To say my one-year-old is loud would be an understatement—but last week I had enough of the scream-as-loud-as-I-can-to-get-more-food routine and decided to give sign language another try. So, the next time his high chair tray was empty of a particular favorite food item (usually blueberries) I showed him the sign for “more.” His “more” looks exactly like his patty cake, but we understand each other and meal times are slowly improving.
Too often, social media posts resemble a toddler trying to get attention by screaming instead of an actual conversation. “LIKE MY PAGE!” isn't a conversation, it's a command. The best posts don't shout at potential customers, they engage them in an ongoing, grown-up conversation. To achieve more with your professional social media platforms, create a conversation, not a command.
Know Your Audience
The challenge is creating a conversation when you are not face-to-face, often with people you've never met before. The first step to find out who you are having a conversation with. Who is your primary audience? For instance, if you sell makeup or jewelry, your primary audience is women. Narrow down your audience by considering who is most likely to buy your product or use your service.
Depending on what social media platform you are using, you may also be able to determine your audience by looking at who you are currently engaging with. Facebook's new Page Insights, for example, has a section called “People” that details the age, gender, location and language of the users that have liked your page. Look at who you are currently “talking” to and your primary audience when determining who your audience is.
Ask a Question
Once you have your primary audience in mind, it's a bit easier to craft your post. Again, consider your social media posts as conversation. You don't have to use extremely formal language (though you should use correct grammar). You can use contractions. And (gasp!) it's sometimes okay to start a sentence with “and” or “but”—just like you might when talking to a friend. Posts should sound casual, not like a college thesis.
But how do you write a post that's conversational? One way is to start by asking a question. And, just like in face-to-face conversation, an unusual question is more likely to get a response than a simple “How are you?” If you ask typical questions, you'll get typical answers. Keep the question short and relevant, however. Need a few ideas to get you started? Try a “Would you rather” or “Have you ever” question. Fill-in-the-blank posts are also excellent ways to engage your followers. Simple statements can work as well.
When writing posts, it's best to keep them short. Word choice is an important aspect of keeping posts brief, while still packing them with information. Avoid using “is” or “are” and use an active verb (i.e. ran, jumped, exclaimed, etc.) whenever possible. Make every character count by eliminating any redundant words.
Since social media lacks the face-to-face aspect we have in real life, consider adding an image. If your business is selling jewelry, use a photo to ask a question like, “Which necklace do you like better?” Or, share an inspirational or funny phrase—but do it with an image.
Make It Worthwhile
The most important thing to consider when creating a conversation about your business using social media is to share things that are worth talking about. If funny, inspirational and educational posts are shared, your audience will be more likely to engage with you, and share your information with their friends, increasing your social media reach, and, hopefully, your business revenue.
Novice social media users often share posts that resemble the demands of a toddler, rather than the conversation of adults. Identify your audience, craft a conversation and create posts that are worth sharing and you will soon see an increase in your social media reach and activity.