Peter Shankman, entrepreneur/Vocus small business evangelist and founder of Help A Reporter Out (HARO), built his presentation at the Social Media Strategies Summit around the four rules he used in social media to build HARO: transparency, relevance, brevity, and top of mind.

“Here’s the thing: You’re going to screw up,” Shankman said, which is why organisations must be transparent in their social media communication. Admit mistakes and fix them; don’t pretend they don’t happen.

The immediacy of social media means more and more people are consuming their news as it happens, but it’s always important to ask your audience how they want to receive their information. “If you deliver it in the way they want, they become invested in your company,” he said. 

Brevity is also important in delivering a message through social media. The average adult attention span is 2.8 seconds, which is roughly the amount of time it takes to read 140 characters or a headline. Therefore, good writing is essential. “We’ve become a nation of headline readers,” Shankman said. “Good writing is brevity. Good...

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