- By Cathy Goodwin
- Published 03/31/2009
- Writing for the Web
Social media (such as Twitter and Facebook) have helped hundreds of independent professionals and solo-preneurs gain massive visibility on the Internet. You can use the same tools to grow your own business. But you won’t see changes immediately. In fact, you will not see changes at all unless you approach social networking as strategically as you would plan any other marketing campaign. Your social networking activities play a key role in your promotional communication. Therefore, they need to communicate the same message as your website, blog and face to face elevator speech — even when you post about personal, everyday events. One way to grow your business with social networking is to decide that you will apply essential copywriting principles to every tweet and post. In fact, you are writing copy every time you communicate with your target customers, potential joint venture partners and referral sources. Copywriting doesn’t mean fake. You still retain your authentic voice. In fact, you won’t come across as credible if you turn up the hype.
When you apply your copywriting techniques, you target every sentence and every post to your target audience. So if you’re a financial consultant, you don’t write posts like, “I ate a donut.” Or, “I wonder whether to have tuna or chicken salad fo
r lunch.” But if you’re a diet coach, you can fine-tune posts about food to reach your target audience in a very meaningful way. When you’re writing copy, you realize you need to be compelling. Readers are easily distracted. But you can’t demand their interest by writing in all capital letters, using questionable Sopranos-type language, or making outrageous claims. Instead, you recognize exactly what draws their interest and you respond. Even when you’re writing personal posts, you can see your world through the lens of a copywriter. I recommend identifying a few personal topics that you wouldn’t mind disclosing to the world. Choose activities that wouldn’t embarrass you if they appeared on Sixty Minutes (and anything you post on Facebook could easily end up there, if it’s bizarre enough). Examples include being a die-hard fan of the Florida Gators of the Green Bay Packers, listening to jazz, working out in the gym, playing a musical instrument and taking walks with your dog.
When you mention activities like these, you invite others to bond with you. When you post, “I just ate a piece of triple chocolate cake,” you’re probably not bonding. In fact, you may attract raised eyebrows from some. But if you post, “Just made a triple chocolate cake for my daughter’s birthday — she’s 10,” you might get into dialogues about birthdays, challenges of getting kids to eat healthy food, and cooking as a hobby.