5 Tips for Improving Your Writing on Social Media

Those who know me know that I’m quite fond of the proper use of the English language. Yes, I am that person who notices typos, errant apostrophes, commas where there should be periods, and incorrect word usage such as “there” when it should be “they’re” or “their.” Shudder.

I also am quick to notice really great writing, and not just correct grammar, but also creative, inspiring words strung together into meaningful sentences. And because much of my life takes place in the world of social media, I am always on the lookout for well-written social media posts.

You know the ones: the posts that cause you to smile, laugh, like and share. These posts not only pass the grammar test, but they also work hard to convey messages that connect with the intended audience. Those are the kinds of posts you want for your brand. Toward that end, let’s dive into five ways you can take your posts from “meh” to great, starting today.

Tip #1: Find Your Voice

Specifically, find a voice that exudes casual friendliness. Social media is not the place for business speak, stodgy words and sales pitches. People will scroll past you quicker than you can say “corporate-ese.” The very term “social media” gives you a clue as to what kind of voice you need to have here. You’re just a bunch of friends chatting it up (and using words like “I,” “me” and “your,” by the way).

Of course, use your best judgment and keep it professional. You don’t want to be remembered for offending anyone or coming across as less than the expert you are.

#SocialMedia is not the place for business speak, stodgy words and sales pitches. Click To Tweet

Tip #2: Know the Rules, and Break Them

While I’m all for sticking to good grammar on social media, I recognize there are times when you might want to break a rule or two. For instance, you can play around with emphasizing a word in all caps, writing in fragments and throwing in an extra exclamation point (or three) when it’s warranted. You’re not writing an essay for English class, right? So don’t be too formal. Typo-free? Yes. Stuffy and pedantic? Oh my, no.

Tip #3: Keep It Short and Sweet

Master the art of short-form writing, and not just on Twitter. Imagine you are writing a poem, not a novel.

A caveat: I will say that I follow a few individuals who tend to write longer posts on Facebook, the kind that require you to click a link to read the full post. It works for them, at least in my eyes, because they generally have something life-changing or inspiring to communicate. Say you’re a life coach or a fitness trainer, for example. Maybe you can’t convey your message in a sentence or two.

This is tricky territory, however. If you aren’t sure whether to go short or long, you are safer keeping your posts simple and concise. You can always blog about a topic and then link to the blog from your post. With the sheer number of posts getting flung out to the world every day, you want to make sure yours get read. And readers are more likely to notice your posts if they don’t have to linger too long to read them. Grab their attention, but don’t try to hold them hostage reading your post, yes?

Tip #4: Use Action Verbs

What action do you want readers to take after reading your post? Use strong action verbs to tell them what to do next! Take a look at this post, for instance, from Fantastic Sams seeking support for female veterans. The call to action is clear: “Like and share this post to let women veterans know about available workshops.” The stronger your call to action and the perceived payoff — maybe you hold a contest or a giveaway? — the greater your post is likely to perform.

Tip #5: Proofread, and Proofread Some More

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve let the occasional typo slip past me when posting to social media. Hey, I’m human! And sometimes I’m busy and stressed and scattered, just like you. So don’t beat yourself up if mistakes happen. Just work on slowing down, reading every word (aloud even) and staying focused as you proofread posts.

If you have the luxury of getting a second pair of eyes on your posts before they go out, even better. If not, be extra diligent and constructively critical of your own writing. Is your post clear, correct and concise? Great, publish away. If not, take a few extra minutes to edit your work.

Before you publish, ask yourself: Is your post clear, correct and concise? #SocialMediaTips Click To Tweet

With a little extra effort, you can start crafting posts that increase your audience base and solidify relationships with your followers. Who knows? You might start noticing those errant apostrophes, too.

What do you find most challenging about writing on social media? Let’s hear your thoughts below.