With the rise of 15-second video and 280 characters and vanishing messages and all the other brevities social media has brought into our lives, it’s no wonder marketers are always on the lookout for better ways to quickly communicate with their audiences.
And even if attention spans aren’t actually shrinking (as quickly as Microsoft once led us to believe), it’s still a good idea for brands to get to the point when it comes to content. Enter the growing trend (that’s technically been around since the dawn of social media) of microblogs — both a contradiction and solution all in one.
What Is a Microblog?
Don’t let the name fool you, there’s nothing small about microblogs — and you don’t even need a blog to participate. Microblogs are essentially long social posts.
The microblog can take many forms, but most common are threads on Twitter and posts that take advantage of the total character count allowed on Facebook (63,206), Instagram (2,200), and LinkedIn (700). For many brands, microblogs offer a whole new way to think about social shares because they’re longer than most updates, but briefer than a full blog post.
If you need that spark of inspiration, look no further than one of the OGs of the microblog, Humans of New York. This IG-based blog practically invented the micro format and is as authentic and true as it gets (the ultimate goal of all content), sharing engaging, human moments directly from the streets of NYC.
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“I vividly remember watching cartoons as a kid and seeing Bugs Bunny standing on a lily pad, playing ‘Hello My Darling,’ with a banjo in his hand and a drum on his back. I’ve always wanted to play music myself. But it’s so hard to make a living at it. For awhile I was playing the banjo in restaurants. But I couldn’t make it work. So I thought I’d try the Bugs Bunny thing.”
While your brand’s authentic self may not be as photogenic, it’s certainly worth sharing.
Why Should You Microblog?
While the full-fledged blog post has its purpose and can certainly be effective content (if we do say ourselves), pairing it with shorter, digestible content can extend the reach of your content even further.
On the flip side, in a landscape that thrives on brevity, adding some depth can help your social content stand out. Keep these best practices in mind as you consider adding the microblog to your content and social toolbox.
Don’t Overdo It
You may have more characters to work with on Instagram and unlimited tweets to thread together on Twitter, but you don’t have to use all of them. Remember, valuable content is always the goal. Keep your microblogging content tight and engaging. Say too much and your followers may lose interest and keep scrolling.
Singer-songwriter Patti Smith has certainly struck a chord with her microblogging. She uses Instagram as a poetic microblog that’s always on brand with her lyrical style no matter the character count.
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This is The Year of the Rat. Amidst the swirl of celebration, how do we interpret that? A new day, under a sign of the resilient survivor. Where do we begin? Shedding and sharing what is not needed, for less burdened the way is clearer and the limbs are faster. It’s a new year all over again, time for fortitude, time for a little laughter, time to reset the spirit,
Cisco also found a nice balance here by including just enough detail on its recent award to encourage followers to click through to the longer story on their site.
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The founders of CareNX saw a lack of basic maternal health care in remote parts of India and decided to do something about it. As the previous grand prize winners of Cisco’s Global Problem Solvers Challenge, the organization reaches 35,000 expectant mothers with their portable health monitoring kits. Click the link in bio to learn how Cisco’s Global Problem Solvers Challenge is helping organizations, like @carenxhealth, work on technology solutions to benefit the world.
T1 Tip: Microblogging can be a great addition to your SEO strategy when you include links to your site in your content.
Ditch the Ad Talk
The microblog is an opportunity to showcase your brand in a conversational, realistic way, so keep your messaging in mind — but don’t force it in where it’s going to make you sound like an ad.
Homeowners and renters insurance company Lemonade found that balance by highlighting team members and their experiences on LinkedIn. This glimpse into their company culture is short, simple, and oh so effective.
Remember the Bigger Picture
Experimentation is a constant with social media. Having said that, whether microblogging is a focused single post, an ongoing series, or a new style for your social, make sure to think through how it fits into your larger social and content strategies. Will this shift step on the toes of other content initiatives? Is it going to throw your followers for too much of a loop? Is microblogging something you should only do for specific occasions?
That’s not to say that you can only microblog for big announcements (a contradiction in itself), but do so with a plan. Ask questions, share tips, or even tell a story, but make sure it’s in a way that’s relevant and interesting to your audience and suited to the format.
For example, the potential impact of a well-placed microblog is huge as was the case of the epic Twitter thread sent by Disney+ a month ahead of its official launch.
It. Is. Time. From Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to The Mandalorian, check out basically everything coming to #DisneyPlus in the U.S. on November 12.
— Disney+ (@disneyplus) October 14, 2019
Keep It Social
Just because you’re changing up your content doesn’t mean you can forget all your other social best practices. Take full advantage of platform-specific features to boost organic reach. Leverage features like hashtags, visuals, video (maybe even live) to appeal to algorithms and boost your visibility. And stay consistent with your social voice (authenticity is always a winning strategy).
On Instagram, Stories is a great way to take full advantage of Instagram’s social features and amplify content in a less conventional way. Hello Sunshine (founded by Reese Witherspoon) does this with its weekly series “Female Founders Friday,” which features quick Q&As in a very visual setting complete with tags, hashtags, location markers and just the right amount of GIFs.
T1 Tip: Save your Story microblogs as Highlights on your account to get even more mileage from your microblogging.
With its short take on the blog and long take on social, the microblog has carved out its own unique corner of the content kingdom, creating a new (but familiar) space for brands to connect with key audiences. Companies that take advantage not only expand their social voice but the reach of content they’ve already invested time and resources in to achieve true content optimization.
This article originally appeared on the Tier One Partners blog; reprinted with permission.