For those of you who have time to write your own Facebook posts and Twitter tweets, here's a helpful guide based on what we tell our own writers.
General Social Media Advice
- Include an image and/or link whenever possible. Example: “Thank goodness it's Friday! This week is toast. http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m43b06Wj0g1rosawp.jpg”
- People LOVE motivational and inspirational quotes. Try to work in at least one per week.
- Beautiful images, cartoon jokes, and cute pictures are always popular, as well. Try to work in at least one per week.
- Include a question or “call to action” whenever possible. These should start with a verb or action word. The easier the question is to answer, the better. Try to keep it from being Yes or No. For example, this question would likely be answered Yes or No: “It’s Friday night! Are you going out?” This is a question likely to get more engagement: “It’s Friday night! What's on your agenda?”
- Include information about the local area, if possible. Example: “Looks like a lot of fun family stuff is going on this weekend. What do you have planned? http://events.sfgate.com/search?cat=&has_kids=1”
- Try to limit the number of questions to one per post. Otherwise it gets too confusing and people don’t know how to answer. Example: “It's Friday. Are you staying in or going out? What are you doing the rest of the weekend?” vs. “It's finally Friday! What are you looking forward to this weekend?”
- Facebook has a maximum image height or width of 960 pixels.
- You should post on Facebook at least three times per week. You can do it once a day if the information is varied enough.
- Include only one link per Facebook post.
- Encourage people to respond by asking questions or requesting photos / stories / comments.
- Don’t be afraid to ask people to Like posts. “'Like’ this if you have ever dreamed of ice cream.”
- Ideally you should tweet 1-3 times per day to catch people at various points in their feed. You can use a service like Crowdbooster to determine the best time(s) to post. They offer a 30 day free trial, and it's only $9 a month for their basic plan.
- Encourage people to share by making the tweets easy to pass along without edits. All they should have to do is retweet.
- Tweets are limited to 140 characters. Leave room for the tweetpic link if you’re including one (18 characters), shortened links, and your twitter handle if they retweet.
- You don’t need to include the your Twitter handle in the body of a tweet. If someone wants to RT it, they will leave the Twitter handle at the front, anyway.
- Don't be afraid to ask people to RT. "RT this if you can't live without butter."
- Include popular hashtags to take advantage of current topics. Check out Hashtags.org to see what's trending.
Have you discovered tactics that work well? Share them below!