Raise your hand if this sounds familiar – you have Facebook open and you’re ready to compose a post, but you don’t know what to say or how to say it. How do you write a post that is not only short and sweet but also stops people mid-scroll so that they actually read it and find it compelling? What is the recipe for a perfect post? There is a ton of noise out there, with brands creating and sharing more content than ever before and the network algorithms actively working to make organic reach harder to achieve. Only the best posts will get attention in this environment, so it’s time to up your game and write better social media copy.
Know where you are
Every platform has its own best practices, and not knowing what they are is a great mistake. For instance, you can safely overload your Instagram posts with hashtags but on Twitter and Facebook that’s a bad idea – and on Pinterest people will wonder why you’re using any at all. With LinkedIn, you can feel free to write essentially a short blog post, but with Twitter, you’d better make your point fast and efficiently. You’ll also want to be familiar with the best times to post for your audience to see them, when and where emojis work well or don’t, and so on. All of these things require preparation and research, which also allows you to better plan out your posts on a social media marketing calendar.
Know when to be different
Once you know the rules, you can effectively break them when it’s called for – like if your next prime posting time is 12 hours away but you have information that will be old or irrelevant in 6 hours. Breaking the rules the right way and tastefully can give you an edge that slices nicely through the wall of noise and draws (good) attention to you. If it’s best practice to stay at 120 characters but these particular posts need triple that to get the point across, do it. Just make sure you don’t make using the best practice rules the exception.
Use good copy
The right words in the right order make all the difference. Otherwise, anyone of us could be the next Hemingway or Dickens. If you don’t know how to write good copy, either learn or hire someone to do it. There is both an art and a science to shape a phrase, sentence, or paragraph that says what needs to be said in an engaging way. If you’re writing your own copy, ask yourself how can you use fewer words once you write something. Then ask if the shorter version is more or less effective emotionally. Then start over, and do it again and again until it’s perfected. Ask others who are good at writing copy. If you’re just jotting down the first thing that comes to mind, you’re probably doing a major disservice to your message.
Never forget the “why”
Whenever you’re trying to pitch a product or service or build a brand reputation or attention, always remember that the target of your post expects to gain something from engagement. Simply put, “Our product X is better than the competition” is never even close to being as effective as “Our product X will make you better than your competition”. What are you promising them? What do they get out of reading more, or clicking through, or following, or purchasing? Before you finish posting that new post, always put yourself in their shoes and ask “what do I get out of this?” If you can’t instantly come up with a good answer, start over.
Most importantly, be a human
We are inherently emotional beings. We love to feel and when we do, we also like to share it with our friends on social media. This right here is the most fundamental reason why social media networks thrive. Many posts get little to none engagement, but those that do instigate the reader to feel a particular emotion strongly.