Three Ways To Take The Twit Out Of Twitter

The Tweet (with a capital T)

Justine Sacco. Does the name ring a bell? Try ex-senior director of corporate communications for IAC. No? Okay, try: Justine who tweeted ‘Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!’ before she boarded her international flight, and was fired by the time she landed in Cape Town. Yes. That Justine Sacco.


What was she thinking?

Jon Ronson, journalist and bestselling author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, interviewed Justine three weeks after her trip to South Africa. She said, ‘Living in America puts us in a bit of a bubble when it comes to what is going on in the third world. I was making fun of that bubble.’ What was seen as a racist tweet born out of white privilege was actually intended as a reflexive critique of that very privilege.

Sadly, most people will probably remember Justine for what she said, and not what she meant to say.

Remember these three tips when tweeting:
  1. Cover all the angles: world views are as varied as the people who hold them. Draw up a mental checklist of all the possible audiences that could read your words, and view what you’ve written from their perspective … pre-tweet.
  2. Work those words: after you’ve constructed your tweet, keep rewriting it until it can’t be misunderstood.
  3. Let it lie: don’t give in to the urge to tweet immediately so you can say something clever or funny ahead of everyone else. Cultivate the habit of letting time elapse between when you type your tweet and tweet it, even if it’s only a few minutes. Those few minutes could save you a lot of pain later.
If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join our blogging and social media course in Johannesburg. Email  news@writerswrite.co.za  for more details.

 by Donna Radley

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

Why you can't postpone investing in social media

The Internet brings Writers Write more than 90% of its business. Almost every query we have for a course, a consultation, or a service originates through social media channels and our blog. Placing content in print media, on the radio or billboards would be a waste of time and money for us. 

If you look at the statistics below, we know we're not the only ones. South Africans spend more time on the Internet than Americans and Europeans. 

Last year, social media users increased from 2 billion to 3 billion users. It is mind-boggling, but it cannot be ignored. 

The graphs from this report includes statistics for more than 240 countries, and it profiles 30 of the world’s biggest economies, including South Africa.

The average internet user spends 4 hours and 25 minutes using the net each day. South Africans average more than 5 hours of use per day:

Source for Image: wearesocial.net

The average social media user spends 2 hours and 25 minutes per day using social networks and microblogs. South Africans spend 3 hours and 12 minutes every day on social media.

Source for Image: wearesocial.net

Simply having a social media presence will not bring you business. Mindlessly tweeting and posting special offers on Facebook will not work. Social media without a blog will not work. You have to learn how to use it so that you can turn it into a reward for your business. 

If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join our blogging and social media course in Johannesburg. Email  news@writerswrite.co.za  for more details.

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If you enjoyed this post read:

  1. How creating content leads to sales
  2. Social Media Explained
  3. The Seven Points You Need To Build A Story For Your Business
  4. Social networks need a ‘constant gardener’ to grow and sustain them
  5. The Most Important Lesson for Building a Social Media Following - Being There

News Alert: Writers Write has been announced as one of the Top 50 Writing Blogs of 2015. We were also named one of the 13 Great Facebook Pages for Writers

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Pinterest,  Facebook,  Google+,  Tumblr  and  Twitter.  

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

Why Charles Dickens was the original self-publicist

Today is the anniversary of Charles Dickens' birthday. He was born 7 February 1812 and died 9 June 1870. He was a prolific English author whose works included Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, and David Copperfield.

Dickens showed writers how to become famous or at least how to become popular. His friend, the novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote that Dickens “has been fortunate in escaping the envy of fellow writers – & has aided this good fortune by a very skilful care of his own fame – watching every occasion to refresh it – he understands the practical part of authorship better than any writer”. 

Dickens was the original blogger, self-publishing his work and releasing his stories in instalments. He was famous for his public readings and tours.

His readers adored him. As Simon Callow writes, 'He was taken immensely seriously; he comported himself with dignity, humility, grace and good humour. Then he made them laugh uproariously'. 

When he went to Scotland for the first time, everyone who was anyone turned out at a banquet in his honour. He was mobbed during his first trip to America in 1842, where he had locks of his hair cut off and bits of his fur coat plucked. He was stared at and followed, but he relished the acclaim. 

He was also enormously wealthy. His second American tour in 1867 brought profits of £20,000, which would equate to £1.4m today. His advance of £6,000 for Our Mutual Friend in 1864, would be close to £420,000 today. (Source)

Charles Dickens lived his life in the glare of publicity more so than any other author in history. When he died it can be argued that he was the most famous man in the world. If he had lived today, he would have a Twitter account, A Facebook page and a Blog. He would be a social media superstar.

Dickens was ahead of his time. Have a look at these statistics:

Source for Infographic

If you enjoyed this, you may want to read these 10 Memorable Charles Dickens Quotes. If you want to find out more about social media, join us for  The Social Brand,

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on PinterestFacebookGoogle+Tumblr  and Twitter. 

If you want to find out more about social media, read:

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

Social Media Explained

Have you ever thought of using #Caturday for your business. Or #throwbackthursdays?

"If content is the king of Social Media, consistency is the queen. It's about showing up when you say you will. It is a challenge when life intrudes, but there are ways to make it easier for you. Planning your posts a week or a month ahead helps. Categories and themes are all great ways to simplify your content." ~Mia Botha, How to plan your blogging week in less than 15 minutes

Source for Image

Writing for social media is all about engaging your audience, and showing your personality. It is a fun and effective way to talk about your business on your blog. If you communicate well on your networks, you will be successful.

Writers Write has more than 300 000 followers on social media. More than 80% of our business is generated via these platforms. If you want to find out more, join us for The Social Brand, our social media workshop.

News Alert Writers Write has been announced as one of the Top 50 Writing Blogs of 2015. We were also named one of the 13 Great Facebook Pages for Writers

(If you liked this post, you'll love 30 (or so) Famous Fictional Cats and  20 Literary Quotes About Cats)

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Join us on Facebook 

and Twitter

Follow @Writers_Write

and Pinterest

Pinterest

and LinkedIn

LinkedIn

and Google+

Google+

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 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Pinterest,  Facebook,   Google+,  Tumblr  and  Twitter.  

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

Social Networks Need A ‘Constant Gardener’ To Grow And Sustain Them

This article first appeared in The Media Online in February 2011. Some of the statistics are outdated. It is incredible to note how much has changed in three years. It is also depressing to note that so few companies have truly embraced Social Media.

Media Online Intro: Amanda Patterson explores the reasons why some celebrities and brands are so successful on social networks and why others just haven’t made the grade. Social networking, she says, needs a ‘constant gardener’ to grow, water and sustain them, and allow them to thrive.

Seventy out of every 100 people who join Facebook never leave. Thirty out of every 100 people who join Twitter continue tweeting. Anyone who is serious about business has a LinkedIn Profile. Facebook requires patience, charm and innovative thinking. Twitter requires wit, and an authentic voice. LinkedIn requires an honest up to date record of your work history. It also needs regular updating and referrals from satisfied customers.

Everyone wants to know the secret to social media marketing.

It’s simple. It’s also hard work. You have to create a personality for your brand. You have to give it a face, and a voice. Literally. You have to choose a real person. This person can be someone in your company, or someone you believe personifies your brand.

However, it would be wise to avoid using the usual suspects.

Musicians, screen and radio personalities do not always translate successfully into social media networks. These artists may have only been famous for the way they look or the way they sing or talk. Social media networking requires more than this.

The usual suspects also rely on their employers, their existing platforms and publicists to bring their audience to them. They are not necessarily innovative and creative.

Most radio presenters, actors and musicians work through agents or managers. Mostly they are unaware of how these new media work. In all honesty it would damage their careers if they were let loose without supervision on the internet. It would also be commercial suicide for their sponsors.

It is interesting to note that Talk Radio 702 has only 3 094 members in its Facebook group. Redi Tlhabi has 2 386 members in her group. Other presenters have 100 – 300 members. The Parlotones have a few hundred members, as do Freshly Ground.

Why these low figures?

  1. Firstly, the dedicated television viewers and radio listeners are growing old. They are not young enough to understand social media.
  2. Secondly, these presenters, and performers, have producers who script shows for them. They need direction and are largely reactive.
  3. Thirdly, the Internet needs constant ‘gardeners’ who create and grow their online personalities. These ‘celebrities’ do not, and in some cases, cannot, do this. An Internet audience can feel the lie when publicists do it on their behalf.

This is worrying for advertisers. Most consumers with a higher LSM (Life Style Means) spend significant amounts of time on the Internet.

Some celebrities like Trevor Noah with 494 300 fans and Gareth Cliff with 276 105 fans have crossed the divide. Why? They are multi-talented. Not just famous for a voice or a look. They often write their own material, think on their feet, and entertain us. They are perfect for social media.

They are the constant gardeners.

Social Media is networking. It has levelled playing fields. You do not need a huge budget. If you choose the correct personality to represent your product you will succeed. If that personality is able to attract ‘fans’, post interesting content and inspire them to want more, your customers will follow.

Allow consumers into your world and headspace. Remember that consumers don’t just want to buy a product. They want to be courted and tempted into making the decision.

The most successful companies place social media marketing at the heart of their business. They find online social media personalities with an established following to promote their product and woo an audience.

Where will you find your ‘constant gardener’?"

First posted 14 February 2011

Writers Write has a social media following of 340 000 fans (27 December 2015). Join us for The Social Brand - How to write for social media

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on PinterestFacebook,  Google+,  Tumblr  and Twitter. 

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

Throwback Thursdays Mean Business

Thursdays are interesting. Not only because they give hope that the end of the week is in sight, but because I get to stare at people who willingly posts pics of themselves with big hairspray hair and leg warmers. Yes, Throwback Thursday is a highly anticipated event. 

But how can I embrace this trend for my business? 

Posting a pic of your CEO with the aforementioned leg warmers might not get the response that you are looking for, although it might help to remind us that the powerful boardroom samurai is a person too. (Which we can argue is the point of building relationships on social media.) But, I digress…

Think about what your business has to offer. It has been around for years. You have a ton of experience between yourself and your employees. You have hundreds of magazine articles and lots of data. Social Media is about sharing that knowledge.

Three Tips for Making Throwback Thursday Work for You
  1. Trends. If you are writing a post predicting a trend, go back and look at previous articles about similar trends. Use the old information by comparing it to the new. 
  2. Data. If you release data on a monthly basis, look at the same month last year and the same month three years before that. Compare and re-interpret. 
  3. Predictions. When you analyse data or release new figures go back into your archives and find similarities to help you predict trends. Comment on old predictions.
Capturing human capital is one of the greatest challenges. Share tips that seem obvious to you. They could be invaluable to a new employee or a young person starting out in their career.

#ThrowbackThursday can be a wonderful tool to reflect on years gone by, and it can be a showcase for your experience. You already have the content. Rework it into a web-friendly format. Don’t just upload everything verbatim. Some of it is old and out-dated. Like hairspray and leg warmers.

Source for Image

I am probably going to get lynched by the hard-core Throwback Thursday enthusiasts for suggesting this, but I am willing to take the risk. I might even start brainstorming ideas of How to use Saturday is #Caturday for your business. Yes, it does exist.

If you enjoyed this post, read How to plan your blogging week in less than 15 minutes. If you want to find out more about Social Media, join us for The Social Brand, our social media workshop.

 by Mia Botha

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

The Most Important Lesson for Building a Social Media Following - Being There

Social Media is not a real conversation, but it is a way to interact in real time with your customers. Everything you do should be aimed at giving as much as you can to get what you need.

Being There

You have to be committed and that means you have to post content regularly on your major social media platforms. Consistency is crucial. Even if your clients choose to miss a post, you cannot choose not to post one. People get used to you. They trust you and come to you for information, guidance, ideas, and assistance.  

Yes, people come to you. This happens because you have earned their attention. It does not take a genius to understand that this reward is the most valuable pay-off for a business.
Do not ask: ‘What’s in it for us?’ You will fail. People join Social Media platforms to be part of a community. You have to offer something, and wait for a response. 

Rather ask: ‘How can we help our customers?’ By providing valuable content, you create a customer base. These people need to get to know you and trust you before they will buy your product.
Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

The Science of Storytelling

Many studies show us that our brains prefer storytelling to facts.

When we read facts, only the language parts of our brains work to understand the meaning. When we read a story, the language parts of our brains and any other part of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing what we’re reading, light up.

This means that it’s easier for us to remember stories than facts. Our brains can't make major distinctions between a story we’re reading about and something we are actually doing.  

Individuals, brands and companies need to learn how to take advantage of this and make it part of their marketing strategy. Writers Write offers The Social Brand - how to write for social media, and The Story of a Business - storytelling for business, as part of The Plain Language Programme.

But how does this actually work?

Source for Infographic: OneSpot

If you enjoyed this post read:

  1. Social networks need a ‘constant gardener’ to grow and sustain them
  2. The Most Important Lesson for Building a Social Media Following - Being There
  3. Three Top Tips for Writing for Social Media
  4. Eight Invaluable Blogging Tips for Writers
  5. 40 Twitter Hashtags for Writers
  6. Seven ways to make the most of social media
  7. Six reasons social media matters to your company
  8. Effective Internet Writing
  9. Throwback Thursdays Mean Business

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. If you want to learn how to write a book, write for social media, and improve your business writing, send an email to news@writerswrite.co.za for more information.

Writers Write - Write to communicate

Writing for Social Media—Not Any Old Tweet Can Do It

Press Release
Source for Comic: Sarah Lesson

Social media is one of the most powerful marketing and enterprise tools at a company’s disposal in an increasingly digital world. It is the new word of mouth, according to Amanda Patterson, CEO of Writers Write. 

“However, the second biggest mistake companies make is to assign a technical employee or an overburdened webmaster responsibility for the company’s social media marketing,” she says. “The biggest mistake it to outsource the role to agencies or experts who don’t understand your brand. Social media must have a personal, informal touch.”

The right voice

Although most companies are using social media, many are not exploring these platforms to their full potential. “To write effectively for social media, you first need to investigate which channels are going to work for your brand,” Patterson says. “You also need a writer who understands that social media is about PR and not shout marketing—they have to be creative, agile, and on trend.”

Those who succeed in social media understand that it is multi-directional conversation and not a static monologue. Only in this way can you create an authentic and emotional connection with the audience. “It is a way to engage their customers in a digital world where they already feel comfortable,” she says. “Your online representative must become a consistent voice and create a credible online personality for your brand at all times. They need to be curious, passionate and able to reinvent themselves to adapt to new opportunities.”

Unpredictable outcomes

Social media communication must always complement other brand-building, advertising and PR strategies. In all communication, the writer should strive to provide information and build awareness, as well create excitement around the brand. “Of course, you cannot predict social media outcomes,” Patterson says. “That is why you need a writer who understands your brand, in order to respond to a change in trend or deal with an online crisis.”

Social success
After developing a social media strategy in 2008, Amanda Patterson and Writers Write have enjoyed growing success in this space. “We recognised that the world was moving away from traditional advertising and PR and embraced the interaction social media offered,” she says. “We realised people wanted more information more frequently.”

At present, Writers Write has a social media following of more than 200 000, while Amanda Patterson has a following of more than 240 000. “We’ve taken all we’ve learned over the last six years and distilled this into an interactive, informative and fun workshop,” she says.

The Social Brand is a one-day workshop on 31 July 2014 that shows individuals and companies how to find the right strategy and structure for social media, as well as a practical guide to setting up a blog. “Social media is a great way to humanise your company, to show a side of the brand people won’t see in your company report or website,” Patterson says. If you want more information on this workshop, please email news@writerswrite.co.za

Ends

If you enjoyed this post read:

  1. Social networks need a ‘constant gardener’ to grow and sustain them
  2. The Most Important Lesson for Building a Social Media Following - Being There
  3. Three Top Tips for Writing for Social Media
  4. Eight Invaluable Blogging Tips for Writers
  5. 40 Twitter Hashtags for Writers
  6. Seven ways to make the most of social media
  7. Six reasons social media matters to your company
  8. Effective Internet Writing
  9. Throwback Thursdays Mean Business

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. If you want to learn how to write a book, write for social media, and improve your business writing, email news@writerswrite.co.za for more information.

Writers Write - Write to communicate

Three Top Tips for Writing for Social Media

Writing for social media is all about engaging your audience, and showing your personality. It is a fun and effective way to talk about your business. If you communicate well on your networks, you will be successful.

Here are three things you should remember before you write a word.

1. The shorter the better

Even if some platforms allow you to write a longer message, always share yours in the shortest, most effective length. Cut unnecessary padding words and phrases. Examples: nearly, very, really, almost, finally, in fact, I mean, what I wanted to say. Use sentence fragments. It adds a conversational tone and saves space.

2. Make a scene

Stand out. Get noticed. Offer something valuable. You could be sharing a link, giving advice, posting a quote, announcing an event, or asking a question. Whatever you do it must be of value to your audience. You also have to write that message in a way that makes your words sound exciting, intriguing, and irresistible.

3. Be friendly

Social media is about interacting. It is not necessarily about having a conversation, but you are sharing your product and your world with real people and you need to write conversationally. You need to be charming and you need to make friends. Do not use hype. Do not use jargon. Do not sound as if you are selling something. Do not lecture. Communicate. You would not use these tactics with real friends, why use them on social media?

What is the most important thing to remember?

You are not invisible. You are completely exposed on Social Media. So, look good, sound good, and be on your best behaviour. 

If you want some help with social media marketing, enrol on our one-day workshop, The Social Brand, to find out how we do it. 

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Pinterest,  Facebook,  Google+,  Tumblr  and  Twitter. 

© Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this post read:
  1. Social networks need a ‘constant gardener’ to grow and sustain them
  2. The Most Important Lesson for Building a Social Media Following - Being There
  3. Social Media Explained
  4. Eight Invaluable Blogging Tips for Writers
  5. 40 Twitter Hashtags for Writers
  6. Seven ways to make the most of social media
  7. Six reasons social media matters to your company
  8. Effective Internet Writing
  9. Throwback Thursdays Mean Business
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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate