Writing for social media

Digital marketer Chris Lake offers a round-up of advice on writing for social media that he’s culled from some of the world’s biggest companies.  They all seem highly relevant to what journalists are trying to do as well.

Here are a few favorites:

INTEL

  • Always pause and think before posting. That said, reply to comments in a timely manner, when a response is appropriate. But if it gives you pause, pause. If you’re about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, don’t shrug it off and hit ‘send.’ Take a minute to review these guidelines and try to figure out what’s bothering you, then fix it. If you’re still unsure, you might want to discuss it with your manager or legal representative. Ultimately, what you publish is yours – as is the responsibility. So be sure.
  • Perception is reality. In online social networks, the lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred. Just by identifying yourself as an Intel [replace Intel with any company name here] employee, you are creating perceptions about your expertise and about Intel by our shareholders, customers, and the general public-and perceptions about you by your colleagues and managers. Do us all proud. Be sure that all content associated with you is consistent with your work and with Intel’s values and professional standards.
  • It’s a conversation. Talk to your readers like you would talk to real people in professional situations. In other words, avoid overly pedantic or “composed” language. Don’t be afraid to bring in your own personality and say what’s on your mind. Consider content that’s open-ended and invites response. Encourage comments. You can also broaden the conversation by citing others who are blogging about the same topic and allowing your content to be shared or syndicated.

KODAK

  • Be external. You don’t have to be 100% internally focused. Link to other blogs, videos, and news articles. Retweet what others have to say.
  • Post frequently. It’s a lot of work but don’t post to your blog then leave it for two weeks. Readers won’t have a reason to follow you on Twitter or check your blog if they can’t expect new content regularly.

SAP

  • Separate opinions from facts, and make sure your audience can see the difference.
  • Be engaged and be informed. Read the contributions of others. Know what the current conversations are and what people are saying in order to see if, and how, you may be able to contribute a new perspective. Participation is the fuel of social computing.
  • … Provide links to other blogs, media articles or whatever sources you think are necessary. Make your content rich and interesting for others to read. Consider attaching documents when necessary.

And maybe the best one of all…

ZAPPOS

Be real and use your best judgement.

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