The evolving nature of social media platforms makes it harder to find a voice that works in lockstep with your brand’s personality. It involves innumerable rounds of testing and failing to finally succeed at finding a voice that sticks and inspires action. By adopting a few basic writing tips to convey your message more appealingly, you can take your social media game up several notches.
Why Writing Attractively on Social Media Is Important
Social media is an extension of your brand. Anything you share or put out on social media reflects on who you are as a brand. Are you a bootstrapped and sustainable brand that sells divine-smelling candles? Or a longstanding company that has strengthened over the years and banks on the nostalgic appeal to move product? No matter where you are in your journey, you can adopt a style that resonates with your target audience while being faithful to your brand story and personality.
Social media writing has a formula to it that is exclusive to each platform. Facebook and Instagram reward long-form posts from individual homegrown creators, while it pays well to be quick-witted and snappy in less than 280 characters on Twitter. That’s why it’s important to have a dedicated social media writing strategy with enough fluidity to evolve and grow in the long run.
How to Nail Your Social Media Posts
Writing for social media takes time, effort, and creativity. And the ever-changing social platform algorithms don’t make it easier. However, these 10 actionable content writing tips will help you make your social media copy more appealing to get the attention of your target audience.
1. Do your research
People throng to social media platforms to gain a sense of community that has come to lacking in the real world. Brands aiming to build connections and bond with their audience will drive stronger engagement than those that exist on social media simply because it is the “call of the times”.
To hack this, you need to put the work into researching and understanding your audience. You can dip into the SEO arsenal which offers plenty of keyword research tools to demystify what your target customer is looking for in real-time.
What topics resonate with them most? When are they most likely to be online? Which city are they tuning in from?
Ask yourself the right questions to gather more insight about what your audience wants to learn more. Once you’ve amassed a list of themes that closely align with your brand identity, you can start developing content and social posts to either entertain or educate people.
2. Prioritize your audience
Most brands treat social media simply as a sales and promotion channel when it is so much more than that.
Don’t get it wrong.
Your brand remains the lifeblood of your marketing strategy, but the audience is who you should be putting at the heart of the story. Many brands do a phenomenal job of highlighting their customers in as few words as possible. Here, you can take a peek at the pre-loved clothing reselling app thredUP’s Twitter bio to see how it’s done.
3. Develop your brand voice
Popular business magazines will have you believe that adopting slang used by your audience is all the rage and you’ll be left behind if you don’t catch up quickly. That is so not the case entirely.
While it is important to “speak” to your audience in a language they understand, your brand needs to develop a voice that reflects its personality, mission, and values. The tone and emotion of the brand voice breathe through all your interactions online and offline.
Companies can take years to develop and fine-tune a brand voice that is authentic enough to remain true to its roots and fluid enough that evolves with its audience. You can save time by finding an inventive brand designer to fast-track the hit and trial process for you.
It needs to be consistent across all platforms you exist on and beyond: the comments left on the posts where your brand is tagged, replies to comments under your post, marketing emails, etc. The consistency helps solidify an emotional bond with your audience, which helps build trust and a sense of community.
4. Use the KISS rule
No matter the level of authenticity you are going in with, people don’t look to brands as purveyors of deeply meaningful content.
Put the KISS – keep it short and simple – rule into action.
If you want to promote a new blog, product, or sale, try to do it with no more than 40-50 words. Anything longer than that might result in engagement lower than the benchmark set at 0.18% for 2020 on Facebook.
Use compelling visuals such as videos, infographics, cute graphics, etc., to push the narrative forward. Are you announcing a celebrity collaboration? A season cleanout sale? Try writing a brief description with a link to the longer announcement or a destination page.
5. Add a CTA
In the past few years, a call-to-action has grown from a pushy attempt to sell and promote to a softer nudge to engage and interact.
What do you want your audience to do? Attend an event? Take part in a quiz? Buy from a new line of products?
The action you want the audience to take does not have to be a money grabber. It could be as simple as asking them to watch a video or tagging friends to participate in a sweepstake.
A good way to prompt a response by asking a question followed by a call-to-action. Here’s an example below:
“Is butter a good carb or a bad carb? Or is it a carb at all? Read more about it in this week’s explainer”
Be direct and punchy with your ask and avoid combining CTA, lest you risk confusing people with too many steps.
6. Know when to use active and passive voice
While it might feel you’re speaking into a void on social media, there are still real people behind those quirky handles and accounts. To sound authentic and action-oriented, brands should use an active voice in their social media writing.
Remember what that is? Let’s go back to the fifth-grade English grammar lesson.
Passive voice: The Annual Plan (object) will be presented (verb) by the management team (subject), next week.
Active voice: The management team (subject) will be presenting (verb) the Annual Plan (object), next week.
Notice how in the example for active voice, the subject of the sentence is placed before the verb. The human brain comprehends active voice more quickly than passive and in an attention economy, brands need to use all tricks in the bag to communicate effectively. Pro Tip: You don’t need a degree in English Lit to write perfectly. There are several apps to help you be productive and organized while you churn out gazillion social media posts.
7. Match the message purpose with your destination page
A cardinal rule of social media marketing is to be consistent. If you’re linking to a landing page, it’s not enough for you to just design an attractive landing page. You also need to ensure that the messaging on the post aligns closely with the destination page.
Are you sharing a blog dissecting plot holes in Season 8 of Game of Thrones?
Make sure the accompanying creative evokes a feeling of intrigue and thrill while keeping the post copy closely reflective of the title and content of a landing page. Follow through on that promise by ensuring the destination page has a clear and concise goal, persuasive copy, and a converting machine.
A helpful thumb rule is to use the same banner creative, headlining your landing page, on the social media post.
8. Use attractive images and videos
Powerful images and videos are a positive antidote to the despair surrounding the world right now. You might not always have something worth promoting, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your social media feed dead until something comes around.
Find an attractive photo to go with a motivational thought. Better yet, put some crafty graphic design skills to use and transform those one-liner thoughts into impactful quote graphics like this one below:
In 2021, it feels like everyone has a thriving YouTube channel. People are watching and making more videos than ever. In a constantly changing world, fresh content is the only constant which is keeping people engaged and connected to the brands they come to adore and love.
Take the following Instagram post from Nokia below as an example, what does a mobile phone brand have to do with World Health Day? A topical post like this with a clever product integration can be effective at keeping your brand alive in people’s feed without appearing conceited.
Pro Tip: Video is being consumed on every social media app that exists on a teenager’s smartphone. Brands can use present-day engagement features like end cards on YouTube and the Facebook Watch page to cross-promote and boost the visibility of other content that people might have missed.
9. Invoke curiosity, not annoyance
Brands should aim to write in a way that intrigues people instead of pushing content down their throats. Clickbait is so 2008. On platforms like Facebook which has split its staple news feed into video, groups, and personal, users are bombarded with in-your-face messaging that takes advantage of FOMO, making it difficult for brands to stand out.
How do you maintain authenticity when everyone’s fighting for a piece of the same pie?
Home in on the hook of your content piece to pique user interest while letting the linked page do the rest of the talking.
Writing social media posts follows the ad copywriting principle. You need to generate just enough interest to get the person to take some kind of action, such as checking out a product, going to a store, inquiring about a service, or speaking to an associate.
You can promote your brand without sounding like a used-car salesperson by focusing on the benefits to the consumer one at a time.
Do not condense all the benefits of a product or a service in a single post. Instead, you can churn out content where each unique benefit is a rallying point by itself and not in the company of others.
10. Perfect your caption game
Brands are facing solid competition from creators asunder on their caption-writing game. While your brand may have developed a human-like social media personality, it is hard to compete with creators who are real people with real lives, speaking about authentic lived experiences.
Here’s why people are watching videos more than any other media.
That’s where you can turn influencers into loyal brand advocates, and creator collaborations can elevate your caption game to a whole new level.
Instagram and Facebook allow brands to explore the limits of creativity by inviting voices that have emotionally connected with them and providing them with a wider platform to showcase their love for it.
If you’re promoting a new line of products, consider inviting people who have recently used and loved it to share their experience or better yet demonstrate it for your social media community through a short IGTV video or an Instagram Reel.
In a collaboration by Smashbox below, they posted an unedited photo of an Instagram influencer using their new line of foundations driving home that the brand champions real women and an idea of being as true to themselves as one can be.
The influencer industry is rapidly set to reach $15 billion in industry size. If you don’t have an influencer program to expand your brand to new audiences, this is the right time to strike.
Stay relevant and real to level up your writing game
What worked in 2020, will not work in 2021. As users become more educated about what’s cool and what’s not, thanks to many impactful creators out there, brands need to modernize their writing style to suit the times.
Listen to your brand community, pay attention to feedback in the glorious comment section, and codify that knowledge into your social media strategy.