Mike Hanbery June 5, 2014

Why You Have to Spend More Time Writing for Social Media Marketing

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There really are business executives who have figured out that, with time and intention, highly powerful networks can be mobilized and maximized on social media. Every one of them is pressed for time and is seeking shortcuts…er, ways to manage social media more efficiently. They’re not alone. Everyone writing for social media marketing is seeking the same solution.

Toward this end, dashboard tools like HootSuite, SproutSocial and TweetDeck are appealing because of features including the ability to schedule messages in advance across multiple Internet social networks. I can, the premise goes, build my personal brand and save time by learning how to use a social media dashboard tool.

The premise fails. Here’s why:

Length of Post – Twitter’s signature 140-character limit, which spawns the “Tweetese” Hieroglyphics (MT @webolutions Is your #socialmedia #marketing…) that assuredly form a barrier to adoption requires a strategy of its own. If you’re really doing it right, you’re breaking the tweet length down to a mathematical equation to maximize the opportunity and likelihood for a retweet. Yes, I wrote the formula, and if you want it, all you have to do is come see me @Webolutions or take one of my courses @DUCollege. (See what I did there?)

Hashtags – While this will change over time, at present, adding a Hashtag (e.g. #socialmedia) to your Facebook post makes it less likely to generate any engagement. On Twitter and Google+, however, they can be used effectively to place content in focused conversations with influencers and interested people.

Culture – LinkedIn is the office, Facebook is the water cooler, Twitter is the bar after work, Google+ is still figuring out what it wants to be when it grows up. The guy who always interrupts the softball conversation at the water cooler to remind everyone how important it is to enter comprehensive notes into the CRM system quickly finds his way to being alone at the water cooler; similar for the guy who frequently shows up in the VP’s office in the middle of Tuesday showing a funny picture.

Proliferation – Unseen content is useless. Facebook limits distribution for posts created by dashboard tools like HootSuite and TweetDeck.

Aesthetics – The Internet is a visual medium. Just as successful social media content strategies include images, videos and text-only posts, the appearance of each social media post impacts its likelihood to be consumed. Shortened URL’s in the body of the social media post are inherent by-products of publishing from a third-party tool. Posts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ displaying such shortened URL’s are consumed far less often than those with otherwise identical content. Also, when publishing, say, a blog post, doing so directly within the individual Internet social network frequently provides more options for selecting the image accompanying the narrative post content. Some good news: These penalties do not apply to Twitter and Facebook now provides a scheduling tool of its own.

Sentiment – A post written with Facebook in mind, i.e. without Twitter’s character limitation, posted on Twitter is inferred as a broadcast message. A commercial. Junk. Now that’s your brand. Social media (for non-celebrities) is democratic and reciprocal. Genuine interest begets genuine interest. Assuming you’ll work to consume whatever I blurt out falls desperately short of meeting that requirement.

Finally: The trend toward personalization and individualization in marketing is irreversible. Crafting a generic message or re-purposing a message character for character moves your marketing in the wrong direction.

For many of these reasons, auto-publishing and auto-forwarding from one Internet social network to another is just as bad or worse. Social media marketing is free if your time is worth nothing.

How to use this Information

Social media marketing is, at its essence, a networking party eschewing the limitations of chronology and limitations. We can create and nurture conversations forever and take part in them from wherever we are in the world. Good writing for social media marketing gets us in the door to the party.

Conversation is a two-way street. It requires listening. This is the fundamental differentiator brought about by the interactive nature of the Internet—Web 2.0—that many still struggle to understand.

This month, I’ll attend gatherings centered on politics, my neighborhood, physical fitness, education and good old traditional business networking. At some, I’ll be dressed in gym togs, for others I’ll be in a golf shirt and shorts. Others call for a suit or blazer and necktie. Connection and engagement opportunities will be present at each of them. The tone and mannerisms with which I engage with my workout partners will be decidedly different than those showing up for our Denver social media marketing group.

Sweaty gym rat, middle school parent, businessperson, community organizer–at any given time, in real life, all of us embody a similar variety of personas and convene with others while assuming them. We’re present for different reasons, approaching with different attitudes with different goals. In each scenario, in each location, we alter our goals and conduct accordingly. We are the same people with the same values; we just adapt to our surroundings.

See? You do this all the time. So, when writing for social media marketing, put on your necktie for LinkedIn and change into your golf shirt for Facebook.

Alternatively, contact a digital marketing agency.

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