How to write for online - Small business consultant

How to write for online

The key to social media is being social

Have you been following the expanded series on ‘how to write for online so you don’t look like an utter Noob‘? So here is your business checklist so far:
– you have a plan for the coming 6-12 months
– you know who your ideal customer is
– you have detailed your business mission & vision
– you have worked out what terms you will use (your style guide); so

Guess what, now you are ready to write for your customers. What? You’ve been doing it for a while? Good for you, now step back and consider this:
– Do you know where your ideal customer hangs out online?
– Do you know how they use the various social media platforms?

Unless you are lucky enough to fall into your definition of your ideal client, do NOT assume that they use social media the same way you do and do NOT assume that they want to either.


Let’s start with your website, Etsy page, Made It page etc. While I’m not going to tell you how to set these up, because they all differ, what I will say is this: whose need is it meeting? Don’t laugh, because the vast majority of websites I edit or visit are written for the owner’s benefit, or worse they are written in industry terms making them written for your competitors!

Consider the product categories, descriptions, and tags. Are they words you use to describe your products or services, or are they words that your customer would use? Go back to your definition of your ideal customer, their needs and where they crossed with your mission and vision. Now, are there words there that you can use in your description etc.? Why is that important? If you can:
– make it easy for your customers to find
– show them that you understand where they are coming from, then
– you will boost your sales.

Let’s face it we like to feel that we are understood, that our needs are important and are being met, and that we matter.

Do you blog? If you don’t and have the ability to add it to your site then I highly recommend it. Why? There are many reasons, but my favourite is to educate. But I reiterate, you need to blog for your customer (if you are running it on your website); that does not mean that all of the posts have to be about your products, in fact blogging about their other pain points can help to build a relationship (very important in building buyer confidence). Read more about the importance of blogging in my previous post (make sure you come back here though).

Before you read on, consider this:

Not all social media is created equal.
Social Media is there to be social.

Tweet this

Now read them again, consider where your ideal customer is on the chart above and then read the following points about the major social media sites.

Now I generally say not to post the same thing across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The thing is, most of us don’t have a lot of time and it is convenient for us as business owners. But, are we our customer? No! I’m not saying don’t do it at all, but as a customer I beg you, DON’T DO IT ALL THE TIME. Seriously, if you find it difficult then use the scheduling function available in Facebook or on your social media scheduler. By all means schedule the same post over different days at different times to ensure you have grabbed your customer where they are hanging out. Otherwise, give us some credit that we will see that you have posted the same thing in 2-3 locations, where we follow you because we love you, and we will wonder just how much you value us as individuals. Don’t believe me, consider how you feel when you hear mainstream radio play the latest hit over and over and over again, get sick of it & want to hear something different?

Time spent on social media


This has to be the World’s favourite social media platform and is most certainly where the vast majority of small businesses start out.

I have written time and again on Facebook. I have written what-not-to-dos, I have written about their research on emotions and its influence on action, I have recently written on the algorithm; what I want to you to know is this: people use it differently to Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and SnapChat. Huh? Look again at the image above, it shows you that they do.

Facebook is the king of social media and if there is one thing I want you to take away and implement is the fact that you need to be social. Sure, you need to be professional too, but go back and look at your ideal customer’s pain points and start there. No one likes to be continuously sold to, especially since we are all becoming desensitised to the hard sell, so be sociable. Chat, share, love, cry, solve, and chat. Facebook is really, next to your website, the other showroom to your business – consider how you like to be greeted and treated when you are in a shop.

Twitter & Instagram

Twitter, this is a great place to develop your network and share information about your business. Because you need to be brief make use of a URL shortening service, some websites have their own, when linking to your site. Twitter users love to be recognised, so don’t neglect thanking and recognising follows and retweets.

Similarly, Instagram is a fabulous way to connect and network. Twitter & Instagram both have similar usage in the under 29s, which is considerably less than the over 30s. You should consider this in how and if you use these platforms.

The main thing you need to consider with Twitter & Instagram is that it is generally used on mobile devices and that content is not readily searchable (except via hashtags). The content also has a very short life, as your tweet or insta will quickly be replaced by someone else in your customer’s feed.


Pinterest deserves particular mention if your ideal customer is aged 30-44 as it is the only platform where they use the platform more than the younger group. Once again, consider where your ideal client hangs out and then hang out with them.

Pinterest is primarily used for people (especially women) who love to DIY, travel, interior design, beauty, and fashion. If your business has a product that is for children, fashion conscious, DIYers, or home improvers/interior design fans I would strongly suggest getting on to Pinterest. Not only is it a great way to advertise your products, it is a great way to find content for your other social media platforms, and provides valuable backlinks to your website.

Pinterest is a fabulous way to test and check what your ideal client likes. Consider their needs and pain points and establish boards that cater to them. From their gather pins and then use these pins on other platforms, in particular Facebook.

So, are you hanging out with your ideal customer? Are you meeting their needs depending on where they are? (Sharp and shiny for Insta/Twitter, informative for Pinterest, and social on Facebook) If not, go check them out, be cheeky and check out your competitors and see what they are doing or hang with those who you find inspirational. Above all, go be social!

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