Social media content writing and School English? What’s the connection?

 

School English lessons seem like a million years ago featuring somewhere low down in the stratigraphy of my writing life. Spending endless time working on summary skills was not one of my favourite skill sets. Why? For some reason I found it easy. I could look at a text, pick out the salient points and rewrite. Within minutes I was done. My teacher used to say, ‘Vivienne, you can’t have finished.’ Little did I realize I was actually practicing for something I would eventually do every day; social media content writing.

 

Once upon a time in a brand story

Social media and social media content writing is still evolving as an industry.

Not everyone knows the power of this online marketing force. There was a time when a quick post about muffins and lattes was enough. That trend passed years ago. Now what’s required is highly focused, informal, terse, cogent, engaging content in fewer than 140 characters.

 

 Social media content writing skills are important

 

9 ways social media content writers need to think before they post

It’s a tall order and I’m sure school kids will be set the kind of conundrums that face me every day. The thought processes go like this:

 

  1. How can I transform this content from a website to Twitter?
  2. How can I condense and still convince?
  3. How many words can I lose without actually compromise sense?
  4. How will this tweet stand out in the constant stream and humanise the company?
  5. How can I lose ‘the fluff’ and offer more information?
  6. What word will do the work of four?
  7. Is the tone right for the business? How can I promote without a hard sell. 
  8. Does this text have personality? How can I balance informality, humour and business? 
  9. Will this content drive enough traffic, engagement, follows and re-tweets ? After all messages shared by peers are more likely to be read after all.

 

 

Yes you can pay someone to post; you can load up scheduled tweets but when ‘Have a great weekend! turns up on a Monday the game is up! Engagement is created by responding with bespoke content; thinking on one’s feet and  grabbing the opportunities to market subtly. Generally networking and sounding as if you are worth following all has to be conveyed in 140 characters – if you want to leave space for someone to add a comment then under 100 is desirable

 

The more I consider this I realise these are high level skills that are actually worth teaching in the classroom.  We live in a sound bite world; we love gobbets of information we can swallow without chewing. Who knows, if students are really unlucky (!) they might end up using these skills to earn  a living.

Meanwhile if your Facebook page, Pinterest account or Twitter output is falling on deaf ears it might be worth hiring a knowledgeable content writer…just a thought!

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