Whether it’s one word, a single link, 140-characters or a full paragraph, status updates have come to signify much more than “what’s happening” in one’s life.
As social media marketing continues to flourish as a key channel for connecting with target audiences, the pressure to drive home a message with concise messaging mounts. Whether updates are being utilized for brand awareness, actionable outreach or news delivery, the status update is the “go-to” quick-time delivery channel.
Just in the past few weeks, we’ve seen a couple great examples of status updates being put to the test.
Earlier this month, thousands of female Facebook users posted their bra color as their status update in an attempt to call attention to breast cancer awareness. Regardless of whether or not you thought the effort was effective, it serves as a great example of a low-cost, powerful channel for garnering quick attention around a cause. For the record, I think the effort should have included a unique custom tiny URL driving people to a landing page that contextualized the effort and encouraged others to spread the word through 3 actionable steps. BUT, the idea was halfway there in terms of attracting initial attention.
Though donation action has been primarily driven through text messages, the power of status updates and incorporated hashtags has brought about immediate worldwide response to a severe crisis.
Just this week, 5 French journalists announced that they will be locking themselves in a farmhouse for 5 days in an attempt to write news articles based only on information received through Facebook and Twitter updates. It will certainly make for a fun experiment but it speaks to the larger communication trend at hand – namely the important role these channels are serving worldwide audiences as the basis for immediate news.
As opposed to posting the mundane, I highly encourage you to start thinking carefully about how you craft your tweets and status updates. Here are some tips below to take into consideration.
1.) Know Your Audience – Always rule #1, but with Facebook page insights and Twitter analytics tools, we can better determine who we’re talking to with our updates. Want some general insight without the research? This article should clue you in on who’s reading and sharing.
2.) Keep It Short and Sweet – That’s the purpose of a “status” update right? This isn’t a place to post a couple paragraphs, save that for the blog post. Look back to see if you can cut a word or two.
3.) Keep It Personal – Establishing an emotional connection with your readers or followers is key. They need to know that there is a person behind the brand.
4.) Keep It Relevant – Timely updates that speak to the interests of your audience are crucial. Don’t share just for sharing’s sake. Share with a purpose.
5.) Check Your Grammar – Give it a read, then a re-read, then one more read. Typos stand out like a sore thumb when there is minimal copy.
6.) Provide A Link – Awareness is great. Action is better. Whether you’re driving people to a news article, tailored landing page or other location, provide a shortened/customized link (that you can also measure click-thrus on!) that leads to engagement.
7.) Ask for Feedback – You’ve got a great following, yea? Take advantage of that huge resource and use your update to gather some feedback. This will also help you better customize the content you provide to your audience.
8.) Provide Visual Content – Particularly on Faceebook, including a link to a video or incorporating an image is key. Facebook’s news stream is a busy place and an added visual is naturally going to help draw a causal reader’s eye in to check out your content.
9.) Don’t Overdo It – Status updates are great. Too many status updates stink – mostly because no one has THAT much great stuff to say or share (though you may think you do). I always recommend that clients limit Facebook updates to a maximum of three times/week. Twitter is a bit different but I recommend no more than two to three “broadcast” tweets a day with the primary focus on follower interaction and sharing through re-tweets.
10.) Get Clever – Use a touch of humor, don’t try to oversell and keep your readers wanting more. Especially with Facebook’s upcoming page changes, it’s becoming more crucial to provide content that your readers care about and want to share and engage.
Feel free to share any additional tips below, thanks!