Social Media: nanosecond persuasion?

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The world of copywriting is all too often segmented into tight niches.  Long form copy.  Short form copy. Internet content.  Landing page specialist. B2B. B2C.  It seems that every activity that requires words being strung together has been designated as a copywriting ‘niche’.

In fact, most self employed writers I know do specialize to some extent, however, especially in today’s economy, often value is added by some generalization. When it comes to Social Media writing and persuasion, I believe it’s essential to be a skilled generalist who understands copy as well as marketing.

Being too much of a specialist can be detrimental as far as the value you offer is concerned.

I remember, years ago, being shocked to hear that the construction trade had a multitude of different specialist carpenters.  For instance, in the building of a staircase, I was told, one carpenter would specialize in building the underlying structure while another specialized in the treads and risers.  To me that seemed awfully odd.  To have a staircase built, I needed to employ two different carpenters?

A similar thing has developed in the field of professional writing.  With the advent of Social Media, blogging first became all the rage.  American Artists and Writers Institute began advertising blogging as a niche market.  Then Twitter become the thing.  It was beginning to look as if a writer who wanted to sell their services in Social Media, they had to specialize in just just one area.

Of course, that’s ridiculous and many writers simply adopted the entire Social Media gamut as a single niche.  However, to be successful as a writer for Social Media,  it is necessary to fully understand the nuances behind each of these platforms.

Being familiar with long form copy, short copy and autoresponder copy certainly helps a writer involved in Social Media, but, there’s another skill that’s equally important.  In fact, it’s probablymore important than good writing skills.

That skill is developed through a basic understanding of Social Media as a marketing tool.

The primary structure of many Social Media strategies is blog post to Facebook and Twitter. The blog post being the closest to the an old fashioned article and twitter being closest to  a text message.  Your blog followers will have an opportunity to read your entire post.  Your Twitter followers will only have perhaps a second or two to see your tweet, and perhaps only a split second longer to decide if they want to click on your tweet or not.

Understanding the different psychologies inherent in each different platform will help you become a more skillful persuader.

Each platform has its own uses and its own structure.  While you may understand that Twitter, for instance, allows 140 characters per tweet, it may not be clear as to how to best utilize these characters.

Your post is disseminated to Twitter via a service such as Twitterfeed – this will provide a title and a shortened url leading people to the post.  But… is that title dynamic enough to capture the nanosecond attention span of your followers?  In truth, the more active your followers and the more information they’re seeing popping up in their Twitter home page, the less likely that great headline is to be seen, never mind clicked on.

For instance, the headline in this post is: Social Media:  nanosecond persuasion?  may be fine for a blog post, but it will probably get missed in Twitter.  So here’s what I do to ensure that my tweets are more visible and more compelling.

Using a tweet scheduler, I shorten the url of the blog post and make some changes to the headline.  In this instance I may develop some headlines such as “How to use nanosecond persuasion” or “How to get your tweets clicked”

I then line up several tweets with different headlines and set them to be posted at specific time frames.

In this way, I increase the chances that my followers are going to see my tweets as well as increasing the chances that at least one of my headlines peaks their curiosity enough to click through to the blog post.

Nanosecond persuasion requires ultra short, powerfully intriguing and / or pertinent wording.  For instance, if a follower is using Twitter as a sales or lead generation tool, a tweet such as “How to use Twitter to generate leads faster” is more likely to get attention than “Use Twitter as part of your marketing campaign.”

The skills involved in writing tweets approximate the skills required for writing headlines.

The skills required for writing blog posts approximate the skills required for writing teaser articles.

The skills to put your entire Social Media strategy into top gear approximate the skills of a consumate marketer and sales person who understands how it all fits together into a seamless sales funnel.

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