As a social media strategist and writer, I’m driven by meaningful content. What does that mean? It means I believe in the teams I work with and the brands I represent, and my writing and outreach reflects that. It means I prioritize high-quality content and relationships. It means genuinely connecting with people is just as important as engagement metrics. If you’re overwhelmed by ‘the noise’ of social media and aren’t sure how to stand out, we should talk. In the meantime, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Be human. Amongst the swirl of SEO tactics, writing like a human will set you apart in a big way. Remember that it’s a conversation. Add value and personality. Be relatable and entertaining. Listen, and respond appropriately. The biggest offenders of robot-speak? Twitter users. Hashtags are great for targeting an audience, but the intended message is lost when a tweet is full of hashtag spew. If I add hashtags that don’t fit in the main sentence or title, I try and limit myself to 3 at the end. I also try and make them into a somewhat sensical phrase, ’cause it’s just more fun that way. (i.e. #sustainability #education #FTW).
2. Titles, titles, titles. This is a big one. As a blog contributor a while back, my posts would always get tagged for title editing. At first I was offended and frustrated–“you don’t even like the whole theme of my post??”–but I quickly realized the importance of the title on the social media marketplace. People are skimming at best, and if you don’t catch their attention with a good title, they’ll just keep right on going. Keep in mind that CAPITALS and excessive exclamations (!!!) tend to have a repellant effect. ‘Top 5’ or ‘Top 10’ lists are a good go-to (yup, I went with the obvious on this one), but a dynamo title is telling, intriguing, and amusing. Ask yourself: would you stop and click on that from a long list of titles? If not, try again. And again. (And maybe again.)
3. Not all platforms are created equal. Depending on your social media strategy, you’ll want to focus your efforts in a few platforms that support your goals. First, which media (text, photo, and video) make sense with your objectives and your personal interests. How much of each medium? Once you’ve launched, keep your platforms separate in your mind even while you’re coordinating posts across them. Yea, it’s tricky, but the style is different on each, and success on one doesn’t mean success on the others. You might be blowing up on Twitter or Pinterest, but if that translates to hyperactivity on Facebook or LinkedIn, your viewers will get content fatigue. No bueno.
4. Excuse yourself. When you make a mistake, own up to it. Address it promptly with humor and humility, and replace it with something more memorable. Gaffes should be avoided at all costs, but they’re also opportunities to check in and re-evaluate your approach. Also: take a break! Even a 24-hr moratorium on one platform will help rejuvenate your mind and focus your message. Feeling drained, or just plain gutsy? 24 hrs, no social media (with scheduled posts if you reeeeally have to). If the idea alone makes you panic, then it’s time for #5.
5. Breathe. Before you post: Take a deep breath, re-read your work, and see if it looks right. Make any changes. Looking good? Sweet. Breathe again, post, and move on. While you’re hunched over your computer researching trends, pause and take a breath. When you start to panic about the text on a screen, take a breath. Remember that everything is replaceable and anything can be fixed EXCEPT your time and breath. So take a moment, take a breath…and exhale. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been internally whirling over this stuff, only to find that I’ve been holding my breath, and for who knows how long. Social media won’t exist if we can’t breathe. First breathe, then post. It’s what makes you alive, what makes you move, what makes you think. Breathe. Be human. Be social.