Social media writing often mirrors more established media types, like the broad category of news media. Note that I'm using “news” in a very wide sense here.
A general interest newspaper like the New York Times or a magazine like the Economist might cover everything from hard news (a war, an earthquake, or a political development) to soft news (say, health and fitness articles based on new discoveries) to features (including profiles, trends pieces, interviews, etc.) to opinion pieces (editorials and op-ed pieces or essays).
And social media conducted on behalf of a company or organization also mimics some of the tools of public relations and corporate communications.
Of course, different social media platforms have also generated new ways of framing content; there is no “old media” analog, really, for Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.
Even so, thinking in terms of type or genre when you’re writing for social media can make your task easier – and can make your communication more effective.
When you know you’re writing a success story, for example, or a “listicle,” you have a ready-made model, in terms of structure, tone, and content, that can jumpstart your progress.
Every genre has its own conventions and norms, and once you start noticing these, you will quickly understand that writing a press release is fundamentally different from writing a user story for your company’s blog or a blog post about your industry for LinkedIn.
And what’s good for you is also good for readers. Readers are primed to accept the conventions of different genres whether they think consciously about them or not.
They’ll read a serious opinion piece differently from a product promotion story or a personality-driven feature. And they might not read it at all; they might know, or sense, that a particular genre isn’t going to be interesting to them, so they don’t bother. That is another reason why thinking about the genres your readers expect is so critical.