14-003: Write for Different Platforms
Agency: Rocky Mountain Area IMT
Topic(s): Social Media Platform Specific Messaging
Date: Summer 2014
Platform(s): Press Release vs Twitter
Despite the message being essentially the same, every communications platform is different.
Speed is important, but correctly addressing your audience is critical in the world of public information.
On July 1, 2014, this tweet was posted on the Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team’s feed during the Eightmile Fire while deployed in Canon City, Colorado.
“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” In all caps? All caps use on social media portrays yelling. Professionals should portray calm/control.
Twitter’s social media platform premise is a fast microblog service focusing on immediate information. This templated press release lingo (FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) is not necessary. Every tweet is automatically time/date stamped including matching the recipients’ time zone. Do not waste your valuable 140 characters.
To me, this was a cut-and-paste action, or even worse yet, they just linked the agency’s Facebook and Twitter accounts together. No time was spent in addressing the various platforms used to push this valuable information. Remember, PIO actions on each platform in social media are not generic, they are specific. We talk about safety to kids differently than we inform adults on safety right? Likewise, we should address our audiences on social media accordingly to the platform they use.
A more effective tweet could have read:
“Updated information & stats on the #Eightmile Fire ongoing in Colorado can be found here fb.me/6KArLmgFr ”
By phrasing it this way:
- The tweet is shorter and more concise.
- Tweet identifies where the Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team is deployed.
- The main point of contact is identified on the Facebook link provided if more specific information is needed.
- Shorter messaging will allow your followers to retweet/repost and amplify your information.
- The use of hashtags will help audiences find information about the #Eightmile Fire and identify the Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team as a trusted source of information.
Know the differences in mainstream social media platforms because what will work on one old platform (press release) will NOT work on newer platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc…) Know social media and use their amenities to your advantage.
Time is valuable, so post good stuff.
***To download this as a single-page printable format, click this: WriteForDifferentPlatforms-Safety-PIO-SM-14-003