-led, but don’t let that bother you. If you’re sharing your blog posts on there make sure you choose really vibrant images to go with your words, share those on Pinterest (and make sure you write some enticing words to accompany the image) and people will love them.

Instagram: a much younger audience which gives a whole new meaning to narcissism. Unless you are the right side of 25, don’t try to write in the argot of the young – simply share some sharp images and accompany them with a few well-chosen words that will get your point over fast, before their butterfly-like attention spans flit elsewhere.

And so-on with the other platforms. For more in-depth help on writing for social media have a look at this article (part one) and this article (part two.)

So where should you go to write for your business on social media?

What you need to do is to check out social media platforms that are most appropriate for you. If you’re running a small business these are likely to be LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest and Instagram, although there are numerous others that may work for you too.

With Twitter you can target your tweets to specific audiences.

With LinkedIn, Facebook and Google Plus you need to join business-related groups … on Google Plus they’re called communities, but it’s the same thing. If you search you’ll find a number of groups that are right for your profession. Join them and join in the discussions. Make sure you have a good profile on each of them … not just on LinkedIn!

And once you have established a bit of street cred, you can start writing blogs on a simple website of your own. For more info on how to blog for your business, check out this category here on HTWB – more than 200 articles and tutorials to help you.

You can post full length articles on LinkedIn and increasingly, people are publishing full-length blog posts and articles on Facebook and Google Plus.

And the good news is it’s all free, apart from the cost of your own time.

You can also check out the resources showing you how to write for your business on social media right here on HTWB by using the Search Box on the top right of this page. Help yourself – you’re more than welcome!

Hope this has been helpful

If you have any questions, send them on over to me on suze@suzanstmaur.com.

 

Comments

comments

Thoughts

  1. For a long time, the so-called gurus forgot to mention the part about quality writing and adding value. I’m glad to see that starting to change.

    (Of course you addressed it, just as anyone who’s ever read your blog would expect.)

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