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Social with a KISS: Keep it short, stupid

3 min read

Brands & Campaigns

I wish my mom knew how to text. If she did, we could avoid the 20-minute conversation in which she details every minute since our last chat and jump right to her request to come by and fix her “broken” computer.

For better or for worse, quick and to the point is what everyone is after these days. Blame it on SMS, Twitter or the sheer volume of information we are supposed to digest and act on, but today’s consumer is best served by providers of concise quality. That’s why SmartBrief, now 11 years old, is as relevant as ever to busy professionals looking for a briefing on the news that matters to them in their industry.

Quick is in, and marketers should take note. The KISS principle, meaning “keep it simple, stupid,” is something that all of us can learn and act on every day. But in our 140-character world, let’s adjust and go with “keep it short, stupid.” I won’t pretend to be the first to use this acronym, but I’d like to apply to it to social-media marketing practices.

  • Your headline is only good as its tweet: Can you get your point across in 140 characters? Good, now remove at least 15 characters for the URL. Then, if you plan on getting anyone to retweet, get rid of another 15. And what if someone else retweets that retweet? Remove another 15 or so. You get the point. Oh yeah, and Digg’s headline character limit is only 60 characters.
  • Turn your blog post upside down: Take a glance at most of the blog posts you come across and you’ll note the formula. Start with a personal anecdote (see above), transition, then to the meat of the story. While long-form content still has a place, if your customers are likely on a mission to gather information or data, direct is the way to go.
  • Video clips, not films: YouTube recently increased its time limit to 15 minutes. Good news if you’re a filmmaker. Bad news for overzealous marketers. If you’re using online video to market products via a presentation or demo, keeping it short is more than suggested. If you must go longer than four or five  minutes, help out your audience with some tips of where (i.e. product features at 2:45) you’re hiding the goodies. They might miss your fancy intro, but they’ll get right to what to matters to them, and to you.
  • Keep your Facebook updates focused: If you’re like me, you scroll through Facebook updates, bypassing the lengthy ones. Maybe it’s because you know it’s just another political rant or a long-winded take on last night’s “Real Housewives of Des Moines.” Rather than trying to fit all of your announcements and special offers into one update, spread it out and keep it direct with one message in mind.
  • Word of mouth travels farther with fewer words:  Like Twitter, old-fashioned word of mouth can be affected by length. If you can communicate a concise message to your “talkers,” chances are they’ll be able to pass it along easily. Throw a complicated paragraph at your fans and they might digest the information, but it’ll most likely stop there. A short message is easily remembered, passed along — and has far greater potential.

Are you even still reading this? If so, let us know in the comments how you keep your social-media marketing concise. And, of course, keep it short … sir.

Image credit: flavijus, via iStockphoto