By C. Jai Ferry
I’ve spent the last week studying copywriting to create advertisements. To say that my eyes are glazed and my brain is mush is an understatement, but one of the big takeaways for me has been congruence.
When a social media follower (who is hopefully also a reader) sees one of our blog headlines or titles that intrigues them, they will click to read more. If the information at the other end of the link meets (or exceeds) their expectations, the information is congruent with the “teaser” in your headline or title.
But if the link leads to information that is unexpected, the congruency fails and the trust is broken between the reader and the writer. For example, if our fearless leader published a blog post entitled “Unicorns are real and I have proof!” but then the entire post talks about walking along northern beaches and never once mentions unicorns, the reader will feel confused or even let down. If this happens too often, the reader will stop reading the writer’s works.
Congruency between titles and articles (or blurbs and novels) is vital for building a relationship with our readers. It’s also critical for maintaining our lines of communication via social networks. If a reader wants to share content from your website on social media using the sharing buttons on your website, they expect the message produced by those buttons to include your Twitter handle (or other social media connection). Not seeing that information can create incongruence. If you are not taking the time to ensure that your sharing buttons are set up correctly, then they might question whether they should be sharing the information for you.
Here are some key points to consider:
- Include all your public social media accounts on your website/blog. Make the information readily apparent. If a reader has to search for ways to connect with you, you may be losing an important opportunity to ensure the creation of a lifelong supporter. Most website-building programs include simple ways to include social media buttons, and most visitors to your site will be comfortable using these.
- Ensure that all sharing buttons for website content are linked to your social media accounts. If someone wants to share one of your blog posts with their friends (i.e., if someone wants to promote your work for free!), you should make sure that the simple sharing buttons on your website include your account information so that the next reader can easily connect to your website and read the content firsthand. This also tags you on your own social media so you know when your content is being shared. When a visitor uses these sharing buttons, they end up retweeting a link to your content followed by “via @[your Twitter handle].” If you do not connect your social media to these sharing buttons, you instead see, for example, “via @wordpress.” For WordPress users, Carrot Ranch-hand Norah Colvin provides a clear overview of how to ensure that your sharing buttons are connected. (Please note that if you use Jetpack, you might need to access the Jetpack settings from your dashboard and then go to the sharing menu to follow the same steps as what Norah outlines.)
- If you would like to go one step further, you can embed your Twitter feed into your website so visitors can see what kinds of tweets you are sharing. This can be a powerful way to create new connections. To learn more, read this overview of embedding Twitter on your website.
As we discussed in January, content rules on Twitter, but interactions are important too. Therefore, this month we will once again create meaningful content, but we will also interact with others. So here is your mission (if you choose to accept it):
- Make sure your website sharing buttons are connected to your Twitter account (as outlined in #1 and #2 above).
- Write a 200-word story (give or take on the words) incorporating the theme of congruency. Post it on your website/blog.
- Click on your sharing buttons to verify that you see “via @[your Twitter handle]” at the end of the pre-populated message to be tweeted.
- Go to Twitter. Tweet a “teaser” line from your story and include a link back to your website/blog. Include the hashtag #Twitterflash.
- Search for #Twitterflash on Twitter to see what teasers others are sharing.
- When you find a teaser that entices you to read more, comment on the tweet. Your comment can be a word or two to show your curiosity or even an emoji. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.
- Visit a few #Twitterflash participants’ websites/blogs and, when you read a story you think your Twitter followers might like, click the sharing button to tweet about it. (Not all websites include sharing buttons. If you like a story without sharing buttons, compose your own tweet and tag the writer in your tweet. For example: “I can’t believe that word wrangler @Charli_Mills claims that unicorns exist, but she convinced me!”)
- Bonus points: If you see teasers that you think your Twitter followers might enjoy, use Twitter’s retweet function. You can add your own comment to your retweet if you want or simply retweet it.
- On February 23, come back to the Carrot Ranch and share your teaser plus your favorite tweet comment (made on yours or one you see on someone else’s tweet).
Ready? Set… GO!
C. Jai Ferry is a flash fiction freak, human trafficking warrior, and Master Ninja at novellaninjas.com, an online space promoting published short stories and novellas to readers. Her titles include Unraveled, a collection of microfiction and flash fiction stories, and “Skeleton Dance,” 2014 winner of the Vermillion Literary Project Short Story Contest, which was turned into a film and included in the 2016 Nebraska Noir collection. She tweets from @CJaiFerry
Carrot Ranch’s Twitterflash 2018 is a monthly challenge focused on expanding writers’ use of Twitter as a tool for writing. Throughout the year, writers will experiment with storytelling via tweets using the following areas of focus (in no particular order):
- Visual Aids
- Multiple tweets
Have an area you’d like included in this year’s Twitterflash project? Drop me a line.