Different online platforms require distinct writing styles

Your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn updates should be tailored to your audience and to the sites’ respective formats.


Great writing can resonate with your audience, so it’s only natural that you should be gearing your updates toward the audiences on your social media platforms. Even though Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter tend to get lumped into the same general category of marketing, they are quite different. The audiences and the platforms call for distinct types of writing.

Marketers like to save time, but crafting a one-size-fits-all update for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter can deflate your social media marketing efforts.

Does this mean you need to find (or create) three or four distinct resources to share each day? No, but it does mean you need to customize your writing style to your audience.

I did just that with my colleague Joellyn Sargent’s recent post about social media and B2B branding. Using the Buffer tool, I’m able to schedule multiple updates for platforms but maintain the option for customizing each post.

Twitter updates

By now, the 140-character limit for tweets has been burned into everyone’s brain, but that isn’t the only rule for clickable Twitter sharing. You need a hook to capture your followers’ attention and entice them to click through to the article, regardless of whether you’re sharing your own resources or someone else’s.

Consider using a line from the article rather than the title or headline. Although in this case, the title of the article is very good, it may not always be the case with every story you want to share. Finding an actionable, interesting line in the blog post—or summarizing the main thesis—can draw followers in.

As a bonus, creating your own Twitter update for a curated blog post can help you stand out. How many times have you seen the same title from Neil Patel or Mari Smith tweeted over and over again? Don’t be a sheep; find something else to share from the story.

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I have a lot of B2B followers on Twitter because that’s whom I’ve networked with, so I make sure this version of the update includes the B2B term to attract attention. I also turn #B2B into a hashtag to attract potential followers in my niche.

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Note that the update itself has fewer than 100 characters. I have a long Twitter handle, which used to be even longer before I truncated my last name. In order to make retweeting as easy as possible, I keep updates around 80 to 90 characters tops. Keep this in mind when you’re crafting tweets.

Twitter writing checklist:

  • Keep your update under 90 characters.
  • Craft your own clickable headline if possible.
  • Use popular hashtags that relate to the update and to your target audience.

Facebook updates

With Facebook, your personal profile updates may be more casual, but when it comes to posting on your company’s page, you need to take a different approach. Your page updates need to be well defined and geared toward your business’s audience.

My Facebook business page has attracted a lot of solo business owners and those who run very small enterprises, both in the B2B and B2C industries, based on my early networking. Many are not in my B2B target audience, so my Facebook update is a little more general. I want to brand my Facebook business page as a good resource for SEO, content, and social media advice. Plus, sharing a post that is B2B oriented may encourage sharing from by B2B audience, which can bring in more B2B fans on Facebook.

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Facebook allows longer updates than Twitter, so take advantage of this. Ask a question on your Facebook page in order to build community and get people talking.

Image selection is also important. In the case of this post, the suggested image was black-and-white, so I opted to display the more eye-catching e-book offer. If a post doesn’t have an image, upload one yourself to make the update stand out.

Facebook writing checklist:

  • Match your update tone and focus to your audience.
  • Ask a question or encourage discussion on your page.
  • Always feature an eye-catching image (and upload one if you need to).

LinkedIn

LinkedIn, too, allows lengthy posts, so you can create more insightful updates than just a headline and some hashtags. However, keep in mind that the audience is business oriented.

Business readers are pressed for time, so you’ve got to get to the meat of the post quickly. Your updates appear in a Twitter-like feed only when a LinkedIn user visits the home page, so it’s important to capture attention.

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The LinkedIn audience is most definitely a B2B audience, so in this update I can really highlight the nature of the post, engage them with a question, and encourage them to read on.

Once this Buffered post is live on my profile, I’ll share it with a few key groups but edit the update. Don’t you hate it when people post updates to a group that they are clearly spamming everywhere they can? Don’t be that person. If you’re posting a B2B update to a small-business networking group, don’t speak to B2B marketers. It’s as simple as considering your audience and making a few changes in words and tone.

LinkedIn writing checklist:

  • Highlight an actionable tip from the post.
  • Ask questions to encourage conversation.
  • Tailor the update to groups where you are sharing.

As with all marketing—and social media marketing in particular—these aren’t hard and fast rules. Experiment with your own followers on each platform to see what works best.

Your turn: What are your favorite writing rules for social media platforms? And how do you approach Google+ updating?

A version of this article originally appeared on Windmill Networking.

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