How to Write an Great Article for Social Media

Social Media Sharing
While there’s no single formula for writing an article that will resonate with your social media audience, here’s some guidelines that increase your chances for success.
The term ‘Social Media’ is a pretty popular concept these days. Cutting across the barriers or geography, culture, creed and language this concept has gripped the entire society spanning across the entire planet. Social media can be described as the gift of the latest technology that facilitates human interaction around the world! Technology has always – since the onset of human civilization – provided man with a distinct edge, which in turn marked the difference between man and other living beings on earth.
While digging through my bookmarks and starred articles, I noticed a growing list of awesome stories and helpful links. If I threw them all together, it’d make for quite the collection!
social media
I’d love to share with you what I’ve got so far, and it’d be awesome if you’d consider adding any personal favorites in the comments. Here is some I’ve bookmarked as my must-read guidelines on social media articles and content marketing resources.

Sure, you’re on Facebook. Twitter, too. Maybe you have a blog. You put a lot a lot of work into keeping them fresh and updated with pertinent, interesting posts. But aside from the few comments you get now and again, how do you know if anyone is listening to what you have to say?

You think hard about your social media strategy, posting interesting links relevant to your mission, working to expand your network and engage your constituents and create a solid, online reputation for your organization. You want to monitor your efforts and measure your results. Knowing whether your efforts are paying off can help you adapt your posting strategy to better meet your goals.

Monitoring your social media activities means listening to what people are saying to you, about you, and in your area of interest. Measuring them means counting, calculating and quantifying those activities into useful metrics that will inform your actions. These are separate and distinct practices that rely on each other to succeed. Finding the right tools to meet your needs in this area can save long hours of work.

When it comes to the big three of social media—Facebook, Twitter and —this can be done for no cost whatsoever, or for a significant investment. It all depends on what you want to track and measure. Every day, more and more tools join a substantial number of choices already on the marketplace.

I’ve been on social media for about a decade. Now it’s time to do some reflecting

  1. 300 to 3000 Words of Text.

Yes, the words in this text should contain a modicum of keywords you’re shooting for, but my advice is not to obsess about keyword density or even word count. Google, especially post-Hummingbird, is a lot smarter now than it was a few years ago about identifying article themes based on elements not directly related to keywords. As far as word count goes, it’s far better to a punchy 300-word article than a 2500-word article filled with lazy words and editorial fluff. (Google to my knowledge has no plans for a “content fluff” penalty yet but my hope is they’re working on it).

Also, remember that on social media the first words – and only the first few – will be excerpted in the text field surrounding the thumbnail image used when you add your post to a social media service. Make your point (or ask your question) in the first 25 words: this string of text will function as your “teaser” and must be as arresting as possible.

  1. At Least One Large (at Least 800 x 600) Image.

Social media thrives on visuals; without images, blog posts have no traction at all. You should have at least one great, compelling image on each post you publish, preferably two or three, because this gives your social media team a choice of more than one image to promote when listing the URL on Facebook and LinkedIn.
perfectpost-infographic
It’s clear to me that images are the often the weakest element on most blog articles. Using cheaply licensed images is always a mistake because doing so broadcasts the subtle message “everything on this page is a commodity.” A strong, unique image, however, can add credibility to the message in your text.

Make sure that this image renders well as a social media thumbnail image, because that’s the way most people will see it in their content streams. Factor in image search and/or production time into your blog production schedule. In some cases, finding an appropriate image can take almost as much editorial time and effort as generating the copy.

Conventions for image display in blog articles have changed in the past couple of years. Small right- or left-aligned images that looked OK in 2008 look archaic today. Perhaps because of the influence of mobile and/or tablets, full-width images mark your post as “modern.” It’s best to plan for any images you select for your blog post to be at least 800 x 600 in size.

  1. Links.

When I read a blog article that lacks a single link (other than the one in the author box), I feel cheated. Sprinkling a few hyperlinks strategically through your text conveys emphasis to your reader, as well as supplying textual context. These can be used to guide your reader’s eye to your main point.

Links aren’t simply decoration, of course. Well-chosen links function both as footnotes (keeping the exposition off-site and reducing your word count and “fluff”), and as visual signs that show you’ve done your research.

From a social media perspective, links are absolutely crucial because your social media team’s first post-publication job is to aggressively promote to those sources linked to in your article that a new article with this link is live. As I explain more fully in my ClickZ post about my Yearbook approach to content marketing, there’s no better way to increase the chance of social pickup than to reach out – on a one-to-one basis – to those whose work is being referred to in every article you post.

Try my approach out on your next blog post. The results may surprise you. Remember, it’s not enough to write great text, create great images, and include well-curated hyperlinks. You, your social media team, or your agency, still has to get “into the trenches” and perform personal outreach to motivate folks to share it. This job is the “marketing” component in “content marketing,” without it, content will never find the audience it deserves. In many industry categories, it’s a challenge to find the emotional triggers that stimulate sharing behavior. People share because it reflects well on them. They are trying to impress their followers or in some cases they are trying to impress (or get the attention of) the person who created the content (you).

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