How to Write for Social Media
Crafting an effective, engaging social media post is like shooting an arrow at a target with perfect precision. To get the best results, it takes time, know-how, and practice. Did we mention luck? Because sometimes, we just don't know why something resonates with an audience -- it just works.
We think it’s more of an art than a science--a formula of targeted words and a call to action is just the beginning. With each post, your goal is to create an impression, increase customer engagement, and be persuasive. It can be tricky since every business is different, but we developed a few guidelines that promise to make writing for social media a little bit easier.
How can you energize your audience? The simple answer is to give them something of value. Describe a benefit of your product or service. Ask a thought-provoking question. Show an excerpt from a new blog post with the link. Be funny, if that's what your audience likes. Create a poll. Take a survey. There are so many options to energize your posts now. Then end it with a call to action.
The idea is to pique their interest, and then convince your customers to interact with you by clicking on the link provided or visiting your website. Customers expect you to use professional yet informal language that speaks directly to them. You can say something like:
Save time with these [industry specific] tips. Read more in our new blog post!
Do you have plans for the holiday weekend? Spend it [with my business]. Watch this clip for more info!
Word choice matters. You want to sound like an expert, so we suggest using active voice as much as possible. However, you don’t want to confuse your audience, so avoid jargon and acronyms, unless they are widely known and understood OR if using the full name of something would become way too long and lose readers' attention (in which case, use the acronym as a hashtag). You can say something like:
We transformed our office space! Check out the before and after photos.
We need your vote. Which [product/service] is on your wishlist?
How many words make up the ideal social media post? That’s a tough one. You want to get your message out fast because you are competing with all of the other posts in your customers’ feeds, but you also want to post something of substance.
Some experts say that the clearest, most powerful messages stay within the 11-15 word range. There are different guidelines per network, too. LinkedIn allows for longer posts, and Facebook is better for back-and-forth conversation. Twitter is obviously brief even though the max character count is 240 now. We say that it’s up to you, because we've seen so many different formulas work, and an equal number of times when sticking to the "right format" simply made no difference. You might want to experiment to see which length produces the highest engagement and conversion with your customers.
Each platform has its own protocol and tone. LinkedIn lends itself to be more professional and technical. Facebook is more conversational. Twitter and Instagram are built for hashtags and emojis. Please don't ask us about Snapchat for business. If you have a good use for it, let us know.
You still need to watch your grammar and spelling, but you can break some rules--like using slang, exclamation points or all caps, if appropriate. And remember to use hashtags! Even on LinkedIn, hashtags are searchable terms and phrases that not only help you add funny fragments to your social media post, but also help other social media users find your content.
We recommend replying to both positive and negative comments, unless you suspect the account to be spam or the commenter to be an internet troll. Be friendly, informative, and provide a way to contact you. Remember, every online interaction is an extension of your brand. But don't feed the trolls. Seriously.
Do you need help managing your social media accounts or writing compelling copy? Contact us for more information.