Can Social Media Posts Really Show Empathy?

Last week Bruce asked the question, “can you be empathetic in Social Media”? It’s a great question, and I think lies at the heart of crafting a brand’s message, in all media but particularly in Social Media. I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

For me, the answer to whether you can show empathy in Social Media is “Yes, but it’s not easy”. With as few as 140 characters to work with in Twitter, or a single photo title in Instagram, there’s not much room for words. In fact, according to the pundits at Buffer, the perfect Tweet is 100 characters, and the perfect FB post is only 40 characters! So it’s really important to choose those words carefully. This (usually) means taking some time to think about what you want to say, and how you want to say it. And it’s equally, if not more important to take the extra time to think about how the quip will be received:  will it sound cavalier and not caring, or will you convey your connection with your audience? Here are some examples of corporate tweets that show some empathy, or at least some sense of direct connection with a customer:





However, translating theory to practice can be a challenge, and some of us need a “cook book” to help us get started. Several years ago editors David Shipley and Will Schwalbe
published Send, an easy to read book that analyzes the frequent mistakes it’s easy to make in the world of email, and provides How Tos for making it right. Now that we are used to email, and spending more time on social media, it’s time for a new book on saying what you mean, in short!

Courtney Seiter covered the topic very completely last year in her Marketing Land blog post — if you are interested in the topic it’s a good read.  More recently Greg Brian discussed empathy in a Yahoo blog and came up with some interesting suggestions.

Any other good tips about writing posts on Social Media that truly connect with your audience?

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