The 9 Essential Social Media Platforms


A while ago, I wrote a series called Social Media 101. If you missed it, I have written this post so that you can access the links in one post. 

I start with the basics of what you need to know about blogs, and then discuss the major social media platforms in more detail. Each post explains what the platform is about, why it is important, how to set up your page, how to use it, and how to succeed.

I believe that the secret to succeeding in social media is blogging. If you only have a static website, you will find it almost impossible to make an impression on social media platforms. Starting a Facebook page and linking back to the same boring website will chase followers away. 

A constantly updated blog gives you something new to share on social media. This makes you, or your company, interesting and relevant. People will start noticing you and, if they like what you have to say, they will follow you.

Here are the nine platforms you should consider:
  1. Social Media 101 - What is a Blog?
  2. Social Media 101 - What is Facebook?
  3. Social Media 101 - What is Pinterest?
  4. Social Media 101: What is Instagram?
  5. Social Media 101 - What is YouTube?
  6. Social Media 101 - What is Twitter?
  7. Social Media 101 - What is Google+?
  8. Social Media 101 - What is Tumblr?
  9. Social Media 101 - What is LinkedIn?

I hope this series inspires you to start blogging and to decide which platforms will best suit you or your business.

Happy blogging!

If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join us for  The Complete Blogging and Social Media Course. Please send an email to news@writerswrite.co.za for details.

Why You Should Remove Buzzwords From Your Social Media Profiles

Writing a profile for your social media accounts is difficult. It is even more difficult if you are writing one for your role in a business. The secret to getting it right is making it sound as natural as possible. 

I cringe when I read a profile that drips with buzzwords. Buzzwords hide what you do. People do not dialogue, they speak. They do not reach out, they contact. And I avoid thought leaders, influencers and game changers. If you cannot tell me what you really do, I will not use you or your business.

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you would say any of these things to a prospective client in real life. If you would not, you need to reword your profile. For example, most of us would not go up to somebody and say, 'Hello, I'm Stan, a results-driven professional thought leader who strategically motivates management problem solving.' If you do speak like this, you have become a caricature and a cliché. 

Tom Fishburne, Founder and CEO of Marketoonist, offers some great advice for business writers who are creating LinkedIn profiles. He created a series of cartoons and this slideshow to show you how to do it.

We think this advice is good for any business writing, including when you pen emails and reports. Read more in his post Dropping The Buzzwords From Our Profiles.

Cartoons from Dropping The Buzzwords From Our Profiles by Tom Fishburne

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If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join us for  The Complete Blogging and Social Media Course. Please send an email to news@writerswrite.co.za for details.

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

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

Why Blogging Will Be More Important Than Ever In 2016

Companies with a successfully-run relevant blog generate 67% more leads than those that do not have one.

As I've said before, if you run a business in the 21st century, you have to venture online and create a strong social media presence. But you can't do this without a blog. You can only build a viable, sustainable social media campaign on the backbone of a successful blog

This Infographic from BrandAnew illustrates the most important digital marketing predictions for 2016. How many of them have you included in your strategy for next year?

If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join us for  The Complete Blogging and Social Media Course.

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

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25 Types Of Content That Make Your Blog Irresistible

If you run a business in the 21st century, you will have to venture online. In order to run a successful business, you will have to get people to notice you and your brand with a strong social media presence. But before you even think about that, you need to generate content to share via these media. You do this by creating a blog.

Your blog is your headquarters for content. It where you set ground rules, showcase your brand, establish your reputation, share your knowledge, and show your expertise.

Without a blog, it is difficult, if not impossible, to get a return on investment in social media. You have to create a loyal following and you do this with a regularly-updated interesting blog. If you share content from your blog posts that interests your social media fans, they will follow you all the way back to your headquarters.

And when they do, make sure it is worth their while.

How do you do this? 

Make your content matter. People love blogs that provide specific, well-written, entertaining information that they can use. Most of us follow a link because we want to find ways to accomplish a goal, fix a problem, or be entertained. 

Your blog should be more than just a pretty place that offers moderately interesting chitchat. To make it fabulous, it should be a worthwhile place that welcomes, nourishes, and serves people. If you provide content that does this, your guests will want to come back for more and you will find out how creating content leads to sales.

We have provided ideas for content in previous posts, but we wanted to share this useful image with you. 

Remember that the content you create has to be true to your brand while it entertains your customer. You should be a good writer if you want to blog regularly. The great news is that writing is not an art, it is a craft, and like all crafts it is something you can learn to do. Taking a creative writing course inspires confidence in most people who want to blog, so it may be a good place to start.

If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join us for  The Complete Blogging and Social Media Course

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

© Amanda Patterson 

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20 Types Of Content You Don't Realise You're Sharing


We all know, or should know, that content is king. What many of us do not realise is that content is more than just our blog posts. Promoting ourselves, our companies, and our brands on the Internet is the way we do business. Everything we share is content. 

The truth is that everything we do online reveals us. The rule of thumb is to act online the way you would act in real life. Imagine that you are literally standing in front of friends, family, co-workers, and strangers and then consider if you would still share the content. 

Content is anything that others can find out about you online, and includes: 
  1. Private emails
  2. Professional emails
  3. Your website
  4. Your blog
  5. Your blog posts
  6. Your grammar, spelling, and punctuation
  7. Your about page, your contact page, your services page
  8. Your profile pictures on private and professional platforms
  9. Your ‘about you’ descriptions on every social media platform
  10. Your backgrounds on social media
  11. Your themes on social media
  12. Your photographs on social media
  13. Your shared quotations, images, and cartoons on social media
  14. Your shared articles and links on social media
  15. Your reviews of anything
  16. Social media updates, including personal Facebook statuses, tweets on Twitter, pins on Pinterest, LinkedIn updates, Instagram pictures and videos, YouTube videos, Google+ posts, Tumblr posts
  17. Responses or lack of responses on social media platforms
  18. Infographics you create
  19. Your services and products, including courses, ebooks, webinars
  20. The brands and people you follow
    You are your content 

    So think carefully before you post that crazed political rant, dubious link, unintelligible update, drunken photograph, selfie #923, super-religious quotation, anti-religious ecard, or that unflattering comment about your co-workers, company, friends, or family. If that is how you really want to be perceived, go ahead, but please check your spelling and grammar before you do. If you do care about how others perceive you, don't post it.

    If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join us for  The Complete Blogging and Social Media Course.

     by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

    © Amanda Patterson

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

    Social Media 101: What is Instagram?

    Amanda Patterson has written about the importance of  blogging,  Facebook,  Pinterest,  YouTube,  Google+,  Tumblr,  LinkedIn  and  Twitter  in our  Social Media 101  series. Today I am going to talk about Instagram.

    What is Instagram?

    According to Wikipedia, ‘Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them on a variety of social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.’ But I promise you it is more fun than that. Seriously, this is the platform that celebrates the ‘selfie’ and food porn. It is a phone-based app that allows you take a picture or a short video with your phone. You then apply filters to it, making the picture look more professional and you look a lot younger. It was also the fastest growing platform in 2014.

    Why is it important?

    A beautiful, well-styled picture is worth a thousand likes. Well not right away, but give it time. Instagram allows people and brands to share their stories in a visual format, a perfect square to be exact. It is great for reaching the millennials, but it is certainly not limited to them. In addition, users are more likely to interact with brands on Instagram than on Facebook or Twitter. Instagram users can be considered early adopters of trends.

    How to set up an Instagram account
    1. Download the app and set up a profile for yourself or your brand by visiting https://instagram.com/ 
    2. Instagram will assign a username to you. Mine is, for example,  https://instagram.com/miajou/ 
    3. Edit your profile, add a picture and write a bio.  
    4. Find other people to follow and start building your following.
    How to use Instagram
    1. Open the app on your phone, choose the camera setting and take a picture. You can also choose a picture from your gallery, although I find it better to take the picture in the app. 
    2. Once you have a photo you like, choose a filter. 
    3. Add a relevant caption and appropriate hashtags.
    4. Once you are done, you can choose to share it to certain other platforms and you can tag your location. 
    5. Find other users to follow. Search hashtags that are appropriate to you or your brand. 
    6. You can tag other users by typing @ before their username, for example if you want to tag me you’d type @miajou 
    Instagram Tips
    1. Beautiful images are key on this platform. Take the time to style your shots to create the most expressive image.
    2. Hashtags are very important. They help new users find your profile and brand. Search for the hashtags that are most used for your interests or industry.
    3. Unlike Pinterest, the images don’t link back to your website. Be sure to include a link to your website in your profile.
    4. Authenticity and honesty are the key to succeeding here. The community is mostly positive, but they tend to embrace and be more welcoming of ‘real’ people and honest brands.
    5. Grow your following organically. Be careful of fake accounts that promise you hundreds of followers in return for following them or accounts with only a few photos and a huge following.
    6. Post content regularly, but don’t flood your followers.  
    7. You need to download an app: http://regram.me/ to ‘regram’ a post.
    8. Instagram now has a new private message function that allows you to send a message directly to another user. 

    If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join us for  The Complete Blogging and Social Media Course. Please send an email to news@writerswrite.co.za for details.

     by Mia Botha

    If you enjoyed this post, you will love:

    1. How To Conquer The Dreaded Blank Page
    2. 10 Poses To Show Character Development Through Body Language
    3. Protagonist vs Antagonist Worksheet

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

      7 Online Tools To Help You Generate Content For Your Blog


      As a blogger, I have to find ways to create content on a regular basis. Sometimes it feels as if I am in a creative rut and I need a little help. I have found that these seven blogging tools have saved my sanity on several occasions. 

      1. Portent Title Maker. When I need to find a unique title for a blog, this is perfect. For example, I typed in emails and the prompter gave me these suggestions:
      1. Why Emails Are Sexy
      2. Darth Vader’s Guide to Emails
      3. What Experts Are Saying About Emails
      2. HubSpot’s Blog Idea Generator. When I need to kick-start my creativity, I use the Blog Topic Generator to come up with customised topics. I have to type in a keyword and the tool generates engaging titles. For example, I entered a few keywords (writing, emails, business) and these are the ideas it generated for me:
      1. 5 Tools Everyone In The Writing Industry Should Be Using
      2. What Will Emails Be Like In 100 Years?
      3. The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Business
      4. 10 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Writing
      5. Why We Love Emails (And You Should, Too!) 
      3. Ubersuggest. UberSuggest is a free keyword suggestion tool that makes use of Google Suggest. Type a term into the search box, choose a language and a source and this tool will provide suggestions for it.  You will get thousands of keyword ideas from real people who are using these keywords in search engines. If you are organised, you can generate ideas for blog posts in advance and put your ideas in a blogging calendar. For example, ‘How to write a book’ generated 361 suggestions. 

      4. Canva. If you want to create customised professional images for your blog and social media posts, you should try this tool. There are thousands of stock images to choose from, and you can add different elements (such as text, banners and buttons) to create customised images. I created this blog post title image with Canva.

      5. Buzzsumo. If I want to find out which content is being shared the most on any website, this tool lets me find it. You can use this to generate more of the same type of content in the future. For example, these two posts have been popular on writerswrite.co.za in the last few months. The first post has generated more than 60 000 shares and the second post more than 11 000 shares. The statistics show you where the posts have been shared. (Note: The posts have been shared more over a longer time period.)
       

      6. Pixabay. If you need free images for your blogs, Pixabay has over 460,000 free photos, vectors and art illustrations. 

      7. Creative Commons. Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation that allows you to share free media content, from songs and videos to scientific and academic material. 

      I hope these tools help you to generate content for your blog posts.

      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.

        How To Be Effective With Social Media In Five Simple Steps


        Guest Post

        Social media is much more than just a personalised space for users on the internet. It is a connecting link between us and the world; a platform to share our ideas and opinions. It is a place to find others with similar interests and engage with them, especially if we are businesspeople. 

        Here are five tips on how to maximise social media to give your business a great boost:

        1. Cast your net for specific fish. Every business has a target audience and potential buyers. You are posting for these people. Use analytics to find out about the people who like your posts as these are the people most likely to be your customers. Facebook is one of the sites that provides demographic insights about your followers and posts. Other platforms like Instagram do not have preloaded tools, but there are options available online. Find out what appeals most to your followers and post accordingly. 
        2. Don’t simply follow trends. If you’re opting for a long-term and stable business, you need to focus on what people really NEED. Instead of merely following trends, connect with your audience on social media and ask them what they need. You should incorporate these things into your products. 
        3. Post to impress. Social media pages with regular, interesting content have a greater following than the ones that simply talk about business. It is important to promote your product, but this will only work if your posts appeal to the public. So incorporate catchy images, humour, and anything that your audience finds appealing in your posts. 
        4. Keep your website or blog updated. No matter how impressive your social media account is, you cannot neglect your brand’s website. This shows professionalism and authenticates your online presence. Invest in your website, keep your blog updated, and don’t forget to add a link for your social media ‘about me’ section. 
        5. Don’t stop promoting. Even if you’ve reached the pinnacle of social media glory, do not forget to keep on promoting yourself. Post regularly and keep it interesting. Most social media platforms provide an option for advertising your posts. This is worth the investment since they are likely to be noticed.

        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 Andy Thompson. Andy is a freelance writer whose passion for writing is her main drive in crafting articles that are engaging, informative, and meaningful. She is a content writer for TroopSocial.

        If you enjoyed this post, read:

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

        Social Media 101 - What is LinkedIn?

        I have written about the importance of bloggingFacebookPinterestYouTube, Google+, Tumblr, and Twitter in my Social Media 101 series. Today I am going to talk about LinkedIn.

        What is LinkedIn?

        LinkedIn is the leading social networking site for growing connections in the business world. It is really a gigantic CV reservoir. It is also a place to read career-oriented blogs. This platform has been networking since 2003, which is know as ‘since the beginning of time’ in social media.

        Why is it important?

        Everyone in business should have a LinkedIn profile. It is the easiest way to keep your CV updated. It is a great resource for showing people who might want to use your services who you are, what qualifications you have, your work history, and what your business does.

        How to set up a LinkedIn account
        1. Complete the profile by following the template, detailing your experience and activities. 
        2. Be specific about what you do and what you want. Do not exaggerate your skills or use buzz words like 'guru' or 'wizard'. Do not bore your connections with meaningless phrases such as 'experienced business professional' or boast about how 'savvy','customer-oriented', 'innovative' and 'brilliant' you are. Be sincere and keep it brief.
        3. Connect with colleagues and friends by sending invitations. Establish relationships with people in your industry. 
        4. Customize your LinkedIn profile URL. Mine is amandapatterson1
        How to use LinkedIn

        Make sure you have a great CV. Rearrange your page with the most important information near the top of the page. Post links to articles or blogs so people can read more about who you are and what you do. LinkedIn offers profile-based, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising similar to Facebook, so you can run targeted ad campaigns to promote your work or events.

        LinkedIn Tips
        1. Constantly update your CV. Maintain a list of business contact details. Use this list to build business connections, to find jobs, and as a research tool to find out about someone before you do business with them / employ them / start work for them.
        2. Do not spend too much time on this network. Other than making sure your profile is current, it is not the place to pitch your products or services. Do not post amusing pictures or irrelevant links. LinkedIn is about being professional. Do not share personal information.
        3. Join one or two LinkedIn groups in your industry, and start conversations there.

        If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join us for  The Complete Blogging and Social Media Course. Please send an email to news@writerswrite.co.za for details.

          Amanda Patterson 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 Media 101 - What is Tumblr?

          I have written about the importance of bloggingFacebookPinterest, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter in my Social Media 101 series. Today I am going to talk about Tumblr.

          What is Tumblr?

          Tumblr is a free user-friendly micro-blogging platform. It allows you to mix social networking and blogging in a single website. The platform lets you share original content in the form of text, links, quotes, music, and video content. It has a loyal user base and if people like your posts, they 'reblog' them. 

          Why is it important?

          There is a strong sense of community on Tumblr. It gives users the opportunity to show their personalities and give insights into their lives and businesses. The content format is ideal for sharing photographs from events, audio clips, videos of your working environment, and interviews. 

          How to set up a Tumblr account
          1. Set up a page for yourself or your brand by visiting Sign Up Tumblr.
          2. Tumblr will assign you a URL, but you can change it. Mine is amandaonwriting.tumblr.com
          3. Choose an avatar (your profile photo) and a theme for your Tumblr (there are around 200, many of which are free) and start tumbling. It really is that easy.
          How to use Tumblr
          1. Tumblr allows you to share seven different types of posts — links, conversations, photos, quotes, audio clips, videos and text-only blog posts. Find content you want to share. Go to your Tumblr dashboard and click on the appropriate icon for your type of post. Add anything extra you want. And blog it.
          2. Tumblr posts are longer than those found on Twitter, but shorter than a usual blog format. Use it to combine images, videos, or audio with text. 
          3. Reblogging other Tumblr profiles’ content is important in this community. If you share what you are interested in, others will reciprocate.
          Tumblr Tips
          1. This is a great platform if you or your business are associated with culture and the arts, including books, literature, and libraries. It also has a strong community following in history, education, medicine, and science. 
          2. Animated GIFs and pictures attract more attention than video and audio content. Spend time choosing great images - Tumblr has a visually driven audience. Make sure your pictures are cropped and adjusted if necessary.
          3. Tumblr demands that you post regular interesting content.
          4. Use hashtags to make sure your content is sorted into the correct categories. This allows it to show up in other user's searches and interests on Tumblr.
          5. You can choose whether or not you allow comments on your posts, which is a relief if you don't want to monitor everything you share.
          6. Always link to the original source of any third party content you post so the owner gets credit.
          7. If you want real engagement with your community, it's there for the taking.

          If you want to learn how to blog and write for social media, join us for  The Complete Blogging and Social Media Course. Please send an email to news@writerswrite.co.za for details.