This month’s Social Media London Meetup was “Sweet Retweets: How to Write for Social Media“ with Sue Keogh, copywriter and an expert on writing for the web. We all know recruiters could do with some style tips on social media; the better it looks, the more it will attract clients and candidates.
Some background information
Facebook and Twitter were the main focus of this meetup, with a few other platforms as well. The following topics were tackled as well:
- How to get likes, comments and shares on Facebook
- How to get your tweets retweeted
- How to write good titles for your blog posts and other content that will be shared on social media
As part of the meetup, Sue shared 9 of her favourite tips on how to write for social media (for recruiters and anyone else):
1. Don’t be all “me me me”
Remember: social media is all about being human, especially when you are a recruiter. Keep in mind the “rule of thirds” – spend:
- A third of the time promoting yourself, talking about your products, service and what you have to offer;
- A third of the time talking about what’s going on in the industry, retweeting and sharing other people’s content;
- A third of the time just answering people’s questions and doing general admin tasks.
2. Don’t be afraid to be brief
As Facebook doesn’t have the character count limitations that Twitter has, there’s the temptation to waffle on forgetting the fact that a lot of people view content on their mobile devices. People who view Facebook might be put off if they see lengthy content from you, so don’t try to be too dominant with your posts.
With Twitter, make each tweet that you want to be shared retweetable:
- Keep your tweets under 150 characters, to leave pace for the username of the person retweeting you and pace for any comment that the user might add to your tweet
- You can use a link shortener, which is often built into a few Twitter clients
- Before you post the tweet, read it and ask yourself, “is there a way I can write this tweet to make it more concise?”.
- Try using synonyms for long words: for instance, instead of saying “attempted”, why not say “tried”?
3. Use extra punctuation
Punctuation makes your tweets easier to read and easier to share as well, as they add extra clarity to your tweets (when used correctly). This is statistically proven: Dan Zarrella, an award-winning social media scientist, has conducted a research on Twitter and retweets and he found that retweets are more likely to contain punctuation that tweets that aren’t retweeted.
4. Ask a question and say “you”
If you want to engage the reader:
- Make use of the word “you”,
- Ask questions,
- Ask opinions,
- Use strong words like “why”, “what”, “who”, and “how”.
5. Avoid abstract titles
Unfortunately this is sometimes that often goes overlooked in social media: coming up with a good and effective title for your content. This applies to blog posts, YouTube videos etc.
When you use “abstract titles”, people can’t be 100% sure of what your content is about until they click on a link and finally see it. If users don’t feel compelled to open the link after reading the title, they won’t see your post, hence they won’t share it.
6. Tell people what to expect
- Tell your readers or viewers what to expect right from the title.
- You don’t need to give all the details away to do so. For instance, football writers will only hint at what the article is about in the title but they won’t give away all the details. This is a simple but effective way to invite readers to see and read your posts.
- Though people overlook this, update your bio on social networks. This will give people a chance to see what you and your blog/channels are about.
7. Check your spelling and grammar
- If you don’t use grammar properly, it reflects badly not only on you as a person but also on your brand. Candidates won’t be impressed, same with clients.
- Don’t rely heavily on the spellchecker – they will detect incorrect spellings but they won’t check the semantics of your sentence (whether what you’ve written makes sense or not).
- Don’t rush – read your content through before you post it, whether it’s a tweet, a Facebook status, or a blog post.
8. Don’t forget your context
Context is very important: once you post a tweet, you don’t have control over it – people will start retweeting and it’ll be shared with the world.
Keep in mind what’s going on in the world – if your tweets are sent out in inappropriate moments, they might be retweeted and shared for the wrong reasons.
9. Don’t auto-post between context
A lot of recruiters auto-post across platforms because it’s quick, efficient and very easy to do. Sookio’s argument against auto-posting is that it looks lazy to your followers and readers, and you might come across as dismissive and too busy to cater for your audience on your various platforms.
In addition, by using auto-post you don’t take full advantage of your social media platforms. For instance, on Twitter you might be limited to text, a link and/or a picture, but on Facebook you can make more use of multimedia and write more.
Be very careful what channels you auto-post on, especially if you decide to push your tweets to your LinkedIn feed. Though you might have an amount of liberty to express yourself on Twitter, remember that LinkedIn is a place for professionals and they might not be particularly happy to see drunken tweets on their LinkedIn feed.
Here’s a clip of Sue’s talk:
For more details on Sue’s How To Write for Social Media workshops, check out Sweet Retweets.
Bernardo Donkor is a blogger at TechLume and a Social Media Executive for Groupon UK. He blogs about social media, technology and startups. He’s a student at Birkbeck College doing a BA degree in Linguistics and Languages. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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