What are your objectives for your brand's presence on social media? Are you looking to gain new followers, increase brand awareness and sales or position your brand as a thought leader in its industry?
No matter your goal, the success of your brand on social media fundamentally hinges on the quality of your content, which essentially comes down to effective writing. Social media posts should be engaging, informative without being verbose and captivating enough to hold your audience's interest.
Striking this balance can be challenging. So, in this article, we'll delve into some essential guidelines to make the process of writing for social media more manageable and structured.
Does writing for social media really matter that much?
Absolutely, yes. Here's an example.
Didn’t the post above stop you in your tracks? We bet it did.
Writing for social media is all about crafting a unique and memorable identity for your brand. Just as an individual’s speech and mannerisms reveal their personality, social media writing serves the same purpose for your brand. The most successful brands on social media effortlessly combine humor and informativeness, striking a balance between being entertaining and respectful, while also remaining highly relatable. Wendy's, for example, excels in this aspect.
Now that you understand the impact of writing on your brand, let's delve into the core issue: How can you write effectively for social media to transform your users' response from “meh” to a resounding “Yes!”?
10 tips and tricks to improve your writing for social media
Here are ten tips and tricks to get you started.
1. Know and follow your brand voice
Much like how you form an impression of a person through their words and communication style, your social media followers will recognize your brand by the content you share. Most brands maintain an official brand voice or tone that should be consistent across all digital assets, including website copy, social media posts, video scripts, and advertisements.
To get started, define the key attributes of your brand voice.
Is it characterized by a calm, collected, and expertise-driven tone?
Or is it more light-hearted, humorous, and cheerful?
Perhaps it's a bit sarcastic but not overly critical?
Maybe it incorporates self-deprecating humor that resonates with a wide audience?
Or does it maintain a serious and authoritative tone, especially when addressing significant global issues?
For example, check out Mailchimp’s response to a post on X:
Its brand voice revolves around maintaining a lighthearted approach and infusing humor into its social media content. The response above exemplifies its commitment to consistently embodying this voice in all situations.
Dos and Don'ts
Tailor your brand voice: Adjust your brand voice to align with the expectations of various social media platforms. Remember that what works on LinkedIn may not be suitable for X.
Develop a comprehensive brand voice guide: Create a detailed document outlining your brand voice guidelines. Ensure that everyone involved understands precisely what is expected in their social media postings.
Know your audience: Have a clear understanding of your customer demographics.
Maintain consistency: Keep your brand voice consistent in your original posts and when responding to users.
Interesting Read: How to develop a memorable tone of voice for your social media
2. Speak the language of the people (on social media)
Social media communication has its own distinct language. After gaining an understanding of your audience, take the time to grasp how they converse on social media.
Of course, maintaining proper spelling and grammar is essential. However, it's worth noting that social media users often employ text-based shorthand, such as 'fr' and 'ngl,' when communicating informally. Pay attention to your audience's language and consider incorporating it (within reasonable limits) when creating content for social media.
Consider this as a prime example:
Isn't it cute? Using both “lol” and its full form in your copy is an effective way to engage users who frequently use “lol” in their text messages or comments. It also helps users connect with a brand.
Dos and Don’ts
Avoid unfamiliar terms: Steer clear of using terms you're not familiar with. Social media users are astute and can quickly spot insincerity.
Mind your language: Exercise caution by using language that is universally inoffensive. Some terms within social media vernacular are specific to particular communities or groups and may not be well-received when used by a brand.
Adopt platform-specific language: Use the language commonly used on the specific social media platform you're posting to.
Seek assistance if needed: If you're not an active social media user yourself or if you don't belong to the brand's target demographic, don't hesitate to ask for help. Younger members of your team may provide valuable insights into how Gen Z communicates on platforms like TikTok.
Did you know: 60+ Social Media Terms every marketer must know
3. Prioritize social media accessibility when writing
In 2023, it is imperative that we prioritize the inclusion of differently-abled users in every aspect of our brand and product offerings. This includes ensuring that social media accessibility becomes an integral part of our entire operation, encompassing product development, sales strategies, content creation, image use and even the way we handle customer calls.
It's essential to remember that a significant portion of our audience consists of differently-abled individuals who have every right to enjoy our social media content just as easily as anyone else.
Here are some key guidelines to ensure better social media accessibility.
Capitalize each word in hashtags: Make hashtags more readable by capitalizing the first letter of each word. Avoid using all capital letters, though.
Spell out unfamiliar acronyms: Avoid using acronyms that may be unfamiliar to some readers. Instead, spell them out to ensure clarity.
Use clear and understandable language: Avoid jargon and use language that is easily understandable to a wide range of audiences.
Mindful and respectful language: Be mindful of the language you use and avoid any ableist terminology or phrases that could be insensitive towards disabled individuals.
Start with important information: Prioritize presenting the most critical information first in your content to capture the audience's attention.
Limit special characters: Use very few or no special characters, as screen readers, which are used by visually challenged individuals, cannot read them aloud.
Provide alt text for images: Always include alt text descriptions for images to ensure that visually impaired users can understand the content through screen readers.
Add captions and subtitles to videos: Enhance video content accessibility by including captions and subtitles, which are beneficial for individuals who may have hearing impairments.
4. Keep it simple, concise, meaningful
Recite this mantra when crafting content for social media. The sole purpose of copy on these platforms is to capture attention and stimulate engagement. In the hustle and bustle of people's daily lives, there's no room for lengthy paragraphs, so keep your social copy concise.
Get straight to the point and inject humor, profundity or brilliance, depending on your brand's voice.
Eliminate the use of jargon, as overused phrases like 'disrupt the market' have lost their charm, particularly on platforms like LinkedIn. Employing tired jargon is a surefire way to bore your audience into indifference.
At Sprinklr, we adhere to the wisdom of Albert Einstein, who once said, "If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, you don't understand it yourself."
5. Pay attention to your replies
Often, writing for social media revolves around a brand's original posts. However, when it comes to responding to user comments, complaints, and queries, not enough consideration is given to this aspect. This is a grave mistake in the realm of social media marketing.
Certainly, people can be impressed by your posts, but what customers primarily seek are brands that go the extra mile in addressing their questions and concerns. To truly leave a positive impression on your customers, your responses must be succinct, in line with your brand's voice, and always prioritizing the customer's needs.
Hasty responses on social media are an absolute red flag. They may contain typos, inappropriate language, or information that could potentially violate industry compliance and legal standards.
Dos and Don’ts
Prompt responses: Respond to comments and questions promptly upon noticing them. Consider using "saved replies" for frequently asked questions.
Approval process: Ensure that your responses are approved by the same individuals responsible for approving regular social media posts.
Platform adaptation: Tailor your responses to align with the conventions of the specific social platform you are using.
De-escalation strategy: Act swiftly to de-escalate negative comments, preventing them from going viral. Utilize polite responses and, if appropriate, offer a free gift or coupon code to mitigate any potential damage.
Grammar check: Always double-check for spelling and grammar errors.
Here’s how it’s done:
6. Experiment with different calls to action (CTAs)
Avoid using the same CTA for all your posts. CTAs offer a simple yet highly effective way to experiment with what resonates with customers and encourages them to engage meaningfully with your brand.
While sales-driven CTAs can be effective for specific posts, it's essential to use them sparingly. Instead, consider using CTAs that emphasize the value of customer sign-up. For instance:
"Get started for Free."
"Enjoy a 50% discount on your first purchase."
"Sign up for a free 2-month subscription."
Additionally, ensure that your CTA aligns with your content funnel and type. For some posts, craft CTAs that encourage engagement, such as "What do you think? Comment below!" For others, direct them to your website with a CTA like "Click the link in the bio." This tailored approach will enhance the effectiveness of your CTAs and drive more meaningful interactions with your audience.
Dos and Don'ts
Tailor your CTA to the content: Ensure that your Call to Action (CTA) aligns with the specific content you're sharing.
Platform-specific CTAs: Customize your CTA for different platforms. For LinkedIn, sharing links is effective, while on Instagram, it's best to direct people to the link in your bio.
Regularly refresh CTAs: Introduce a new CTA every month or so. Maintain what's working well, but don't hesitate to experiment with CTAs that aren't yielding the desired results.
7. Evaluate the potential benefits of AI
First and foremost, it's crucial to clarify one thing: AI will NOT replace human writers. While machines can indeed produce text, they lack the infinite nuance, awareness, compassion and snark that us humans possess.
Nonetheless, it would be unwise not to leverage an effective tool for your social media writing. AI cannot write in your place, but it can provide instant access to vast data to address any question you may have. It aids in overcoming writer's block, expedites social media content creation, and generally streamlines your work.
Dos and Don'ts
Leverage brand voice: Incorporate your brand voice guide into the AI engine to discover examples of other brands within your domain doing the same. This serves as valuable competitor research.
Maintain the human element: NEVER remove the human element. AI can deliver faster results, but these results often lack value without human intervention and understanding. AI doesn't understand your audience—only you do.
AI as a complementary tool: Use AI as a supplementary tool to enhance your team's efficiency and keep them well-informed. AI tools can NEVER replace social media copywriters.
8. Don’t overlook visual content
We all understand that visual content garners more attention than text alone. However, the true magic happens when you combine both elements.
Images in your social media posts are just as vital as the accompanying text. Select images that swiftly convey your message, lend credibility to your brand, and ideally, bring a touch of humor to your audience.
Dos and Don'ts
When to use different types of visual content: Consider incorporating animated GIFs, memes, and images, but only if they align with your brand voice and the content of your post.
Emphasizing visual content: Keep in mind that images are highly effective at capturing attention. Thus, it's beneficial for most of your posts to include some form of visual content.
Crediting images: Always provide proper credit for any images you use (unless you've purchased them from the creator).
Must Read: Social media messaging: How to get it right?
9. Cross-post content from other brands/creators (and give credit)
As time goes on, people may become weary of your brand if your communication is solely one-sided. Although the focus of your social presence is your brand, it can't be exclusively self-centered.
People are drawn to brands that display a broader perspective and aren't fixated solely on themselves. One way to demonstrate your awareness of the wider world is by consistently sharing, responding to, and tagging other creators in your posts.
It's a smart move to engage with your brand partners, ambassadors, contributors, and micro-influencers for this purpose. However, most audiences respond even better when you tag someone you're not already connected with.
For instance, let's say your brand specializes in luxury handbags. Instead of solely discussing your own products, consider tagging and promoting independent fashion designers renowned for their handbag creations. These could be designers whose work your brand already features, recent award winners or individuals whose creations are admired by your social media team, product team or brand leaders.
Dos and Don'ts
Engage in a friendly competition: If possible, engage in a good-natured snark contest with a competitor. Remember never to be mean, but a few cleverly crafted wisecracks can liven up your followers.
Case in point:
Use social media management tools to monitor your customers’ social posts and identify opportunities to join conversations.
Collaborate for a good cause: Partner with your competitors for a philanthropic endeavor. People appreciate brands that can occasionally prioritize a higher cause over profit.
Give credit where it's due: Always credit the individuals you quote or whose work you feature on your social platforms. Tag them on every platform where their content is housed.
Acknowledge brand mentions: Respond to every mention of your brand. Keep it concise, but avoid being invisible.
Promote unaffiliated creators: Cross-post the work of creators associated with your domain but not directly connected to your profits, or vice versa. While it's not mandatory, doing so enhances transparency in your brand's image.
10. Monitor, analyze and adjust
Once your social media posts are live, they face the digital battleground and must prove their worth. Are your posts engaging your audience? Are they attracting new followers? Are they getting your brand noticed by the right people? Are they generating comments, shares and likes?
Answering these questions is vital to assessing the success of your social media copy. You can delve into the analytics provided by your chosen social platforms to track post performance. These metrics offer invaluable audience insights essential for enhancing your social copy and overall content.
Consider employing a social monitoring tool to gain granular data on your followers' reactions to your posts. Keep an eye out for the following:
Identify top-performing content: Determine which content generates the most awareness and engagement
Optimal post length: Analyze the length of posts that receive the most engagement and user action
Effectiveness of CTAs: Assess the performance of different CTAs
With this data in hand, you will be well-equipped to craft the next batch of highly effective social media content.
Writing for social media is key to brand-building
The perception of your brand by its target audience is significantly influenced by the content it shares on social media. What your brand represents, its values and the causes it supports are effectively communicated to your audience through social media content, particularly in the form of written copy.
While the specifics of your copy may naturally vary depending on the industry and customer preferences, the 10 pointers discussed here can be broadly applied across various industries and social media writing styles. Think of them as guiding principles that can be adapted as needed to suit the project, brand and target audience.
Above all, it's essential to diligently monitor what you're posting and how it's performing. By staying closely connected to your audience's digital interactions, you'll develop more nuanced and relatable content and, in the process, elevate your brand.