A current and common question from businesses finding their way on social media is…

How can we save time, and prepare status updates for social networks like Facebook and Twitter?

Key Words

While what and how we write is important, a good initial investment of time is creating a base of content that is both relevant to your business brand and your industry. Just like developing your website, the starting point is your group of key words.

It may be that the same key words you used for your website will be sufficient. Often, when stepping into the social networks, additional "hot button" words become relevant for a few reasons:

  • Abbreviations to fit the space.
  • Adopted terminology by industry thought leaders.
  • Hashtags – A twitter technique.

Using key words in your social media helps you get found online, and also improves your SEO.

Hashtags

Hashtags are used most often on Twitter. You will find a pound sign (#) with a word that is specific to an industry, interest group, or tweet chat.

What's so special about hashtags?

On Twitter, they hyperlink to that conversation thread. At any moment, you can click a hashtag and see who is tweeting on that topic. By using the best Twitter hashtags for your profession, you are increasing the chances of being found by your target market, or those you will want to know within your interest spectrum.

Here are a few examples of well written tweets and use of hashtags:

 

@Twylah provides a good example of an optimal tweet for Search Engine People

Notice Kelly (@Twylah) uses a number, an article description, and a link to information.

Search Engine People refers to @FriendsofRicki as a good example of using effective tweets

See how @FriendsofRicki uses their own hashtag and one they are hoping to bring forward in their industry – noted with the red arrow.

Search Engine People refers to @AnnemarieCoach as a great example of using hashtags and key words in tweets

Annemarie's (@AnnemarieCoach) tweet is most optimal of the three. She uses a question to engage her followers, offers a solution with a link to a helpful article, and uses her signature hashtag with one that would appeal to her target market. The effectiveness is evident by the re-tweets (RT) and favorites that resulted.

A Twitter Tip: Twitter allows 140 characters. To encourage re-tweets, compose your tweets with 120 characters or less to leave enough room for your Twitter ID and a few characters of added text. Your goal is for tweets to be re-tweeted by more than one person! :)

Invest Your Time Wisely

Once you identify your key words and optimal hashtags, you will want to plug those into a Content Calendar so that you can use them strategically and even re-purpose your tweets and status updates.

Your content calendar should include easily visible columns for each social network, subjects with links and/or images for each, and a place where you can record results and track success.

That information should reveal when your followers are online, and when you should be tweeting and posting to reach them.

Tweet Speak And Facebook Lingo

Twitter allows only 140 characters to convey your point. Facebook allows you 5000 characters for each status update. There is a big difference there!

If you opt to utilize any social media scheduling tool, the temptation is to post the same update to both Twitter and Facebook. Which usually means that what makes it onto Twitter is what our Facebook friends and fans see.

But are all social networks created equal?

The answer is no.

Hashtags, abbreviations and shortened links are part of the Twittersphere. They even transfer over okay on LinkedIn. But studies show that Facebook users want to see more authentic prose.

Typically, a Facebook fan will not click on a shortened link, because they are unsure where it ultimately leads. It also looks foreign if they are not on Twitter. An exception to the rule is this Facebook Page:

Search Engine People refers to BundlePost's Facebook tendancies as good examples for those working with social media professionalsNote the shortened link used above. Even with adjustments made by Facebook, the shortened links are not recognizable to the average Facebook User. BundlePost caters to social media professionals, so it works well for them.

Even though Facebook gives us the space for 5000 characters, a study from Buddy Media shows posts with 80 characters or less get 27% more interaction.

Statistics also show that photos and images get higher levels of interaction. Here is a great example that utilizes both catchy text and a photo:

Search Engine People refers to RoomSketcher's Facebook page and an optimized Facebook post

This post on Facebook got quite a lot of likes and shares. It also received many fan comments. The key here was a sensationalized image – One that was even controversial to some RoomSketcher fans.

The Third Party Dilema

In the past year or so, there has been a lot of talk about whether Facebook gives lesser priority to status updates made via third party applications such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or other. I personally find that when I post directly to Facebook I get better results – Looks better, and I see greater interaction.

But I have also gotten some good play on scheduled posts to Facebook. Here is an example of exactly what to enter into your preferred social media scheduling tool:

Search Engine People sites Idea Girl Media's Facebook post utilizing a full link as an example for scheduling updates

The text within the post is limited to allow for the entire link to be entered into a scheduling tool. As this post could be scheduled in advance, optimizing any way possible is recommended so it plays well on the Facebook page.

So, How To Write The Most Optimal Social Media Status Updates?

 

The answer becomes less about tools and scheduling and more about starting with a firm base for content, and composing in a style that is relevant to your audience and the specific social platform.

A Social Media Tip: It's not broadcasting. Lead with questions where possible, and use calls to action to trigger engagement.

Are there helpful hints I left out above?

What questions do you have about writing status updates before scheduling?

Please let us know in the comments box below… :)