Writing for social media: tools, tricks, tips

So I spent this morning at the Social Media & PR Summit hosted by AMC Conferences at the Southern Sun OR Tambo, and spoke about writing for social media. More specifically, I covered keeping it short and tight, adding value, getting the tone right and handling the critical checking afterwards. I’m planning to write my presentation into an article for Bizcommunity, in due course… But, to whet your appetite, here’s a small taste:

How to proofread short social media copy … backwards

“Social media writing is, by definition, conversational. And no-one likes a long, comprehensive, one-sided conversation. (Except when they’re doing the talking…)

So, keep your messages, whether for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, a blog or other social media channels, to the word limits or as short as possible.

In fact, if a web article’s supposed to be half of the length of the same piece in print, I’d advise a social media piece to be one quarter max, of its print equivalent.

To achieve this, you need to get even better than you already are at removing fluff, gumph, junk, waffle and splurb. You need to sharpen your machete, hack the extra layers off and highlight the key point or points.

You need to look out for redundancy: the needless repetition of words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs or ideas. An example? I reversed back out of my driveway. Guess what? You can only reverse in one direction…”