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writing for the social web
 

writing for the social web

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A class on best practices in writing on social sites. Digital hygiene.

A class on best practices in writing on social sites. Digital hygiene.

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  • Must post a ‘Terms of Service’ – Includes what to expect from the account; monitoring/active times/dates; Contact Info; Privacy link/Notice of Collection (if applicable); Grounds for not responding (e.g. profanity); use of Direct Messages/offline options (DMs) Great example w/Service Ontario Accessibility – Must have info on ‘regular’ sites – don’t exclude Ontarians French Language (FLSA) – Need FR-equivalent. Esp if just broadcasting content – no excuse to not pump it out in FR Privacy (FIPPA) – Work w/your FOI coordinator for privacy aspects in your ToS – Notice of collection, tell not to post personal info, alt-channels. Have options for collecting/storing/anonymizing P.I./restricted access/deletion cycles
  • No excuse for social media activity that contains sloppy copy. Whether it’s a status update, tweet, a share of a link, or a comment, caption - if it doesn’t read well, it won’t work well. Mistakes/unclear content makes Ongov look unprofessional and careless. From user perspective, harms interaction and engagement, rendering the whole process pointless. Punctuation not only matters for context/flow – but TECHNICALLY when things are smushed together or not before an @-handle – can prevent publishing/working Bottom line – PROOF IT.
  • Whether you’re writing copy to be shared socially, or you’re trying to fit a message into 140 characters, it’s important that the message is strong. Having an airy fairy round-a-bout way of saying something will look long, clunky and will waste a lot of people’s time, so make sure your message is to the point. This doesn’t mean to say that you have to write like a robot with no personality, in fact this is actively encouraged when using social media. Rather, be sure to be clear with what you are trying to say. The whole point of social media is to actively engage with others in a slightly less formal way. This is why for anyone tweeting regularly, or commenting on an interesting topic, it’s important to enjoy the experience and not hard sell or put people off from interacting with you. Potential customers and clients would rather take time to talk and engage with a brand that is enjoying the company of others, rather than abruptly trying to push their products or services onto them. Above anything else, it’s important for anyone engaging with social media to have fun with it. This will show in the way you write. It shouldn’t be perceived as a burden, but rather an integral part of online marketing. The abovementioned social media copywriting tips can be used by anyone straightaway. If you have anymore that you would like to share, please do so below. I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts.
  • Hashtags You’ve probably noticed that certain hashtags tend to persist (e.g. #onpoli) and are followed by large communities on Twitter. Take the time to learn about which hashtags your target audience follows, and consider adding hashtags to tweets that might be of interest to those communities. Research is key! Don’t create a hashtag without checking to see if it’s used for anything else, and don’t cram your tweets with multiple hashtags. Judicious use of hashtags will expose your tweets to a wider audience, so make sure you’ve considered them as part of your Twitter planning. Have continuity between your brand image and social media personality – not doing so is a common mistake for any brand using social media. For example, a company may have the perception of being fun, vibrant, new and exciting, but their social media activity may not necessarily reflect the same image. Therefore, write in a way that will enhance your brand image, whatever that may be. This way, your profile will appear in their news feed on a number of occasions, making you and your tweets more noticeable. This is especially true if the person who is following is also following a large number of other profiles. In this sense, a single tweet might get lost in their feed, so fire out three or four to get noticed.
  • The way you write on social media sites is so important. Remember that the goal is to spark interest and enhance engagement. If you’re sending a tweet, or updating your status, you want to write something that will improve your Click through Rate. So be sure to always use active sentences containing strong action verbs. For example, “Google recommend +1s” rather than “+1s are recommended by Google”. Active sentences are those where the subject (Google) performs the action of the verb (Recommend). Always look to use powerful verbs rather than words like, ‘are’, ‘is’ or ‘am’. important to focus on getting the user to click on a link, or to look at something you have shared or like. One way of doing this is to be more creative with your posts or updates. For example, instead of tweeting, “Here is a list of copywriting tips for social media”, you could create excitement and suspense by saying, “For tips on improving your copywriting for social media, follow this link”, or “Are you looking for copywriting tips for your social media campaigns? Here are the tips you need”.
  • Advertisers trade in adjectives and adverbs. Campaigns and creative executions are filled with them. However, with all content increasingly filtered through social networks, it’s what people do with advertising rather than what they say about it that will make all the difference this year. Guaranteed. The change started last September when Facebook revealed that the ubiquitous “like” and “share” features will soon be joined by all kinds of verbs. Two of these — “read” and “listen” — are already live. Others are coming soon with the debut of  Facebook Actions . “Buy” and “watched” are likely to be two. Facebook users who install certain news and music applications such as Spotify and The Washington Post social news reader can opt to share their actions. In other words, read news or listen to music on the social network and it gets broadcast to friends friction-free. The arithmetic, therefore, is simple. The more marketers can evoke social actions, the more likely it is that their wonderfully crafted narrative will stick to people’s screens. The empirical evidence is already there. Increasing Traffic Buddy Media CEO Michael Lazerow estimates that sites that simply add an optional Facebook share capability to common online applications, such as an online poll, can increase traffic 12.98%. (Yes, he’s done the math.) Media early adopters have already seen strong results from their embrace of verbs. The Guardian has garnered 1 million additional monthly page views since it launched a revamped Facebook presence last fall. Yahoo is so pleased with its early results that it has expanded its relationship with Facebook to 26 more sites. The social network is already deeply embedded into Yahoo News. It’s not just Facebook though. Technology companies have long understood that pointing and grunting are arguably the most innate human gestures. It’s something children do at a very early age. Cavemen basically invented both. So they’re building these natural interfaces at the core. Siri on the iPhone and Kinect on Xbox* are two early implementations: users talk or point. But soon similar gesture-based media will show up everywhere. These will drive a lot more frictionless sharing. The social networks and search engines will gobble up the data and use these signals to shape the algorithms that already guide so much of what we pay attention to. Here are three strategies to consider: Build verb hooks everywhere You wouldn’t think that people want to share that they completed an online poll or registered to enter a contest, but data prove the contrary. A small percentage will, and this generates a network effect that pays off big. Look for ways to attach social verbs to even basic online features. Here’s why this matters to marketers: If they adopt the verb structure and API’s into their assets, they are more likely to surface through Facebook’s algorithms. For example,  Ford  should consider adopting the “watch” API for any video content on its site. Consider the lens of friends Content finds us though the lens of our friends. This means no two people see the same web. It’s all personalized. Execs need to think hard about their audiences and pay particular attention to psychographics. This can help guide decisions about the language and creative that will generate verbs, not just awareness. Prioritize media that think in verbs When making a media buy, look for partners that get the power of natural gestures and have started to build it into their armada. Insist that they add social functionality to even basic banner ads and rich-media executions. Your mission this year is not just to be heard but to inspire action. Tapping into the network effects of verbs is a must in a social digital age.
  • How do you measure success? You will need to track different metrics based on the purpose and goals of your Twitter account. Below are the type of metrics used for each social media function: Traditional Broadcast Call to Action / Campaign Stakeholder Engagement Customer Service # followers # lists Twitter handle appears and size of lists # of retweets (RTs) # of @mentions / replies Size of audience # followers # lists Twitter handle appears and size of lists # of retweets (RTs) # of @mentions / replies Size of audience # tweets (exchanges and conversations – total, and as a percentage of potential audience) Demographics Quality of exchanges Sentiment of exchanges (pos/neg) # of mentons / replies # tweets (exchanges and conversations) quality of exchanges sentiment of exchanges (pos/neg) # mentions / replies # resolutions (closed cases, time spent, ratio of outstanding questions, bounce-rate) Measuring success online is not purely a numbers game – don’t forget to report on interesting insights or patterns as well (e.g. being retweeted by a particularly influential Twitter user).  

writing for the social web writing for the social web Presentation Transcript

  • Writing for social sites – You can do it! Ontario.ca/communications
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  • Top 51. Follow the rules (drag)2. Sloppy copy3. Point (?)4. Continuity5. ActiveBonus! Measure, adapt, improve
  • Disclaimer (drag!) • Approvals • Legal • AODA • French • Privacy4
  • Disclaimer - Example5
  • Sloppy copy. Not cool.• Spelling• Grammar• Punctuation
  • Point? Get to that.• Attention limits • Audience ADD • Nature of use • Competition• Platform limits • Space/format • Informal, but pro
  • Point - Example9
  • Continuity• #hashtags• Voice • Content • Consistency • Routines (‘traditions’) • Variety • RTs, shares, shout-outs, news
  • Continuity - Example11
  • Active• Action-words (verbs!) • Call & response • Challenge/dare • Humour, wit, wordplay• Engage • after background check • Follow up after assisting
  • Active - Example13
  • Active - Example14
  • Measure. Adapt. Improve. • Determine goals first • Not just #s • Insights • Qualitative Feedback • Patterns • Lessons15
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  • Let’s do this!17
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