Writing catchy, fun, simple Facebook updates for a company. How?!
January 30, 2013 12:52 PM   Subscribe

I have just become the person In Charge of Facebook for my small company. Last week I sat down and wrote some Facebook posts that my boss thought were "too cheesy." I agreed with him. They totally were. I am a social media lover- I have a tumblr, a Facebook, etc. I know when people try too hard and used to work for a government official who Did Not Get Facebook and so I know what definitely doesn't work. I've just never been in charge of writing one.

We make one simple product and it's one of those things that is easy to talk about on Facebook because people love our product, but we just haven't had much of a Facebook presence because no one has ever really cared about it sitting down and doing it.

That all being said- how do I get better at writing Facebook statuses and coming up with ideas for new statuses. I get the gist of doing giveaways, candid photos, being conversational. This post from last week had great ideas but I'm looking for actual writing status advice.

A friend recommended I register for some newsletters like Ragan and Commpro. Are there others geared toward social media writing that I should be aware of? I am now friends with some big brands to get ideas from them. I'm already friends with all of our competitors on Facebooks but they aren't great examples of what to do.

How else can I stand out from the crowd? I think I am a generally witty person, and just want to bring that to Facebook without "trying to hard." How do you approach writing Facebook statuses for your company without looking like I'm trying to hard, or being cheesy.

Thanks in advance for any advice, tips, resources.
posted by timpanogos to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
I would suggest starting by focusing on the quantity of output rather than the quality. The classic example is the pottery class.

Write out a list of 100 possible status updates. (100 is just a suggestion, but I think 50 is the lower bound, and you could go higher. 250? 500?) As you write, don't worry about anything but hitting your magic number. Don't judge the quality. Don't even think about the stuff you've already written down -- just keep focusing on writing down something new to hit your magic number.

Once you're done, go home and sleep and come back to look at your 100 drafts the next morning. If you write enough of them, eventually you'll start to lose your self-consciousness about the process and start coming up with the good stuff.
posted by pie ninja at 1:10 PM on January 30, 2013 [11 favorites]

10 words or less is the rule.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:23 PM on January 30, 2013

Oh, yeah, use photos - FB says photos have far greater "reach" than any other kind of post or status update.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:24 PM on January 30, 2013 [6 favorites]

Consider if witty and fun is something you really need to go for? I mean, it all depends on your audience, but honestly none of the companies whose feeds I read really take that tone, plus a lot of that tends to get lost on a general audience, and it's stressful to hold yourself to that bar for something like a Facebook update. Can you aim for "interesting" or "helpful" or "relevant" or "thought-provoking" instead? Alternatively, do you have an example of a company you think does this kind of feed really well so we can get a sense of how you're trying to write?
posted by phoenixy at 1:28 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

When I need to write ultra-brief copy, I use a Sharpie. It sounds ridiculous, but something about seeing the words in big fat letters helps me keep my messages short.

confidential to your boss: "That's cheesy" is not constructive criticism.
posted by roger ackroyd at 1:48 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

>I am now friends with some big brands to get ideas from them.

It's been mentioned that the HP Facebook page is a great place to look for FB best practices.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:25 PM on January 30, 2013

This is the kind of thing that it might be better to have 2 people on...its often MUCH easier to see whats wrong with someone else's ideas and how to fix them than it is to come up with great ones on your own...talk to your boss about splitting the time with someone else...you each write posts, but the other 'punches them up' before posting them. Its at least an idea worth experimenting with for a week or two.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:34 PM on January 30, 2013

Oh, yeah, use photos - FB says photos have far greater "reach" than any other kind of post or status update.

Yeah, I do social media for a music website. Post about a new tour by Gotye: 10 likes. Post some silly Gotye meme: 100 likes, plus shares. Doesn't matter how stupid the meme is, either. It could just be text saying "Music calms my soul". People will Like it.

Why not ask questions? Like if its a food, 'What's your favorite place to eat [OUR PRODUCT]?'
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:42 PM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

I help manage a page with about 1000 members or Likes, and one thing that works really well for engagement is just asking questions - what are your top 3 memories, places to stay, things to do...

Of course, you need to build an active audience first.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:43 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

My relatively new to facebook marketing advice follows:

Remember that Facebook is the long game, not the short game. A post is not just an ad, and sometimes putting something friendly or useful or interesting out there isn't going to receive the likes and responses you'd hoped--but followers may still be enjoying it! You're building good will by expressing your brands "personality" (= marketing speak for posting cool stuff and not being a weirdo).

Also recent rules changes mean that your posts aren't being seen by a bunch of your followers. You can offset this by buying a very low number of Facebook promoted posts per week if you have the budget. You can target them right at people who already Like your page--it sort of sucks to have to give Zuck money, but it's not too inorganic and does help boost numbers.

Depending on what your brand is, you can curate related brands content, or news from media sources that people who like your brand might be interested in. So for example, Nike should be re-posting sports news and or, say, a contest by a related brand like Gatorade. As long as it is related, not very controversial, and cool, post it up, with a question if you want. (Not too many times a day though--facebook feeds, unlike twitter, can become clogged--try 3-5x a day or so, concentrating on when your target audience is eating lunch, or getting home from work.)

Finally always include photos. Pretty much every single time, unless you utterly cannot find an applicable image of some kind.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:45 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh and it's not part of the question, but if you need to build Likes consider a Facebook Badge on your homepage. It worked for us.

Can you giveaways or competitions? Those are always good for engagement.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:46 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you already have real fans of your product, "insider" photos can go really far. Even if it's just a photo of one of your coworkers doing anything related to the product. Or anything else that's "behind the scenes."

Be funny. Redo a standard joke/comic that integrates your product somehow with some basic Photoshopping.

Be timely. Reference the next upcoming yearly holiday or company event. If your product is Bisquick, find out what day of the year National Pancake Day is and celebrate it hard.

Set up Google Alerts for every mention of your brand and respond to/share any good publicity you come across.
posted by dede at 4:19 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

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