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 By Jim Davis

In direct marketing, one to one communications, relationship management and retention and loyalty, Copy has always been King.

So it should be no surprise that now Social Media, Content is King. What is content but copy? It’s as simple as that.

Creatively, however, that’s tough.  There always have been stocks of photos and illustrations to choose from and the Internet coupled with digital photography has made images more available than ever.

While a picture may be worth a thousand words, it takes copy to evoke the desired action; to “close the deal”, whatever the deal is.

Copy, as content, can’t just be plucked from some site on the Internet and with the expectation that it will move the reader to action.  It requires the thoughtful, sometimes painful exercise of writing.

And guess what; Social Media require more writing than ever.

Back in the days of newspapers (remember those) the news wire service — United Press International and the Associated Press — used to say there was a “deadline every minute”.

That phrase — a deadline every minute —   translates exactly into Social Media.

Social media is content/copy hungry.

Social media is around the clock.

Social Media is ever changing

Social media discussions move forward, with or without you.

In direct mail marketing the rule was you had to interest your read in about 3.5 seconds.  The Internet probably gives you less time. While in a direct mail (even just an envelope) you could use graphics, photos, illustrations, typeface, windows, color and more in Social Media, words carry the load … often alone.

Consider Twitter where you have only 140 spaces to get your message across and yet the channel is being use with amazing results in some sectors.

Effectively used, Facebook can combine pictures with copy content for best effect.

Blog content is almost exclusive copy with now length or frequent restrictions.

Websites … well, websites are: static, difficult to manipulate, and expensive.  It is a channel where content is held captive by IT.

The fact is, unless you need e-commerce for transactions, web sites do now effectively address the needs of social media.

So what are the Rules of Engagement for content in Social Media?

Content must be:

  • Timely
  • Relevant
  • Continually Updated
  • Channel sensitive
  • Well crafted
  • Informative

The most important element may be an added factor: Discipline.

If you don’t have the discipline to join the discussion, contribute to it and ultimately lead it, Social Media may not be the place for you.

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Jim Davis is a partner in Make Me Social. Jim is a former Corporate Executive and Chief Customer Officer at Harte-Hanks Direct Marketing. Prior to his corporate assignments, Jim was a Principal in a successful Entrepreneurial Enterprise, a Bank Marketing Communications Director, Advertising Agency Executive and Professional Journalist. Become a Fan of Jim and connect with him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/delightcustomers