Place the Five Ws Above the Fold
Where does the social media post get cut off by a “read more” tag? You want the what, when, where, who, and why to appear above that point — in that order.
This is no place for witty introductory text. Your online audience is skimming these social media feeds at lightning speed. They’re going to skip over your post that reads:
[Company], a leader in burying the lede and being ignorant of the medium, would like its misunderstood audience to know … read more.”
Beyond the Five Ws
Make use of the nuances of the various social media platforms: their tone and features such as events settings, links, and photos. Don’t risk looking like an ill-informed old-schooler trying to hang with the cool kids.
These are some of the sources on good communication practice that stand out in my memory:
- Journalism 101 (Google that phrase for more, but this is one place to start)
- Emerging in social media to win clients
- When to post to social media
- Plain Language Communication
- Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace
- Quick Fixes for Business Writing: An Eight-Step Editing Process to Find and Correct Common Readability Problems (also available at the library and Google Books)
Make Tweets Shorter
Leave room for the text that is automatically added to retweets, at least 5 characters plus your handle. For me, that means “RT @scieditor:” otherwise people have to fiddle with your wording to make it fit, and in this twitchy culture, they’re more likely to abandon the effort than to take the time.
Max tweet size = 120 characters to encourage sharing.
Why This Post?
I recently asked to forward my best practices for social media communication. While I haven’t kept a running summary of what I’ve learned from constant practice and study over the last 20 years, I’m pleased when people want to learn about this; it really is an interesting area.
For more on social media, check my series and collection of others’ posts (scroll the window below). I also recommend reading more on this blog, where I post advice and the best resources I find each week, many of them related to communication.