Social Media: Say Anything Anyone Wants To Hear, Read, Share?

How to Write for Social Media

Words rule online.  Social Media and Words

The words may be spoken or written, but it is through the selection and combination of words used that people connect with one another or they don’t.

Think of your social media posts as mini advertisements for your business or service.  As such they should require some thought, and attention.

Yes, I know few of us are professional “copywriters”.  Fewer still are wordsmiths.  But that shouldn’t stop any of us in using some of the tips that research is uncovering about the impact and the combinations of words on generating reader interest and reactions.

Most of this tips are little tweaks or just different ways of crafting a message.  These word tips can be used anywhere – website, brochures, online or offline advertising copy and most certainly they can be used in social media.  With a little forethought, you could see some real differences in your social media engagement.

Worth a try?

Word Tips for Social Media

So what are some of these word tips and what says they’ll make a difference?

I captured some of the following tips from my night time reading:  Thinking, Fast and Slow, Buzzmarketing, The Power of Habit, Stumbling on Happiness as well as from HelpScouta great resource of the more interesting academic research. 

There are more studies and findings revealing interesting ways our brains work and how it respond to words.  But try these seven and measure your results.

1.  Mirror a Feeling

One of the most convincing styles of writing is to create a feeling.  Think of a CSI episode where the mortician is revving up the power saw to cut into the skull of the recently departed.  The saw cuts through the hard skull and he pulls out the brain.

What went through your mind when you read those words?

Could you mentally mirror the image of what the words were saying?  Research shows that this technique – mirroring – when used to generate a feeling on the part of the reader, can be very convincing.

2.  Put it in Context

A Carnegie Mellon study showed how one could raise the response rate by simply putting a discounted price into context – from “a $5 fee” to “a small $5 fee”.

3.  Play the Devil

This is an old sales tip, but worthy of repeating.  You always want to overcome objections as quickly as possible,.  But one study determined that doing so when playing the devil’s advocate role and addressing objections as fully as possible is very credible.

4.  How to go Viral

Wharton study – What Makes Online Content Viral –  shows positive content is more viral than negative as is practical or useful content, and content that is perceived as awe-inspiring,  joyful, surprising, anxiety or anger inducing.

5.  Buzz-worthiness

Buzzmarketing’s author Mark Hughes believes you can generate buzz about things that are: taboo, unusual, outrageous, hilarious, remarkable or secretive.

6.  Urgency with Directions

Asking people to take immediate action is not enough as Howard Leventhal discovered in his test on the effectiveness of urgency.  Using  a video about tetanus and a follow-up packet, he discovered  those who had follow-up info were much more likely to actually take action than those without the follow-up information.

You have to tell the reader what specific action you want them to take and make it easy for them to do so.

7.  Three words is all it takes

Various studies have shown that the words:  “free”, “instantly”, and “new” remain the word workhorses when it comes to generating action on the part of the reader.

Are you using any of these word techniques in your social media posts?  If so, share your results.  If not, will you?

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Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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