This applies to you too if you’re planning to become a writer in the social media sphere. Bloggers or social media writers have grown in number and social networks are quickly becoming the battle grounds of the new digital age where every single player tries to one-up the competition by hoarding thousands of loyal followers. However, it’s not always just the number of fans that matter because engagement with your community is important as well.
With these in mind, jumping into social media writing can seem like a daunting task for newcomers. Going up against other internet personalities that happen to have a widespread following might seem impossible. But remember, they started off much like everyone else: in the little leagues.
To help you start out, consider these social media writing essentials.
Become an expert at your writing
If you’re a foodie, write restaurant reviews or if you’re a movie buff, discuss the latest blockbuster hit. Whichever you’ve decided to focus your writing on, immerse yourself in that subject.
It also won’t hurt if you can find the best related bloggers, follow their examples and learn from their mistakes. Use the combined experience of your “mentors” with your very own style and approach to create something completely unique.
Once you’ve stated, be sure to keep your readers hooked. You’ll need to sell your post with a good, clever and clickable headline, followed by a powerful first few paragraphs to grab their attention. Although a summary usually works, using an anecdote as background to reinforce the urgency of your post could entice more readers.
Facebook isn’t the be-all and end-all
In order to choose which platforms best suit your needs, you’ll have to stand back and look at what you actually plan on doing to promote your brand (or yourself).
Facebook is, without doubt, one of the most amazing tools out there. Not only is it the most widespread platform for ordinary run-of-the-mill social networking, but it also happens to be the quintessential first step every business has to take if it plans on having an online presence, aside from setting up its own company blog, that is.
However important this platform may be, don’t fall for the trap of putting all your eggs in the Facebook basket. When it comes to social media, smart diversification is key. Tumblr, Twitter and Reddit now house bustling, ever growing communities with tons of new opportunities, and each ideal for different purposes.
So before committing to just one or a set of platforms, have a look at all the options available and consider which is cut out for you.
Know your crowd
Like any other enterprise, knowing your target market is essential before jumping into the fray, so you’ll have to fully understand who you’re writing for and who the average users of the platform are.
Each platform harbors a different mindset. Although each user is technically different, a hivemind does exist for each one of these communities. It doesn’t mean that every opinion is the same, but some general opinions and points of views are shared by most. Before stepping in, take note of certain quirks such as the etiquette, posting format, preferences, types of humor and even the memes they share.
For example, a good post on Reddit will have to be funny, interesting and should launch users into a positive discussion, all while being written in a humble manner that reflects goodwill. On the other hand, a highlighted Twitter post will have to be short and witty to reel in the retweets.
Just because you chose to focus on one platform doesn’t mean all the others should go to waste. Whenever you write a blog post, remember to advertise it on other outlets such as Twitter or Facebook.
Linking to your own content with a catchy lead is an excellent strategy to gain more traffic, as long as you don’t overdo it. You don’t want it to become obnoxious spam, constantly littering your followers’ feeds.
Balance out your need to advertise with the mutual respect you plan on nurturing with your followers. Keep in mind that for some readers, spam might as well be a deadly sin, so be careful and avoid automatic “unlike” or “unsubscribe”.
Mind the key words
SEO optimization is a big deal If you plan on having a steady influx of new readers.
Whenever you write an article or post, keep in mind that it’s always better to use a set of keywords that will best represent you, the company you’re writing for, and/or the article’s topic itself.
Try not to be too generic or broad. Instead, use identifiable phrases that will help search engines single out your article. For example, if you’re writing about the latest trend in downtown restaurants, a useful keyword could be “downtown Asian restaurant reviews” as opposed to the more generic “Asian restaurant”.
Interact with your readers
If you plan on building a following of avid readers, you’ll want your comments section to be bursting with activity.
Publishing content just for the purpose of putting it out there, while avoiding your readers and letting your comments section wither away defeats the purpose of having such a content rich platform. Every single comment you get on an article or post is an extra chance to boost your online persona (or that of your company).
Remember, you’re the human face behind the articles and without any engagement from you, readers tend to quickly forget about your blog. So, share the experience with them. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge positive (or negative) feedback, and don’t shy away from friendly discussions.
Keep your cool at all times
As much as we try to avoid them, heated discussions may happen from time to time. Articles or posts might be put under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, and readers might quickly change their tone about you or your company.
Whatever the case, and whether you’re actually right or wrong, getting into a long winded word fight with your followers isn’t worth it. Instead, always focus on what really matters: customer relations. So, if you have to take back something you said, do it with the utmost respect for your readers.
Always consider the impact your words may have on the bigger picture and your readers’ opinions. And contrary to popular belief, not all publicity is good publicity. Bad word-of-mouth stings (a lot), so write responsibly.