By Chris Miller
SHAKER HEIGHTS — I’m having a hard time coming up with a way to make “good writing” seem sexy and interesting. Look, this is important, okay? Even though it’s not as fun as learning about some shiny new digital bauble.
Good writing is at the heart of what we do online, and how we communicate with our fans. Don’t just do it for the art of it; do it because it can help stretch your few thousand Facebook fans into tens of millions of annual impressions. Do it because it will help get your tweets retweeted. We’re talking about building your numbers here!
You don’t have to be Faulkner to write a good Facebook post. Here are three mistakes to avoid so what you write … gets enjoyed!
Mistake #1: Too Much Selling
Lots of brands of all types jump into social media, and start talking about themselves. We radio folks also waste time telling our fans how to behave … click on this, listen for that, try this product I’m endorsing, here comes that same contest again, and on and on.
Yet, you can write a lot of the above in a different manner, and make it sound like you’re offering access to special stuff. The first key is to throw out everything you know about writing for or talking on the air.
All digital communication will be more successful if you draw down the hype level (WAY down), and talk one-to-one with your fans. You’re not promoting; you’re building a relationship. They think you’re special. Return the favor.
Mistake #2: Being Boring
Twitter holds you to a maximum 140 characters. Try to write less. Meanwhile, on Facebook, if you write more than, say, 100 characters in a post, you start to risk being too wordy. That’s 100 characters … not words! Now, I write posts all the time that go longer than 100 characters. To lower the risk, make sure you only post quality content. That means at the very least that it’s related to your brand, and you write your post trying to imagine the reaction of your readers.
On your web pages, ruthlessly edit yourself so you write as little as possible to offer the best information.
Having a unique personal voice for your station can, subconsciously, help your fans read more of your posts because they enjoy them! Not everyone at your station or cluster will have the same level of writing skills, so I’d strongly recommend having only one or two people be responsible for your social media and web content.
Mistake #3: Social Desperation
Facebook is a great place to be, because your followers are most likely to be your big fans, and they’re choosing to engage with you. We want all the likes, comments and shares we can get. However, coming up with bogus reasons to click “Like” makes you look more desperate than anything, even if you get some folks to react. Here are some real-life bad examples:
- From a shoe company: “Happy Valentine’s Day! Why not share a photo of your ‘true shoe love’ with us today?”
- From a company selling razors: “Which of your legs is most important to you? LIKE for your left; COMMENT for your right!”
- On a post about a couple that was killed in their apartment: “Click LIKE to send condolences to the pair’s friends and family.”
Have you ever had a friend say something so outlandish or clueless that you questioned why you hang around them? Here’s the digital corollary. If you wouldn’t click on it, don’t ask your fans to.
Chris Miller, owner of Chris Miller Digital, is a leading radio consultant specializing in research-based strategic planning and smart use of digital media. He can be phoned at 216-236-3955 or e-mailed at email@example.com.