If I invited you over “for dinner” and you later realized I also wanted your help moving my furniture, this might not go over too well. Likewise, if I had a surprise blind date waiting for you. Clear, direct communication is most often preferred.
Consider the people whose emails, phone calls and visits you look forward to – and those you dread. What do the ones you dread have in common? Most likely, they are poor communicators who require a great deal of effort to comprehend, either initially, or with a lot of follow up. Concise, brief statements are appreciated more than ever in a world filled with 24 hour communication via a plethora of channels.
This is true, whether you are sending a direct mail piece, email, text message, tweet or updating a Facebook status on your page. Consider the same basic Who, What, When, Where, Why and How tenets and make a deliberate attempt to answer these questions as quickly and directly as possible. Also ask yourself if the message is necessary and relevant to your constituents.
Not only will constituents unsubscribe or withdraw from messages that are too frequent or too lengthy, but also when they feel they are being misled or taken for granted with a message that’s too impersonal, such as one that’s sent from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Often, fewer words are necessary when a succinct graphic is used to tell the story. Most people are visually responsive, and offering an enhancement that supports your text provides another means for them to process your message.
Not only should organizations invest further in social media overall for 2011, but when looking at the statistics of how similar Twitter and Facebook users are in their consumption, it makes sense to reach out to people where they are already spending their time.
Twitter in particular encourages brief, direct messaging. Crafting an effective tweet takes practice, but those who do it effectively end up with many loyal followers – precisely because they understand how to provide useful information in 140 characters.
Consider the following examples:
In each case, I’ve provided a short, informative headline (e.g., “Make Donating To Your Cause Easy & Meaningful”), followed by a hyperlink to the article (http://bit.ly/gL9Mfu) that elaborates on the topic. The rest of the tweet includes several relevant hashtags, or searchable terms, designated by the # symbol, so that anyone interested in finding tweets related to these topics will find my tweet – and article.
How would you summarize your latest newsletter, email, video, annual report, etc. in such a fashion, so that interested parties could search and locate it on Twitter?
Engaging in Twitter is not only a sound social media practice for your organization, but it will help your overall communication practices improve, as you become better at writing in a more condensed fashion in general.
Once this objective of writing relevant information into brief statements has become the standard, your organization’s communications – both internal and external – will be taken more seriously and seen as substantial when viewed, rather than tossed into the dread pile.
Keep the base of the pyramid strong