Being the social media manager for a brand can be a tough gig. Not only do you have to manage the day-to-day posting and community management for your brand’s social media profiles, but you also have to stay current on the latest trends and algorithms, keep an eye on other emerging (and fading) platforms, and continue innovating month after month to ensure your pages do not get stale.
Given the rapidly-expanding list of features on most social media platforms (Facebook carousel ads! Instagram shoppable stickers! WhatsApp integration!), it can be all too easy to lose sight of the fact that the foundation for every good social media post is the text copy that accompanies it.
How can you make sure your copy stands out and helps to take your social media post to new heights? Here are a few of our favorite tips:
#1: Raise Your (Brand) Voice
Take a moment to think about your favorite brands to follow on social media. More often than not, the same few examples come to mind — whether it’s Wendy’s with their “Twitter roasts,” Arby’s and the way they have embraced video game/geek culture, or even the unpredictable (but always entertaining) MoonPies.
These examples stand out because all of these brands have a strong and well-defined brand voice. Wendy’s is funny and (at times) offensive; Arby’s is nostalgic and playful; MoonPies is zany and conversational. In all cases, these brands do not attempt to create social media posts that speak to everyone; instead, they choose an important segment of their audience and speak to that audience specifically.
Before you start cranking out copy, you should also pause to carefully think through the voice of your brand on social media. Although the lighthearted tone of the examples above won’t be a good fit for every brand, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a defined voice. If you’re the social media manager for a nonprofit, for example, your tone could be helpful and comforting, whereas the social media posts for a B2B brand might be direct and technical.
#2: Brevity Is (Sometimes) the Soul of Wit
At its core, social media is all about small, quick interactions that accumulate over time to build goodwill for your brand. With that in mind, as you begin drafting content for your social media channels, it is important to carefully consider the length of your social media posts. While Hootsuite recommends that paid social posts use just 5-18 words of text in order to maximize effectiveness, this may not be realistic if your post has a lot of information to convey.
As a general rule, you should always read through your social media content several times before posting, reviewing with a critical eye toward removing any words in the post that are not deemed essential. However, having an understanding of your audience and the platform you are posting can also greatly inform post length; professionals may be more likely to read a longer thought leadership post on LinkedIn, whereas a brand targeting busy moms on Instagram will probably want to keep their copy to one or two sentences at most.
#3: A Little Alliteration Goes a Long Way
Of course, when a social media post consists of only one or two short sentences, it becomes more important than ever to scrutinize each and every word in the copy to make sure they’re all working together in harmony. If you write a post that contains the correct information but read a bit clunky, one great strategy for making the post sing is to play around with word choice and alliteration to give your words a little added “oomph.”
If you’re not confident in your wordsmithing abilities, fear not — all it takes is a quick visit to thesaurus.com to inspire some creativity when it comes to communicating your message in a different way.
#4: Ignite a Call to Action
One of the most common mistakes made by budding social media marketers is flooding their channels with content just to be posting, taking a “quantity over quality” approach to give their brand more visibility. However, strategic social media pros know that every single post you make to one of your brand’s channels should have a clearly defined purpose.
Before you click post, consider the specific action that you would like someone to take after reading the post. Do you want them to purchase tickets to an upcoming fundraiser? Visit your website to read your latest blog? Take advantage of a special offer? Whatever the answer is, your post should clearly communicate this call to action.
If you’re having difficulty articulating the intention of the post, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s not worth posting.
#5: Let Visuals Do the Heavy Lifting
“A picture is worth a thousand words” may be cliche, but it’s one that holds especially true for social media. In the ultra-crowded social media universe where your post will be competing against billions of others for a precious few seconds of attention, a strong visual is the #1 way to ensure your post gets noticed. Whenever possible, you should select an image for your post that is evocative of what you are trying to convey; if you’re promoting an upcoming event, for example, consider including a photo from the same event in a previous year to show attendees what the experience will be like.
If you’re doing social media marketing on a shoestring budget, don’t worry — there are plenty of fantastic free photo resources so that you never have to make a plain-text post again.
Ultimately, however, it’s important to remember that social media is not an exact science; creativity, intuition, and algorithms all play a role, too. However, this is also part of the reason the field of social media marketing can be so exciting — sometimes all it takes is one truly creative post to put your brand in the spotlight!