Communication on social networks requires some additional skills and an adaptation of style. As social networks are interactive, they require a personal and engaging way of writing rather than a didactic and authoritative approach. Large organizations, but also SMEs, often struggle with these characteristics.
The tone of writing in social media, particularly in microblogging, is informal and conversational. when writing posts to Blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn or other websites and social networks, companies have to prepare to write responses to comments and reactions received.
First of all, these answers must be timely, because social networks are dynamic 24/7. Responding to a question or inquiry that is a week or even several days late is unacceptable. Organizations, mostly governmental, that have policies to respond to correspondence within a few days are forced to review their work practices in order to respond to this new reality.
Some companies and government organizations have communications staff monitoring these media on weekends. These team representatives have the authority to respond, or at least send an initial response (eg acknowledgment), even when more time is needed to prepare a detailed response or comment.
These answers must also respect the opinions of users, even when they disagree with them. Organizations and corporations need to remember that there are no “owners” of these platforms, or control mechanisms to intervene, remove or even prevent others from posting their unedited comments and opinions online.
Although some responses may be rude, aggressive or arrogant, positive and friendly participation can result in organizations joining the online conversation so that their opinions are known, communicate their views and build networks of trust and influence.
But not only texts and written content make up the online world. An abundance of digital media has the ability to include interactive features and include content other than text – in particular, semantically sophisticated content such as infographics, video, animations and sound.