Copywriting, Social Media Skills

Jim Mitchem is a copywriter and advertising professional in Charlotte, NC at smashcommunications. Smash is a real advertising agency operating in a virtual work environment.


Copywriting and Social Media

Copywriting is one of those careers that most people don’t understand.

That’s ok, most copywriters don’t understand it either. One day we may be tasked with developing a tagline for a national appeal to millions, and the next we’re writing a mission statement for a local mom-and-pop.

In the past, traditional advertising has provided a range of passive media for copywriters to engaging a specific audience. Social Media (SM) changes everything. No longer is it a one-way conversation between brand and constituency. SM is an active conversation.

Whether it’s providing topical content for a corporate blog, or engaging an audience in real-time via Twitter, the need for effective copywriting is more important today than ever.

The problem is that it’s virtually impossible for every company involved in SM to have a skilled copywriter on staff. Thankfully, there are some universal concepts that anyone using Social media can employ.

Be Polite

When’s the last time the guy at the fast food restaurant smiled and thanked you for buying the cheeseburger combo? Believe it or not, there was once a time when being polite was expected of everyone who actively engaged with a brand’s audience. Phrases like, Thank You, Please and Can I Help You were staples of all customer service. And while it may be too late to reformat a whole generation to making eye contact and thanking someone while you hand them their change, SM presents the opportunity to rebuild how brands service customers. Be polite. Smile when you write.

Respect Language

People think in fragments. They just do. And every audience has a certain vernacular from which to engage in dialogue. Thus, respecting the language is less about the rules of grammar, and more about the rules of spelling. If there’s one thing you take from this post it should be that the quickest way to discredit your brand is to routinely misspell words. If you question the spelling of a word, look it up. If you have to guess, change the word. People notice.

One Word: Yes.

The core purpose of all copywriting is to persuade an audience to think or act favorably. One way to ensure that this happens is to use positive language in conversation. And the most positive word known to man is Yes. Use positive language in your dialogue and you’re going to make people happy. Or, as they say at the sales conventions, ‘all the little yeses add up to the big yes.’

Check out @Jetblue and @TraderJoes on Twitter for good examples of these concepts.

The key is not to try and be witty and clever – leave that to the copywriters. Instead, focus on being genuinely polite, helpful and positive and you’ll be well on your way to developing a smart conversation strategy for your Social Media efforts.

SERIES Social Media SkillsAdvertising, SEO, PR, Graphic Design, Copywriting, and more…

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