So, Your Social Media Updates Need Work. Start Here.


Is your social media update game showing its age?

When best practices change by the week, staying on top of things can feel like a full-time job. Fortunately, there’s no need for the average business user to reinvent the wheel when it comes to organic social media marketing.

These tried-and-true (yet underutilized) tactics haven’t changed much in years. How many are you employing right now? And how many could you employ if you had a spare hour this week?

Ask Questions of Your Audience

Let’s be blunt: Your audience is a selfish bunch.

It’s not their fault. Humans, by nature, are self-centered. Most enjoy nothing more than being at the center of attention.

So, give your audience its wish. Place it front and center by asking regular questions of your followers and promoting or answering the most thoughtful, interesting, or shocking responses. You’re virtually guaranteed to drive engagement (good and bad) with this strategy.

Center Real People in Photos and Multimedia

In the same vein, take every opportunity to feature real people — your customers, employees, vendors, random folks on the street who consent to have their likenesses shared on social media — in your visual updates. The Centre for Arts and Technology, a leading British Columbia-based post-secondary institution for the digital arts, boasts a rich media library filled with students, staff, and faculty, for instance. It’s difficult to get more authentic than that.

Keep Written Updates to the Point, With Exceptions

Brevity is the soul of wit, as Shakespeare so eloquently put it. You wouldn’t want to disappoint history’s greatest English-language playwright, would you?

And if you couldn’t care a whit what a long-dead raconteur thinks of your social media game? Then do it for your audience. Most visitors simply don’t have the attention span to read through long-winded Facebook or LinkedIn updates, no matter how eloquent you believe yours to be.

Bear in mind that status updates here are distinct from original longform social content, which does have its place on platforms like LinkedIn and Medium. Longform content is by design detailed and descriptive; therein lies its value. The value of the proverbial “what I ate for breakfast” update is in its punchiness.

On Short-Format and Visual-First Media, Screengrab Longer Updates

One way to circumvent the “brief update” rule is to append screengrabs of detailed status updates to a brief on-page introduction.

For instance, if you’re announcing the departure of a key employee on Facebook, you might begin the post with: “Hello, all. We have some bittersweet news to share.” Immediately beneath that intro, you’d tack on a screengrab of a multi-paragraph Word document (or whatever you prefer) explaining the move in the detail it deserves.

Your Audience Awaits With Bated Breath

However you choose to engage your social media audience, remember that they’re waiting with bated breath to see what you do next. (Even if they don’t know it yet.) Your social media assets have the potential to entertain, educate, and amaze — provided you give them the space and spark to shine.

So, find that extra hour this week and up your social media game. You can do it.