Student Guide: Writing for Social Media
Whether you’re currently enrolled or considering enrolling in our programs here at Concordia University Chicago, were sure you’ve met your next question, what now?
Students utilize social media in several ways, so why not establish a digital presence and gain credibility in your field by growing your network, expanding your business, or sharing your professional knowledge?
Over the next few weeks, we will publish a series of articles consisting of writing tips and strategies that will be useful in becoming a superior writer for digital media.
To start with, we’ll kick off the discussion with some quick tips on how to begin writing and delve into blogs, social media posts, and infographics after that.
Part 1: Writing Tips
Writing: the activity or skill or marking coherent words on paper and composing text. Writing is not just jotting things down; it is a process. Here are a few steps to help you get started.
Plan your writing.
The first step of writing contains two elements: figure out the purpose/topic of what you are writing about and who is the audience.
Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm.
Once you have the idea in your head, write down the important facts of your idea in bullet points, on sticky notes, however and whatever works for you.
TIP: Don’t go off topic. Focus on the purpose of your paper.
Your list of ideas is in front of you and now an outline needs to be made. The outline will consist of an introduction that provides enough information to grab the reader’s attention and explain the overall topic. From there we move on to the body which discusses the ideas and facts you had written down; the conclusion summarizes everything that was expressed.
Begin your writing.
Now that you have the purpose, audience, and outline for your paper. This next step takes the least amount of your time, writing.
REMEMBER, this in only a rough draft so it does not have to be perfect.
TIP: Don’t stop writing to revise your errors, let the words flow and edit afterwards.
Your focus for the writing stage is going to be, content.
Here are a few pointers to think about when writing:
– Your arrangement of details
– Your main points have enough supporting points
– Be unique with each main point
– Repetitiveness is a no, no.
– The introductory, body, and conclusion paragraphs relate to the topic
If you checked everything off the list above, you are ready for the next step in the writing process: revision and editing.
Revision and editing.
This step is where you should take up most of your time. You will be attentive toward adding, repositioning, extracting, and substituting the content, wherever necessary, throughout the paper.
TIP: Ask yourself these 4 questions:
- Are there enough facts for the story to make sense for your viewers?
- Does the paper flow?
- Is this piece essential? Does it go along with my paper?
- Is there any contradiction in any of the sentences or paragraphs?
While you are editing, proofread every single sentence orally for typos and mis phrasing. You will notice a lot.
TIP: Your text in your paper should stay consistent.
Points to look for when editing:
TIP: TAKE A BREAK
With breaks, you can notice more of the minor details you left out and you will have a clear outlook of your paper.
Part 2: Writing Articles
When writing an article, ask yourself this question, would you prefer to read something more conversational or more formal? The answer is both, with a little more emphasis on the conversational side.
The key to writing is understanding your audience. It is vital that you grasp how your audience verbalizes and the prime way they collect information. From there, you can write accordingly.
With a blog, there are two different lengths to consider. A short blog’s average length holds 500 words. Whereas longer blogs will conclude you with 1000 to 3000 words.
The structure of a blog will differentiate depending on the type of blog you are writing.
Your blog should have at least:
- A headline with action verbs to catch the eye of the reader.
- An introductory paragraph that includes two or three sentences that gives an idea of what the blog offers.
- Three to six sentences that discusses the main points of your blog.
- Details under each of those main points.
- And for your conclusion, one to three sentences.
The final step is the editing stage. This is where all your focus needs to be. Go back through and read your blog out loud and check for spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes. Doing so will enable flow in your blog and make it easier for the reader to read.
Part 3: Social Media Posts
Social Media has a variety of types of posts, informational, entertaining, advertising. All of which are short in content.
The tone of a social media post is more laid back and conversational than blog posts. Three things to remember when writing a social media post to seize the eyes of your audience rapidly:
- deliver the information in an interesting way
- get right to the point
- to spice it up, add a little humor.
Lengths of your social media post depend on which platform you are using.
Twitter has a character count that can reach up to 280 words. Although, what performs best is tweets that have 71-100 characters.
Instagram is notable for using visual content. So where does word count come into play? Captions. These can range between 138 and 150 words.
Facebook sanctions you to post lengthy essays. The posts that get the most consideration is those with 80 characters.
On LinkedIn, posts updates with 25 words perform best and articles that range from 1900 and 2000 words are more prosperous.
Social media posts have different types, but when it comes to the most popular ones that drive engagement, those include:
- Interactive polls or quizzes
- Content with images
- Opinion pieces
- Links to articles
- Newsworthy content
The editing aspect of social media posts is the same as any other form of content. Read the content out loud and check for spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes.