Your social media strategy may include brand awareness, lead generation or customer retention and these factors are all achieved through one thing. Excellent social media writing skills.
In this article, I’m going to share with you my social media writing tips for business so that you too can hone your communication and hit those all-important KPIs.
1. Use Your Casual Voice
First, you really need to hone your brand voice. What are your brand’s values and how are you going to get them across on social media?
Understand that your social media accounts are not supposed to be a replica of your website. Even if you are a serious corporate brand, you will need to soften your tone and make it more casual. Remember why people are using most social media in the first place — to connect with friends — and why they follow your Facebook page instead of just visiting your website.
Remember too, that while casual, your tone should be adjusted for each social media network.
For example, on Linkedin, the professional network, you might say “The Agorapulse team has compiled a list of the best social media writing tips. Click below to read them.” On Facebook, where it is considerably less professional, you might say “Need to improve your social media writing skills? Check out our hot tips.”
- Avoid lengthy or convoluted sentences
- Stay away from colorless “business-speak”
- Don’t use an unnecessarily long word if there is a shorter alternative
2. Keep It Short and Simple
Social media isn’t the place for deep musings, case studies, or pasted stories. Although Facebook gives you 400 characters, please don’t use them all! The optimal length of a Facebook post is 40 characters and after that point engagement wanes. Studies even show that some of the most shared posts are just 11 words and incorporate video and emoji like Buzzfeed below:
If you want to share a blog or story with your readers, then introduce it briefly and include a link to it.
- Your social media page is a great place to link to your blog not to copy and paste it
- Use emoji to illustrate your point instead of explaining it in long sentences
- Use fewer words as a teaser to your link, video, or infographic
3. Think CTA!
Your CTA or Call To Action is something you need to be aware of every time you write for your brand.
Does that mean you need to be constantly promotional? No. But you do want your fans to take action, don’t you? Whether it’s to read your article, watch your video, join a conversation, share a post or attend an event. There is always a desirable response.
A good formula for a social media post starts with a thought-provoking question and an invitation for your followers to take action as shown below at Contentworks.
- Be punchy and direct with your CTAs like “Watch Now” or “Read More”
- Ask a short question or make an impactful statement to pique interest
- Don’t confuse your fans by asking for too many actions. For example: “Watch our video then come back and comment and share our post.”
4. Keep It Personal
Focus on using pronouns such as “we” “I,” “me,” and “you” as opposed to “the company,” “the client,” or “the team.” Remember, you are trying to build connections and engagement — so lecturing your followers from your high corporate tower just doesn’t cut it.
Write as though you are speaking directly to each fan and you will see a much better engagement rate. Check out this example from Barclays, a huge international bank, who keep it personal.
- Explain to your CEO why informal language works better on social media
- Tailor your style and words to suit each of your social networks
- Speak directly to each fan to improve your engagement rates
5. Research Pays Off
You can be the best writer in the world, but if you don’t do your research then your posts just won’t resonate with your audience.
For example, say you are a beauty company and you know your target audience is women. What else do you know about them? News flash: are billions of women in the world and they are not all alike. ?
To write well you need to understand who you’re writing to. Create a persona of your audience. Understand their interests, lifestyle and values. The more you know about them, the easier it will be to write for them.
- Create a persona for your target audience and pin it to your desk so you never forget who you’re talking to
- Include data in your posts – for example, “85% of our customers surveyed love this new shampoo”
- Tailor your language to your audience. If they are females aged 13-18, don’t use the same words as you would for females aged 30-45
6. Break Some Punctuation Rules
You may be a professional writer but social media writing isn’t like writing your master’s thesis. That means you can break some traditionally held rules when it comes to creating social media posts. Here are some examples that go against the grain:
It’s OK to miss out punctuation, abbreviations, and words to save on character limits like my friend Ed Leake.
Unlike email or web text where block capitals are considered rude or aggressive, it’s OK on social media! Use block capitals to create excitement as I have done at Charli Says. The same goes for exclamation points (in moderation).
It’s fine to hashtag words or replace them entirely with emoji like Tacobell. In fact, if you don’t use emoji, then you are probably missing out on engagement!
- Incorporate hashtags in your sentences especially on Twitter and Instagram
- Just because you have a long character limit, doesn’t mean you should use it. Short sentences are best.
- Breaking a few rules doesn’t mean poor grammar or bad spelling
7. Write Great Replies
Posting updates is only part of your job as social media manager. You also need to construct on point replies to your fans.
This is where you really need to understand your brand voice and how you will respond to fans on social. Are you the cheeky brand that likes to play with fans? Are you the straight-to-the-point brand that answers questions without chatting? Either way, it’s important that your social media team are briefed and answering questions in the same style.
This is where the new Saved Replies tool from Agorapulse comes in handy. These are not bots or autoresponders. Think of them as canned responses for each of your social profiles. This saves a ton of time and can eliminate spelling errors when you’re in a hurry.
To create a new saved reply, click on “Create a new reply.” First, name the reply, then add your text into the field below. The next time you go to respond on that channel, you can choose from a list of easy drop-down replies.
How cool is that?
- Your replies should be in the style of your brand so your audience enjoys the same brand experience throughout
- Your replies should be friendly, polite and informative
- Don’t be afraid to pass the client to your support team, just be sure that this is communicated properly
8. Check Your Spelling and Grammar
It doesn’t matter how much fun your brand is, how casual you want to be, or how many abbreviations you’re using. Your spelling and grammar needs to be good.
Poor spelling and grammar reflect badly on your brand and will give your audience the impression that you are not on top of your game. If you are targeting and posting in different languages, then be sure to have a native speaker checking the posts before you go live.
- Don’t rely heavily on the spellchecker, it will detect incorrect spellings but not whether your sentence is grammatically correct. For example, “we are baring all” or “we are bearing all.”
- Use native speakers to write posts or at least check them before they go live
- Don’t rush – read your content through before you post it
9. Learn to Write Great Captions
You can have the best product in the world but if you don’t know how to caption it, then it’s just plain dull! In the same way that a headline can make or break an article, a caption can make or break your post.
This is especially true in the tech world where you need to summarize a products’ functionality in very few words to make it stand out. Whilst I’m a proud Android user, I admire Apple‘s ability to write good captions. A good caption may be funny or informative, depending on your brand, but it does need to summarize the product and create intrigue.
- Remember, you don’t need to write pages about the product in your caption, simply link to a blog or product page
- Always include a link to purchase or view the product
- Keep your sentences short and punchy for added impact
10. Keep It Perky
Unless you’re managing the social pages for a funeral home, you need to maintain an upbeat and positive tone to your posts.
I understand that this can be tricky, especially when you’re having the worst day ever, but you need to put your brand hat on and get happy! Your updates, captions, and headlines should be exciting, inspiring, and positive to drive your fans to take the next action.
- If you have a complaint on your social profile, then acknowledge it publicly and then take it over to private messaging
- Use positive words to inspire users to take action
- Don’t allow negative emotions to seep into your posts or replies or you will create a dark mood on your pages
Social media writing can take a little getting used to but it’s also fun. If you’re managing the social pages for your brand then you can also see it as a chance to push some boundaries and get to know your community.
Which of these social media writing tips will you try first? Comment below and let us know.