Here’s the dilemma: social media requires very strong writing skills, but not every SMM manager is a social media wordsmith. So just how can you cope without a writing degree and the enviable eloquence of Hemingway? The good news is, social media writing isn’t exactly rocket science. For around five years, I’ve managed the social media accounts of both start-ups and big businesses across various industries and realized one thing: good social media writing is indispensible.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that almost anyone with a basic copywriting background and a knack for words can develop great posts – considering they follow a few ground rules. With Facebook’s organic reach dropping considerably from 16% to 6.5% from 2012 to 2014, it is great messaging that will help counteract this massive decline. Draft Facebook copy that can blow your competition out of the water with the following tips.
1. Maintain a Writing Style
Social media users want to feel as though they are interacting with a person and not a business. One way to make sure this happens is to keep your language consistent. To become a social media wordsmith, your writing must capture the personality of your brand. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you start drafting posts:
- Who am I talking to? Who is my target audience?
- What is my brand voice? Do I want to sound professional, casual, or serious?
- What is my tone? Should I be funny, witty, sarcastic, or authoritative?
Your writing style is influenced by a variety of factors, from the age of your target audience to how you want to be perceived online. It all starts with research, so every social media wordsmith must be ready to go digging! Remember, the more relatable your writing style is to your target market, the more engagement you’ll get.
Domino’s UK did very well incorporating humor and pop culture into their posts, which effectively appeals to pizza eaters both young and young at heart. This post, which is both relevant and relatable, connects a newly released video game: “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” with pizza. Notice the quirky play on words!
2. Get Down to the Details
To achieve Jedi social media wordsmith status on social media, it pays to get down to the details. This means paying close attention to your sentence construction, length, and other additional elements that will make your readers’ thumbs stop when they come across your post. Here are just a few actionable insights you can apply to your Facebook posts:
Keep it Short
Though this isn’t an end-all rule, it has been proven that shorter posts get better engagement as compared to long and winding status messages. Just how succinct you should draft your message is a murky number, with some sources saying two sentences is great, and other sources recommending you keep it down at 111 or even 40 characters for Facebook. Regardless, the rule is clear: keep your message short and sweet on all social media channels. A quick tip to keep your status messages down is to add some of the text on the image itself!
Throw in an Emoji
Check out Adidas’s straight-to-the-point product description. Everything you need to know about this pair of shoes is condensed into a few punchy phrases.
Emojis are not just for teeny-boppers anymore. It has been researched time and time again how these tiny icons are actually great for boosting your social media engagement and humanizing your brand. The social media wordsmith tries to incorporate them sparingly into social media writing (especially for Instagram and Twitter). Make sure, however, that emojis are in line with your social media personality!
Time to brush up on your writing style. The power of the active voice works even in social media writing where punchy and persuasive text grabs more attention. Don’t know the difference between the active and passive voice? Here’s a crash course:
- ACTIVE VOICE – The subject is doing the verb’s action.
I tickled the sleeping yeti.
- PASSIVE VOICE – The subject is acted upon by the verb.
The sleeping yeti was tickled by me.
The first example is more action-oriented while the second example sounds dull. Social media writing is all about movement and action, and the social media wordsmith makes posts reflect just that!
3. Less Promotional Text
You’ve had it with pages telling you to SHOP NOW or CALL NOW, so you can assume that others feel the same way. Though the significance of the all-too-important call-to-action cannot be denied, there are other, less “hard-sell” ways to inspire movement.
Apart from being eyesores, did you know that Facebook’s algorithm can now detect overly promotional language, causing your posts to be demoted? With Facebook’s already declining organic reach, this is something no social media wordsmith can afford. Why not grab some pointers from H&M?
Apart from striking images, it really is the written word that makes the social media world go ‘round. If you’re looking for higher reach and better engagement, great social media writing should be included in your arsenal. Smooth, succinct, and informational without sounding too salesy and with just a link at the end for those who are interested to purchase – this is the anatomy of a great promotional post.
Social Media Wordsmith Level-Up
Once you begin to apply the tips above, you will feel and see a change in your social media engagement statistics. The change may not come overnight, but with focus and practice, you can develop the writing prowess of the best in the business.
Joshua L. is a creative writer from the Philippines who has dabbled in publishing, web content, and social media marketing. A master of the written word, he has a penchant for handling highly creative lifestyle brands as he’s able to generate buzz from just about anything – he can make a rock trend, given the right resources. When not glued to his keyboard writing out-of-the-box content for brands, Joshua may be found stuck in between the pages of a good book or at the local theater watching a play. Connect with him on LinkedIn.