My career as a writer has shifted and evolved pleasantly through the years. Whereas, say, 12 years ago I was averaging nine articles a month for 12 different magazines (I still write for two fabulous ones), currently I’m writing more social media posts for companies in addition to website copy. I’ve been working with some fun companies, too – such as an RTD beverage company and some important ones in the medical field.

As with all my work, I bring my background in journalism to the tasks and I always start with those standards in mind. Often, I’m called on to be humorous, even “edgy” (though that’s always a moving target!). Whatever the client, whatever the tone, there are a few points I try to adhere to – and interestingly, the first one is based on my personal experience as a consumer.

  • Don’t just sell/promote. If a company does nothing but sell/promote themselves, instinctively I learn to glaze my eyes and scroll past their posts and eventually become immune to what their message is.
  • Make it personal. I’ve written hundreds of company profiles over the years, and I’m fascinated and inspired by owners’ passion for their business. And I know I’m not alone in being more likely to support and be loyal to a business/brand when I can connect with a person(s) behind it, so I always advise to work that person or persons into the narrative of social media posts when possible.
  • Meet the team. Related, I like to do “meet the team” posts where you get to learn a little about those working for the company. This is mostly just for your LinkedIn posts. It has the added benefit of appreciating your good people with that public shout-out.
  • Be the expert. Share interesting, educational articles related to what your business does. When I post a “ICYMI” article for a client, it almost always gets above-average attention. Related, if there’s a cartoon that somehow relates to your business, post that. This is the best way to stay on the radar of those you want to reach.
  • Have fun. Humor is the great uniter, and if you can poke fun at yourself occasionally, even better. I recently was doing work for a medical company whose products were used in wound care management. Serious stuff, I know, but for the week of Halloween, we had fun saying that they even worked should you have a run-in with a vampire.

This is all in addition to the other obvious best practices – always include a graphic, be concise, be consistent, etc. Oh, and one more tip: When launching your social media plan, for goodness’s sake make sure your employees know about it! Get everyone onboard to like, comment, and share the company’s posts. It is a small, free move that really raises your profile.

Ultimately, don’t forget the “social” part of social media.