I met Sue a couple of years ago at a social media conference, she was presenting about how to write effective copy for the internet. We have stayed in touch mainly via Twitter and I finally got her to come and give a talk at Social Media London last month.
Some of her ideas which I think are great:
Don’t be all “me me me”
Use the rule of 3; one third to share interesting and useful information, one third having conversations (questions & answers), and the final third promoting yourself, your company etc. I would even argue you should speak less about yourself but definitely no more than one third.
Don’t be afraid to be brief
Keep your posts short if possible. It’s easy to do long updates on Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn as there are no word limitations. Bear in mind that an increasing number of users are on mobile devices and they appreciate your brevity.
As for Twitter, keep your tweets short if possible so you leave space for others to RT with a comment.
Engage by asking questions and using ‘You’
People love to hear the word ‘you’ as it refers to them, try it yourself. And make sure to ask your followers questions, ask for their opinions on things – most people like to weigh in.
Other strong words which get the attention of readers are ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘who’ and ‘how’.
Don’t auto-post between context
A lot of people auto-post across platforms because it’s quick, efficient and very easy to do. Sue argues that it looks a bit lazy to your followers and readers. In addition, by using auto-post you don’t take full advantage of your social media platforms. For instance, on Twitter you might be limited to text, a link and/or a picture, but on Facebook you can make more use of multimedia and write more.
So better to do manual updates if possible, just like how the folks at The Economist do it.