Writing Tips

Strategies to consider when composing social media posts

  1. Always remember the goal of your post or tweet. Answer this three-part question: What are you trying to communicate, to whom, and how will they benefit from the information presented in the post or tweet?
  2. Write compelling headlines. Headlines “sell” a blog post or a Facebook post, inviting the reader to click for more. Reel in your audience with short, punchy, compelling headlines. Your headlines should tell the reader precisely what you’re offering.
  3. Lead with important information. Attention spans are short these days, so lead with the most important, compelling bit of information. In the lead of a post, provide helpful links or provide a link to the rest of the story. Then, expand on the lead with some engaging narrative.
  4. Be concise. This is of utmost importance on Twitter, which allows only 280 characters per tweet, but this is also important on Facebook and in blog posts. Maintaining a short character count allows a user who is reposting your post to add to it. Therefore, keeping the character count really short—between 85 and 200 characters for Twitter, and around 30 words for Facebook—also makes your tweet more “Retweet Friendly” and your Facebook post more “share”-worthy.
  5. Tell your story simply and clearly. Don’t try to cram too much information into a single post. Also, link directly to other online sources, and always link to the full story rather than just linking to a homepage. In addition, avoid the temptation to fit more into a post by the liberal use of abbreviations. Such shorthand might maximize your character count, but it reads like a text message. Lastly, experiment with URL-shortening services such as The Ohio State University’s go.osu.edu or bitly.com.
  6. Provide context. When possible, provide some of the backstory to a post or tweet. Offer context by using keywords and hashtags, when appropriate, so readers can more easily get the gist of a conversation, thread, or topic.
  7. Use graphics. Just as a good image or graphic can complement a news story, so can a picture on Facebook, Twitter, or a blog. When deciding on a graphic for your post or tweet, choose imagery that will make an impact, will visually describe your headline, and will leave your reader with a lasting impression.
  8. Use an engaging, conversational tone. Your tone can drive a user to “follow,” “fan,” “share,” or add to the content of a post. Talking to (or “@ing”) folks liberally, adopting a conversational tone, and engaging in a sense of community spirit remind people that they’re truly interacting with other people.
  9. Consider the reader. The immediacy of social media might tempt you to dash off a post with little forethought. Respect your audience of followers by carefully considering what to write while also keeping in mind your communication goals. Lastly, remember that people can be affected by a situation or an event in a myriad of ways, so be polite and courteous when posting about a potentially sensitive subject.

To discover more strategies for constructing blog posts, consult the latest edition of The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging.