Corporate communications + Public Relations Adelaide


May 2013

Dig down and get specific with your social media posts

Creating good content to share on social media can be hard work.

So it’s no surprise that sometimes we’ll take the easy route and fall back on sharing vague posts about our work and ask followers to click a link to find out more.

The danger in sharing vague posts is that your content can become bland and fail to demonstrate relevance to your online community – and they won’t engage with it. Any meaningful online relationship you have will disappear in a veil of vanilla.

I’ve been noting a few examples over the past month, in particular on brand Facebook pages. So today’s blog is focused on encouraging page managers to dig deeper when sharing stories and be more specific. Share details. Tell us what you really mean. Illustrate your point.

Prakky shovel
This is an image of a shovel to help you remember that I’m encouraging you to ‘dig deeper’ with your social media content.

Here’s where I get specific with some examples:

“Our new magazine is out now”

That’s a post I regularly see on a few Facebook pages. Businesses tell fans that their latest magazine has been printed.

Wow. Great.

Rather than simply say the magazine is out now, dig deeper and be specific about the articles inside. Over several days, share the headlines of the most interesting articles and snippets of what those articles are about. Remind people about the regular segments of that magazine. Let them know who’s an author in this edition and write a little about that author – what makes them interesting or qualified to write about their subject?

People are on Facebook to access your content now: if you must refer them to a magazine, at least make the transition easier for them by giving them details on what they can read there and why they should make the effort.

“Don’t miss our guided walks”

A city institution sometimes shares a vague status update about guided walks with a link to its website, along the lines of “we offer guided walks”.

I’d recommend that the Facebook page manager digs deeper and shares photographs of some of the sites on the tour. What can people expect to see?

Who’s leading the tour? What sort of knowledge and experience do they have? What have other people said about the tour? I’d like to see them dig deeper, bring the tour to life, and use specific calls to action (ask people to book now or Share the tour idea with their Facebook friends). 

“It’s National Volunteers Week. We’d like to thank our volunteers.”

That’s nice.

Thank them for what?

Who are they and what do they do?

It was National Volunteers Week last week and I saw a few Facebook pages share this type of post, sadly missing an opportunity to dig deeper and be more specific about their volunteers.

I would’ve liked to see stories about:

  • What work the volunteers carry out
  • What the impact of volunteers is: what would life be like without them around the organisation?
  • Stories of individual volunteers: how long have they been helping out? What’s their name and life story? What motivates them? What is their favourite part of volunteering? What would they say to others thinking about volunteering?
  • Whether the organisation needs more volunteers and how their social media fans/followers can sign up.

And of course, photos of (willing) volunteers at work or being thanked – with cakes or parties – would have been wonderful. As a volunteer, how would it make you feel if you were thanked with one vague sentence? It’s not ideal.

Another Prakky shovel
Here’s another shovel. Dig deeper with your social media content. And occasionally share naff photos if they’re all you have.

“Don’t miss out on our amazing Mother’s Day sale”

A jewellery chain’s Facebook page makes vague references to Mother’s Day. There are “don’t forget Mother’s Day is coming” and “Come to see us to find that perfect gift” status updates.

It’s vastly more useful if they would share information that digs deeper. Jewellery is an ideal product to showcase in photographs with detailed descriptions and also modelled on someone who appeals to the target audience. Share photographs of those new necklaces, bracelets and earrings: show how they drape on a model.

I’d like to see detailed status updates with information on what the jewellery is made from, what some stones symbolise, what some stone cuts mean, and so on. How special are the pieces and how impressed might your Mum be?

A lot of people lean on social media for detailed recommendations and help: don’t make them work for it. Tell them now!

I’m sure I’m guilty of sharing vague updates on my Facebook business page. I’m trying to beat the temptation by sharing detailed social media tips, ‘how to’ relating to the major social sites, and details of my services and what I’m doing currently.

I’m going to try to dig deeper and spend a few more minutes thoughtfully crafting my social media posts. How about you?

I provide organisations with social media strategies. I also provide social media training to organisations, staff teams and individuals. Email to ask me for a quote for your next training day or conference, or to start planning an improved approach to your social media communities.

Students on Instagram at exam time

I was interviewed for a story on Adelaide’s Channel 7 News last night (thanks Roscoe Whalan):

The story revolved around some South Australian students sitting their NAPLAN (National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy) test yesterday who shared #naplan images on Instagram. These ranged from pre-exam selfies to images of the exam papers. Students had captions where they bemoaned sitting exams … to put it mildly.

Lots of the children appeared to be of primary school age. NAPLAN tests are run for students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9.

Prakky on 7 News Adelaide
Prakky on 7 News Adelaide

Most of the students no doubt shared the images as a form of solidarity, to alleviate some exam stress, and also to enjoy a sense that they’re not alone in how they feel about the NAPLAN. I think that’s a sensational use of social media, and a big reason for why social media has thrived – that sense that we can build community and rely on online friends.

It is surprising however that students were able to have smartphones in the exam rooms and snap images of the papers.

Young people enjoy sites like Instagram and Tumblr, where image sharing and reblogging is quick and easy.

I think it’d be terrific if the education sector could look at doing positive things with this such as participating in the #naplan Instagram stream itself. It could share quick study tips or reminders (being mindful of course of the culture and language that resonates with students).

What do you think?

What if your parents had used social media?

Have you ever wondered: what if your parents had had social media?

What types of things might they have shared? And would you have wanted to read it?

My parents were born in 1950 and met while they were teenagers; my mother gave birth to me three days before her 20th birthday. All I have now of their early history are the black and white photographs they’ve roughly divided between them since divorcing when I was in primary school, and some sketchy affectionate and wistful stories my mother occasionally shares.

I know, from their photographs, that they were good looking and not afraid to pose for the camera. Sadly there are no letters, postcards, newspaper clippings or diaries to tell their history. If social media had been around then – or something similar to nudge people toward recording their daily lives – I might have a better picture of the types of people they were and what they were going through.

To write this blog post, I’ll need to employ a lot of speculation. Based on my knowledge of my parents’ personalities, I think I can pretty safely say my parents would have used social media as follows:


Oh, there would have been plenty of selfies. You only have to look at the snaps of my father in his skinny jeans, wide-collared shirts and fat belts, with tousled blond hair, leaning against a wall, to know he would’ve been a big believer in sharing his good looks with a wider audience. My mother’s selfies might have been a little more coy, but I’ve no doubt she would have employed Instagram to capture her smouldering eyeliner, miniskirts and leather jacket.

Prakky's mother, 1970s
Prakky’s mother, 1970s


Now, this is where things get sticky. My mother might have posted  passive aggressive posts about their relationship, what time my father was getting home, how bored she was and how overbearing her Dutch mother-in-law was. Dad would be very much into the ‘like for a rate’ updates while a teen, but in his 20s I don’t think he would have been sharing many status updates. He might take part in Facebook groups about fast cars and Jimi Hendrix.


My mother would have shared tweets about wine o’clock and would have tried desperately to be tweeted by her favourite celebrities like John Lennon or Barry Gibb. My father – I don’t think he’d be a tweeter.

Tumblr and more

My father enjoyed painting when very young, and would no doubt have enjoyed following artists and creative communities and musicians’ blogs. He could have had a Tumblr to share art work or quote from writers; he might even have joined communities like Deviantart and Redbubble or shared his shipyard and wharf photographs on FlickR.

What does this all mean?

I’m leaving behind a wealth of content for my sons to delve into – provided it’s still available as a readable format, and they’re at all interested!

Prakky and brother of Prakky, 1970s
Prakky and brother of Prakky, 1970s

I tweet and use Instagram regularly and I’d be surprised if my sons have the patience or desire to read through them all. I also know that the sites and tools I’m using today may not exist in the future or be somehow inaccessible. If I’m very keen to use my social media content to document my life for future generations, I’ll download and archive it, leaving instructions for how to access the content after I die. There are services which help with this, which I’ve written about before in Deadly Serious About Social Media.

Many of us are documenting our lives and our children’s lives (which I’ve written about this previously in Who will remember the children.) I share photos of my sons and occasionally funny stories about something they’ve said, or status updates full of pride for their achievements. I try to keep these innocuous and non-embarrassing, but I don’t kid myself that my definition of embarrassing is the same as theirs. And my sons’ view of my social media stories relating to them will change over the years as they mature. I’m conscious that I’m documenting not just my own life, but theirs.

How about you?

Can you imagine being able to look back on your parents’ Facebook walls to see stories of their evolving relationship? How they felt about their own parents, school, the politics and events of their time? Imagine seeing online photographs of your progress while growing up? Those photos of you taking a bath in the kitchen sink, chewing on a teddy bear’s ear, or sleeping with long-lashed eyes closed peacefully? There’d be a lot to cherish and marvel over, but a lot that would mortify you and perhaps even cause you to shed a tear.

How about a personal blog, or tweets  about their daily lives? Instagram photos of their meals?

Do you wish your parents had had social media?

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