Effective copywriting for social media is about more than clickbait and hashtags. Nor is it restricted to writing well-crafted copy.
It’s about getting as many users as possible reading and sharing your content, and about maximising engagement across multiple social media channels. Here are 7 tips to help you do so.
1: It’s all about the headline
Headlines sell content. They might be the first and only piece of copy your readers see on social media. The viral content website Upworthy recommends writing 25 headlines for every social post and testing some.
These examples show that while some headlines succeed others will fail. Clarity is key. The headline on the left has a humorous image but lacks a clear explanation. The headline on the right is clear. It also incites curiosity with a cliff-hanger and ends by addressing the social media user with a call to action.
2: Length matters
On social media size matters, but in the opposite way to other online content as, here, brevity works best. Facebook might have a 63,206-character maximum per post, but 40 characters is the ideal length. Meanwhile, social media guru Daniel Zarella believes tweets of 120-130 characters have maximum engagement.
3: Adapt content across social media platforms
Each social media channel has its own set of requirements. So it won’t work to copy-paste content across different channels – it must be adapted for each site.
Instagram is used for sharing photos, so stunning images to accompany content are essential. Meanwhile, according to digital marketing consultant Perri Robinson, Facebook is “the perfect channel for long conversations. Twitter, on the other hand, is for short bursts of information”. Whilst Facebook is an ideal space for brand storytelling, slowly building intrigue and intimacy, content on Twitter needs to be more to-the-point.
4: Be social
If you’re friendly to people they tend to be friendly back and the same is true online. Sprout Social surveyed over 1,000 consumers and found that the most common reason for purchasing from a brand is their responsiveness on social media.
Be responsive by replying to customer queries and complaints. Show how quickly and professionally you can respond. Actively engage with users, by making sure you “like” and share content from other sites. That way they’ll return the favour.
5: Proofread, proofread, proofread
Although it’s important to have a friendly online persona, an easy-going attitude should never become slapdash. Spelling and grammar mistakes are just as unprofessional on social media as they are elsewhere.
(Source: NY Mag)
Not only did the US Department of Education misspell the name of author and W.E.B. Du Bois, but their apology was also misspelt. These two tweets are now widely shared on websites dedicated to finding social media gaffes. Make sure your content doesn’t join them there.
6: Work out what makes people click
What makes content go viral? Put simply, people watch and share anything that emotionally affects them. It should also come as no surprise that people prefer positivity.
Researchers from Pennsylvania University analysed thousands of the New York Times’ articles and discovered that many of the most widely shared ones inspired awe, which they defined as “emotion of self-transcendence, a feeling of admiration and elevation in the face of something greater than the self”. It is for this reason that scientific articles are far more widely viewed than you might think.
7: Time it right
Social media feeds are constantly updated, and users are unlikely to scroll back through hours’ worth of tweets and Instagram photos to find yours. The trick is to time it right. Post at a time when users are most likely to be online.
Twitter is most active during commuting times and around lunchtime. Meanwhile, Pinterest is far more active during the weekends and evenings, when people have more time to daydream about Insta-worthy apartments and outfits.
But if you have a social media following from different time-zones it becomes a little trickier. And to muddy the waters even further, B2B companies might prefer to post during office hours whilst it’s preferable for B2C companies to catch users just before the weekend. It’s important to research what works for your user base.
The same goes for all these copywriting tips. There’s no “one size fits all” strategy. Brands that excel on social media do so because of their individuality.
These 7 tips are not set in stone but can be used to improve your social media presence.