Week 4 (3/3): Getting the message out

“Social Media Icons Color Splash Montage – Square” by Visual Content is licensed under CC BY 2.0

BY RUTH BERAN

The human brain is wired to remember stories. Tell the right story, one that resonates with your audience, and it can build relationships, communities and engagement.

Stories create conversations with your audience, rather than just talking or broadcasting at them.

DISCUSSION: What stories have you seen recently on social media? Were they connected to a particular organisation or brand? Why do you remember them?

WATCH: Did you see this Apple ad last year during the start of COVID?

Does this ad focus on Apple products? Or is there another underlying message?

DISCUSSION: What are some different stories we can tell about TAFE Off Campus?

Think: personal, organisational, product and consumer

Writing for social media

Effective writing on social media requires short, sharp text.

No matter how short the post, text should still follow the inverted pyramid structure:

Image: Wikimedia

This structure:

  • hooks you in with the headline,
  • gets you to read the first few lines or paragraphs, and
  • if you want to find out more information to read further.

Think of it as front-loading the post with information.

This structure has been used in journalism for centuries (see this news article from 1865 in the New York Times).

With attention spans getting shorter and shorter, this structure is becoming even more important.

The structure is based on the inverted pyramid where the most newsworthy information is at the top: the who, what, where, when, why and how.

Then details are fleshed out next in descending order of importance.

This may sound simple, but often the tricky part is working out the order of importance for the information.

WATCH: For example, here is a video on writing for Twitter (note that the character limit has increased since this video was made).

Each social media platform has different character limits and formats.

TASK: research how many characters can you post on:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • TikTok

What is the most effective number of characters?

For Facebook and Instagram, how many characters do readers see before the post is truncated ie replaced by See More?

You might find this article useful: Know Your Limit: The Ideal Length of Every Social Media Post

READ: this blog by Verity Chambers on writing for small screens

Hashtagging

Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and other social media platforms use hashtags.

READ: this blog by Natalie Pozdeev on strategic sharing and hashtags.

TASK: Using the Audience and Engagement: Research Brief Template create a Research Brief on hashtagging for Assessment Part 1 due in Week 9.

As the Subject Guide outlines, ensure that your Research brief includes:

  • A summary of what hashtags are, how they work, and how they are used
  • Recommendations on hashtag use for Off Campus, including suggested number of hashtags on each platform, which hashtags Off Campus should always use, use of capital letters within the hashtag
  • Relevant resources to include how to find trending hashtags
  • Sample posts to show how hashtags should be implemented on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok

Author: veritychambers

Journalist and teacher

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