Hiring a copywriter for your leaders or experts’ social media posts seems to fly in the face of the countless advice that stresses how important it is to be authentic on social media.
Yet for many years, busy leaders and experts have hired professionals to fine-tune their message- whether it’s ghost-writing speeches, drafting presentation slides, or ghost-writing employee magazine articles. Even the best TED Talk presenters have help crafting their message and delivery.
It’s one of the reasons that my switch from working as a Head of Communications to a Social Media Consultant has been quite seamless – it's simply an extension of that function that’s existed for many years. For me it’s a bit like a relay race – the leader comes with their thoughts and you take the baton from them and take it over the line.
Social media just changes the rules slightly. People expect to connect with a real person on the other end of a social media post.
Hiring a copywriter isn’t contradictory to building an authentic social media presence if you approach it with the right mindset – as a kickstart to help leaders embrace social media, fine-tune their message and build their confidence.
Here’s why you may need a social media kickstart and how to maximise its impact to help your leaders and experts build an authentic presence on social.
Why You May Need A Social Media Kickstart
Leaders are often too busy
CEOs, business owners and internal subject matter experts...Often, the very people who need to be active on social media are those that have the least time to do it themselves as they’re focused on delivery and growth. Once the trial and error process of what works for their audience is established, it’s much easier and quicker to maintain a social media presence.
There’s not always time to wait
Expectations are growing for leaders to be active on social media and the benefits are far-ranging:
- 70% of consumers feel it’s important for brands to take a stand on public issues (Sprout Social)
- Employees and financial readers expect a CEO to be active on social media (Brunswick Connected Leadership Report 2020)
- Leaders who are active on social media see a 5x increase in employee trust and a 9x increase financial readers’ trust (Brunswick Connected Leadership Report 2020)
Despite this, not every CEO is active – or at least, active enough on social media. In these times of heightened crisis and expectations, sometimes it’s better to have an initial helping hand.
Your Experts’ Expertise May Lie Elsewhere
Not all leaders, particularly those who have come through a technical path, are confident at written communications. A social media copywriter helps them to clarify and refine their message.
How To Maximise The Impact Of Your Social Media Copywriter
Provide A Tone Of Voice Brief
It’s good to ask the leader how they want to come across. Ask them to choose a few words related to their tone of voice e.g. is it friendly, down to earth, intelligent, warm? This can provide a useful starting point for the copywriter to explore further.
Tip: Here’s a useful list of tone of voice adjectives to help guide your experts and leaders: Neilson Norman Group: Tone of Voice Words
Insist On Interviews
Interviews are a great way to uncover an expert’s insights on a topic efficiently, especially if several social media posts or blogs are covered in one interview. Normally, a copywriter or agency will send questions and points of discussion in advance so that the conversation draws out the angle and the expert’s unique insights and personality.
Interviews can also be recorded to capture the expert’s tone of voice.
Tip: The interview should dive deeper and get the expert or leader’s personal insights, not cover basic issues that could have been covered with adequate research.
Another great way to quickly capture an expert’s insights and tone of voice is via video clips. They can often be a useful starting point for someone to fire off their thoughts on a topic, which can be followed up with further questions if needed.
Tip: Use video sharing tools to share and highlight the relevant parts of presentations or previous written material that experts may wish to expand on.
It’s much easier to write authentically for someone when there’s previous written material to draw upon such as previous articles, social media posts or even presentations.
Tip: Certain professions tend to be Plain English flouters more than others, where the passive voice and sentences full of jargon or acronyms not everyone understands run rampant. It’s best to share content samples that best reflect how you are when dealing with regular clients and prospects in real-life.
Ensure There Is A Handover
If you wish your experts to eventually write their own blogs and social media posts regularly, they will need to understand social media best practices and receive regular feedback to help fine-tune their approach to social media posting.
Tip: Ask your agency or copywriter what level of support they will provide your experts and leaders to help them become socially savvy instead of reliant on their services.
- Do they offer coaching?
- Will they share the data on what has – and hasn’t worked – and devise a bespoke social media posting plan?
With these steps, you can help ensure that your social media posts are as authentic as they can be. But as I said at the outset, social media requires a different level of authenticity than that found within the traditional Communications function. That’s why it’s essential that you find a social media consultant or agency whose long-term goal is to help your leaders and experts go solo on social media – and the expertise to help them achieve it.