Social media marketing is becoming the most important weapon in the advertising arsenal of many businesses. As a consequence, many freelance writers are finding themselves writing specifically for social media networks and online content providers are running into an increased demand for this type of content from clients. Writing for social media networks is an extremely unique process because of the targeted demographic and the unique ways in which different social media networks work. Many writers will need to adjust their normal styles to suit the demands of specific types of social media audience.
The Demographics of Different Social Media Networks
A study by Mashable was able to break down the core demographics of many types of social media networks. In general, the social media audience is a youthful and trendy demographic. Connecting with the social media audience properly demands that the writer be engaging, fun and modern. A freelance writer needs to understand the social media network that they are writing for and the tone of their audience. Those that miss the mark will risk being ignored—or worse, alienating their main audience. Freelance writers also need to be aware that those on social media networks usually have limited patience for long posts. They are usually trying to find quick snippets of information and therefore usually don’t have a lengthy attention span.
The Differences Between Social Media Networks
Different social media networks work in vastly different ways. Facebook allows companies to post information and to promote specific events that may be of interest to them. Studies show that it is most appealing to women and those in their late teens and twenties. Posts on Facebook can be long or short depending on the needs of the company, though shorter posts are more easily digested.
Twitter is another extremely popular social media network and it is an interesting case for a writer because it requires that posts be only about a sentence in length. Research shows that Twitter is most often used by urban residents and those in their twenties, which means that the writer needs to target this demographic.
Nailing the Tone of a Social Media Network
The first thing a freelance writer needs to do when confronted with a social media campaign is develop a consistent voice for the company that directly relates to their target demographic and the demographic that has the most exposure on the chosen social network. Those on the social media network will want to feel like they can connect to the company and ensure the company has something of value to express to them. The tone needs to be friendly, fun and trendy, but it can’t run the risk of upsetting those it seeks to entertain.
Examples of Huge Social Media Mistakes
Many businesses have suffered by miscalculating their tone or going too far when attempting to reach their clients. American Apparel sent out an email last year making light of Hurricane Sandy and ended up paying the price on Twitter, as did The Gap. Both of these companies miscalculated their audience and believed that they wouldn’t take the disaster seriously. During the protest in Egypt, Kenneth Cole came under fire for an extremely miscalculated tweet about Cairo that led to some people boycotting the store, showing that many major companies still underestimate the impact of Twitter and don’t understand how to interact with Twitter followers.
Unfortunately, companies can also go in the other direction, and remain so professional and proper that customers become bored and disinterested. A freelance writer needs to carefully achieve and maintain a balance between the two extremes.
Jenna I is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.