Writing for social media is not any different than writing for any other content platform. There. There’s your answer. Thank you, and goodnight!
Just kidding, that would have been a terrible article.
The foundational principles of effective copywriting easily apply to the scan-able, swipe-able world of social media — with a few important tweaks to the traditional rules.
1: Define your goals.
Let’s start with why you’re using social media in the first place. This will be different depending on your industry and audiences, but do you wish to keep people informed of timely events or company doings? Do you want to increase your brand awareness and attract new customers? Are you looking to grow a movement and inspire change? Do you want to make people’s worlds more beautiful? Do you want to sell products or services?
Defining your specific goals is the first step. Then keep in mind the differences between why people are on each channel and craft your content precisely for those channels.
2: Know your audience.
A staple of Marketing 101, right?
Say you are promoting a business that delivers breakfast to someone’s door. Would you post a gorgeous picture displaying a well-balanced breakfast spread with the words “Sirl, mofn, blanabba and mork. Yum!”? Will that cutely translate or annoy the tardertoots out of potential customers?
We like to think of our audiences as members of a tribe who are like-minded, and share similar demographics, values and interests. We will almost always have several audiences we’re talking to, and will need to tailor our messaging accordingly.
Going back to that earlier example, if our audience is parents or adults and you’re trying to appeal to their sense of nutrition and desire to make life easier, then that message strategy would be wrong. However, if your audience is teenagers and young parent-influencers… It might be great. (BTW, that example translates to “Cereal, muffin, banana and milk. Yum!”)
3: Know the role of your social channels.
People’s intentions and wants differ depending upon the social media platform they are using. Which is why the “benefit” aspect of your posts or ads should be flexible so you can adjust according to intentions.
A simple way to remember the social media environment would be to imagine these scenarios:
- Environment: Backyard barbecue
- Audience: Friends and neighbors
- Tone: Casual, friendly, telling stories, asking questions, etc.
- Tip: Videos and animation get high engagement
- Environment: After-work bar
- Audience: Colleagues and work buddies
- Tone: Professional, direct, cut to the chase
- Tip: No fluff, please
- Environment: Big, noisy cocktail party
- Audience: Casual acquaintances
- Tone: Short, attention-getting snippets to be heard over the cacophony
- Tip: Being provocative is good
- Environment: Sit-down dinner
- Audience: Good friends, close friends
- Tone: More intimate
- Tip: Use high-quality photos, clever hashtags
- Environment: One-on-one time
- Audience: Friends and acquaintances
- Tone: Casual to professional, but always telling a story
- Tip: High-quality audio and video equipment, as well as stellar editing, is key for a successful video
4: Know your brand.
If you still only think of your company, or the company you work for, as a business and not a brand, then we definitely need to have a conversation!
Your business, your people, your products, your services, your culture… It’s all your brand. And if your role is being the voice of your brand, then you need to know how to best represent.
Is your brand a thought-leader or a networker? Is your role to be inspirational or educational? Should you be comforting or leading the charge? Are you friendly and casual or professionally informational? You don’t have to be one or the other, but you do need to know what you are, and what role you play to each audience group, so your messaging is on-brand, consistent and valuable. Otherwise, you’ll lose your customer’s interest, respect and their “like.”
And if you need more information on how to define and build your brand, Red Chalk can certainly help.
5: Be authentic to your brand.
This “tip” is one of the most important and goes hand-in-hand with knowing your brand.
Consider how your business relates to your customers in person (hopefully, at the very least, it’s a respectful relationship) and how that can translate to how you talk to them online. And remember there’s a reason this is called “social” media… It’s about relationships.
This is a GREAT opportunity to put a personality and “face” to a business that might otherwise be faceless and too “corporate.” But it has to be consistently delivered and presented. You can’t be one thing to your social audiences and then deliver something completely different when they’re your customer.
6: Provide value and stop trying to sell with every post.
Let’s be frank — our social feeds are already filled to the brim with ads and sales pitches. NOBODY, but NOBODY has followed you because they want to be sold to. So stop it, and start giving them what they value. Earn their trust. Be a good listener. Be encouraging. Be friendly. Be fun. Be social.
Not every post you make should be explicitly telling or asking people to do something. That strategy is going to get you unliked faster than margarine at a butter-lovers’ convention.
And when you do want to encourage a specific action, such as visiting your website, calling to book an appointment, buying a product, or encouraging discussion, people will respond more often when you include “what’s in it for me.”
- You want them to visit your restaurant? The value might be that day’s special (here today, gone tomorrow).
- You want them to read the rest of your article? Perhaps it’s a short, ten-minute read.
- Want to encourage a discussion amongst your “tribe”? Ask for a discussion around a specific purpose.
- Want to show them your latest cartoon series of Captain Flibbertigibbet? Tease them with a cliffhanger and let them know how they can learn the resolution.
Ready, set, write!
Create genuine, stand-out posts and ads on any social media platform using some tweaked foundations our marketing forefathers would be proud of. Or… You could have a super awesome Red Chalker do it for you. Check out our services for more details.