What happens when you send two bazaar writers to a writing workshop? Well, first of all, you can expect them to be a little offended (what are you trying to say, bosses?). Second of all, seeing that the subject matter of said workshop is entitled “Creative Writing: Social Media Workshop,” one particular bazaarite who usually handles social media text each month felt a little perplexed as to why she was requested to attend this workshop.
When we walked into the studio, we didn’t quite know what to expect. We were greeted by two extremely experienced and respected writers in the industry: Liane Al Ghusain, whose seven years of professional experience boast skills in creative writing, and Wakim Zeidan who boasts an impressive 19 years working in advertising and copywriting, and is one of the original founders of the Nuqat initiative. With each instructor’s respective resume alone, we knew we were in good hands.
Our first activity was to think of a specific audience member we would be trying to reach in our social media writing, and define them by age, geographic location, language, good and bad habits, taste in clothes, food, music and books, catchphrases, preferred weekend activities and frequently used emojis. I chose my sister, who is in her early 30s, because that’s the person I spend the most time with. To my surprise, the other three ladies sitting at my table chose similar candidates, so we knew that we had a common market to work with.
Keeping our audience members in mind, we then moved on to a discussion led by Liane and Wakim who walked us through the different styles of reaching people via social media. Are we more prone to approach people with news and information? Or perhaps we’re into statistics, tips and research. I realized that my personal style is humor, rhetorical and community questions and shout-outs, being sure to ask my audience members a funny question while shouting out X person, entity or company who directed me toward the product in the first place.
We then used that information to engage in our first group activity, where we were to choose one of the six products placed on our table to market onto the workshop’s private Instagram account: a set of prayer beads, a pregnancy test, a little box of press-on nails, a roll of toilet paper, Post-Its, and a playful bunch of lollipops by Sugar Bee. I chose the prayer beads, instantly thinking of a great way to market them, and captioned my photo “When are you going to stop praying for your life to fall into place?” followed by details of a fictional women’s empowerment seminar to take place within the next couple of days. Once everyone’s shots were posted, we took to the large projector set up at the front of the classroom to “like” and critique each person’s respective post. It was so interesting to see all these different approaches by different professionals in various fields. Especially how each person chose to target their audience in a creative, whimsical or informative fashion. My personal favorite example was one that certainly caught my attention: a boomerang clip of press-on nail adorned hands with a caption reading (To the tune of Drake’s “Hotline Bling”) “You used to call me at the #salon, late night when you want to see my #fringed Iris 3D #art #nails,” with relevant hashtags following the statement. Definitely got a like from me!
I also learned that hashtags, tone and location are super important components to consider when reaching an audience. I always tend to forget about the location bit, but did you know that it’s probably the most vital? When selecting the location, don’t base it on where you currently are situated while posting, but where you want your followers to go to, or where you want to reach them. Lesson learned, and well played, Liane and Wakim!
We concluded the workshop with a fun opportunity to brand ourselves for the rest of our classmates to see. The assignment was to take a selfie, caption it how we saw fit to make us stand out, and make sure to mention something that we want to be known for, or something we want to make known. Since I am personally the worst at taking selfies, I opted for the main characteristic people know me for: my tattoo of Palestine’s outline etched onto my inner forearm. I then captioned it with a simple yet effective self-made slogan to let them know all the most important aspects of this bazaarite’s being: individuality, uniqueness, the freedom to express with my voice as a writer, and the great entity I work for that has given me the opportunity to release that voice. It works, and most importantly, I liked it (And others did, too)!
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For more information about Studio Nuqat and to register for their workshops, visit www.nuqat.me, email [email protected] or call 2227 9325. You can follow them on Instagram @Nuqat and Facebook: NuqatME.