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Social Media Essentials

Writing for Social Media Instructor Scott Ramsey stands in front of a dark fence

Three tips from an early adopter

Do you remember a time before Facebook and Twitter? Scott Ramsey does. Often an early adopter of new technology, he began using Myspace when it was the place to connect. At that time, Ramsey, principal of Groundwork Communications, was working with a lot of young people and found Myspace a helpful tool to engage with them.

“Human connection and communication has always interested me,” says Ramsey, who instructs the University of Minnesota’s Writing for Social Media course. “The shifts in technology that facilitate it and alter it were a natural draw for me. In the early days, social media was truly about keeping in touch with people who were or had fairly recently been in your active social circles. It has become an important venue for self-expression and projecting a sense of identity and, of course, a powerful marketing tool for organizations of all stripes.”

A self-described jack-of-all-trades, Ramsey applies his extensive experience in journalism, art, design, and film to help organizations “bridge the gap” between design and broader communications strategies. “These days, I advise clients on their social media usage and help them figure out how to establish or enhance their presence on different platforms.” 

Ramsey says Writing for Social Media is a practical course for people actively writing posts and sharing content. “Course participants will practice writing posts and not just talk about them. We’ll talk about writing in the context of visual platforms, such as Instagram. I’ll ask participants to critically consider how to engage in healthy and productive work and how to represent their organizations as we do that work. It will be an active experience and learners will walk away with usable, practical tools and frameworks to better manage and plan their social media messages. ”

For anyone who’s just getting started using social media as a promotional tool, Ramsey shared three tips for optimal connection with their audience.

1. Use active language. “Active verbs and descriptive language are more personal and engaging.”

2. Establish a relationship by humanizing the message. “Your posts should feel like they’re coming from a real person rather than a disembodied voice.”

3. Support the message with compelling visual content. “Complementary images can help communicate the story or idea.”

“We live in a time when social media has so much power and influence,” says Ramsey. “It’s an important part of the dialogue in the world and how we relate—or fail to relate—to each other. My goal is to help people and organizations relate in a positive and productive way.”

Check out Writing for Social Media and related courses on the Communications Certificate website.