SocialToaster Tip – Creating Effective Status Updates

One of the most challenging aspects of using SocialToaster is determining what the text should be for your Ambassador status updates that you create for each piece of content that you are promoting.  Creating a status update is often daunting enough for an individual to figure out for themselves.  In fact, we often hear from our customers’ Ambassadors that it is too hard for them to figure out what to say, so they don’t say anything at all.  When you are the creator of the content and are trying to figure out status updates for a large audience of people it is that much more difficult.

Before attempting to create the status update you want to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Remember that your Ambassadors are sharing your content as a courtesy to your organization, and that it reflects personally on them.  As a result, you should never promote a status update that you yourself would not personally promote.
  2. Don’t forget that when an Ambassador approves something to be shared that it is going to be viewed entirely within Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or MySpace.  This means that you cannot assume that an Ambassador’s friends will not have any frame of reference for knowing what they are talking about, other than what is in the context of the update itself.  As a result, it is important that the status update be entirely self-contained.
  3. People generally don’t want to read ads, or anything that remotely sounds like SPAM.  They do like to read interesting content.  Try to tone down the self-promotion and focus on a key thought that you think might be interesting to your Ambassador and her associates.  Ultimately this means that the content you’re trying to promote should also be inherently interesting.
  4. Most importantly, try to make your status updates sound as natural as possible, like something that somebody would actually want to share with friends and colleagues.

We’ve learned a lot about creating status updates through research, client feedback, and plain-old trial-and-error.  Using the above thoughts as general guidelines, the following are specific pieces of advice for creating your own updates, based on our experience:

  1. People generally like to promote events that are fun and/or interesting, and people like to go to events.  If your organization participates in events that you post on your website, then these are great things to share.  When promoting an event, include the title of the event, the location, the date, and who is holding it.  For example: “Excited for the networking event next week Wednesday that SocialToaster is sponsoring in Baltimore.” (Note, this is an example, we’re not sponsoring an event next week, but certainly email us if you think we should!)
  2. When promoting an interesting article, blog, or whitepaper that you’ve published, try one of two approaches when creating the corresponding status update:
    1. If the title of the posting is descriptive enough, you can simply use the title of the status update.  This works best with general content that has a catchy title.  If the title requires a contextual understanding of the subject matter in order to know what it references, then you can slightly alter the title when creating the update in order to provide that context.  For example, that is what we did with this posting: “Tip from SocialToaster – creating status updates that people will want to share and read.”  The title of this posting alone doesn’t convey much meaning to somebody who doesn’t know what SocialToaster is, but by adding the “Tip from” and expanding the description a bit we are able to hint to the reader that SocialToaster must be some sort of company that has something to do with creating and sharing status updates.
    2. Alternatively, try to focus in on a key piece of information from your article that you think people will find interesting.  This can be a statistic or fact that is interesting, or it might be posed in the form of a question that your content addresses.  For example, we could have used this approach in promoting this article:
      • “Promoting events is a great way to drive traffic from a status update. This and other useful tips from SocialToaster.”
      • “How can you create a status update that people will want to share and that will drive traffic to your site?  SocialToaster provides some thoughts.”

      Each of these examples provides some context for what we are promoting, makes mention of our company, and hopefully sounds like something that somebody might actually say.

    3. If you are going to promote a sale or a contest that you might be having, you need to work particularly hard to make sure it doesn’t sound like SPAM or an ad.  Marketers are traditionally used to creating strong call-to-actions, but this does not translate well in a social sharing context.  Tone down the language as best you can, and present it from the perspective of your Ambassador: “SocialToaster is running a promotion to get people to try out their product, you can sign up for free and will get entered into a contest to win an Android tablet.”

We’d love to hear your feedback in terms of what types of status updates you find to be effective for your organization.  If you find that you’re struggling with creating your own updates, or with creating your content in general, keep in mind that we’re here to help!  Please contact us if you need some assistance!

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