Do YOU Know the Most Retweeted Word is in the English Language?

Last week I sat down for a PRSA Webinar that discussed writing for social media with Ann Wylie from Wylie Communications. Although some PR pros are fortunate to have on-staff social media gurus, there are many of us left juggling social media accounts for clients, companies and not to mention ourselves.

According to Wylie, the latest statistic suggests that Americans are exposed to nearly 5,000 messages per day, which doesn’t factor in social media. In order to cut through all of that clutter, Wylie suggests we use the fraction of selection formula created by mid-century modernist, Wilbur Schramm.

“People don’t have time to process all of these message that they get everyday,” said Wylie. “Schramm’s model suggests that instead of processing information, people take the expectation of reward and divide it by effort required.”

That means that creating a higher expectation of reward and lowering the amount of effort that’s required are both strategies guaranteed to increase your readership.

To do this it’s important to analyze what’s important to readers. Wylie attributes what moves on social media to Chadwick Martin Bailey’s study, which suggests that there are three things that are shared most on social media platforms:

1.     Interesting/entertaining

2.     Funny

3.     Helpful

Although 80 percent of Twitter users write “me, now” posts, Wylie stresses the importance of being and informer and using the word “you,” which is the most retweeted word in the English language. YOU-formers versus ME-formers have three times as many followers because they rely on tip sheets, studies, lists and links to tell the reader how they can benefit from something.

Another suggestion that Wylie adds is to make your posts easy. Reading online takes 25 percent more time than in print. To make it easy, you should:

·      Cut your content back by 50 percent

·      Craft short paragraphs: 1-2 sentences max

·      Leave the though unfinished, particularly on Twitter, and link through.

·      Write at a 5th grade level, especially on Facebook

At the conclusion of the webinar, a fellow PRSA member asked the question that was probably on most of our minds: When is the best time to post?

Your answer – Friday and Saturday according to social media scientist, Dan Zarrella.