|This is Chapter 1, Part 2 from the Copywriting for Social Media guide.|
Think about it. What kind of Facebook posts or tweets you’d like to see when visiting Facebook or Twitter? If you are looking for something really interesting, or valuable… others do too.
On social platforms, people are looking for relevant, interesting, valuable, and easy-to-read stuff that they’d want to share themselves.
It’s important for you to first understand the platforms where your posts will be published and some of the unique qualities of each one.
So, let’s look at the differences between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram!
- People are using Facebook mainly to find interesting things to read or watch. And also to keep in touch with their friends – obviously.
- Facebook pages give brands a dedicated space to build up their community projects or products, plug events, and generate discussions.
- If you post on Facebook on behalf of a brand, you’ll want to make sure you can write interesting stuff that would drive people to your website and landing pages.
- When you post on Facebook, make sure to add context to your post. You can even add a teaser copy if you’d like.
- Was famous for its 140-character limit on posts… well… now it’s famous for its 280-character limit.
- Twitter is used for sharing and promoting links and driving people back to websites and landing pages. It is a lot like Facebook (or not) but with limited space to write.
- On Twitter, you’ll need to figure out the right words to use. Some of these words might include hashtags, which is obviously something you can use on other platforms, too. However, they’re really most useful on Twitter and Instagram.
- On Twitter, when people aren’t tweeting links to things, they’re usually posting their thoughts and comments on current events. All these may get referenced through hashtags or with accompanying pictures, animated gifs, or videos.
- Twitter is very much in the moment – because it also shows its timeline’s tweets to people. What’s great about this is that people can see day-old posts or maybe even posts as old as a day or two – depending on how popular or relevant the post is.
- When you post on Twitter, a blog post, for instance, don’t just copy and paste the headline into your post. Your Twitter followers aren’t necessarily your blog readers. Make sure to add a little more context to the subject. Something that is relevant and makes sense. Clarify what you’re talking about – clarify things related to the subject you post. But still, leave a little mystery, so you get them to visit the post.
- Don’t blindly copy and paste titles, unless they totally work on their own.
- It is a platform where professionals hang out. In other words, people who are looking for jobs, have jobs but want better ones, or just want to show off how smart they are.
- The platform is created so that people could network with coworkers, friends, and other people in your target industry.
- When you set up your profile you generally write up your resume describing your work experience skills projects, publications, and whatever else you’ve got. For job seekers, this is an important kind of copy.
- When people write copy for LinkedIn they’re doing so in the hopes of impressing others professionally. They hope it’ll lead to a new job, a new connection, or a new client.
- Writing great copy on LinkedIn is especially important each time.
- Instagram is a social media app that allows users to share photos and videos, add captions, enhance photos through filters, engage with others, and more.
- Instagram has also branded ‘the image-sharing app.’ It is obvious that visual images share ideas and motivate users and followers instantaneously. Visual recognition and appeal are powerful tools.
- Created as a mobile app, Instagram is excellent for today’s busy/mobile lifestyle. In fact, it was designed for capturing and posting content on the go and users love this.
- Instagram is both a mobile phone app and image-centric, so posting becomes easy and fast. Also, the one-word captions that accompany many images and videos keep posts brief.
- Instagram is all about keeping things very simple. All you need to do is download the app and start posting images. That’s basically it. Then, search for what interests you.
- Instagram’s algorithm can also show us content that we may be interested in, or content that our friends and followers might like – which is fun. And it’s also fun to follow and connect with people you like.
- And let’s not forget the Instagram Stories. Over 400 million people use Instagram Stories on a daily basis. What are Instagram Stories? Well, simply put it is the Snapchat-like feature that creates photo and video sequences that disappear 24 hours after being posted. This is fantastic for the millions of business profiles on Instagram because as it turns out on average, one in five Stories gets a direct message. Oh, and what’s even greater is that when a potential customer reaches out to your business on Instagram, that’s a lead. Find out more about Instagram Stories and leads, here.
So, each time you write a copy for social media, you’ll need to understand the differences between each platform and write accordingly.
- Adjust your writing to match the audience’s expectations on each platform.
- Ensure your writing supports a goal for your post. Use your writing to make a case for something you want your reader to agree with or do.
- Compel your reader to take an action.
Note: Shorter posts on social media are usually more effective than longer ones.
When posting to social media, remember the basics:
- Create relevant, interesting, valuable, and easy-to-read stuff that people want to share every day.
- Get familiar with each platform you post on.
- Understand how and why people use each platform differently.
- Adjust your approach for each social platform when you post.
Let’s now jump into more details and examples!
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How to Write Copy for Different Social Media Platforms
Writing effective social copy can be challenging, sometimes even for experienced marketers. But as always, there are some smart tips and strategies that can help you write great copy on your different social platforms. And boost engagement.
Here are some strategies you can follow when you write your social copy:
Facebook is especially great for promoting things like blog posts, reports, or videos. However, simply posting a link without a description is not ok. It’s always best to add a brief, attention-grabbing copy that shows what the content you are sharing is all about.
You could also create a copy in the form of a question. A question that would obviously get answers from the blog or event you are sharing. Also, with Facebook, an excellent approach is to write copy that starts a conversation.
Here’s what you can do:
- Use your Facebook posts to build community and conversation.
- Ask questions like “What are you most excited about …. ?” (fill in with whatever you want to target with your specific post).
- Try different post lengths to see what works best with your audience.
Note: The best length for a Facebook post is up to 40 characters. That’s not much at all, but according to studies, it’s the ideal length you should go for in order to get higher engagement.
Check out some more tips on how to increase fan engagement on Facebook, here.
Copywriting Tips for Facebook:
- Write with your audience in mind.
- Ask people questions.
- Share some news and announcements.
- Update followers on upcoming events.
- Alert people about important things.
- Write simply and know your audience!
- Shorter updates are better.
- Clarify the value of what you share.
- You can also opt to write a teaser copy.
- Include mentions, and hashtags where you can and when it’s relevant.
- Use a fragment from the piece you are sharing.
- Highlight one interesting note or piece of data.
- Write a spoiler.
- You can add a video.
Starbucks is a great example of diversity, check out the two examples below:
One thing is clear: they always write with their audience in mind. Whether it’s presenting their products or appealing to emotions, they know how to engage with their audience.
When you’re composing copy for tweets, hashtags are a great way to express and summarize what your message is all about.
Here’s how your approach could be:
- Include yourself into the conversation by tweeting well-known, interesting memes.
- Comment on the right hashtags in a way that’s relevant to your post. However, try to limit your hashtags to one or two – as these tweets have a 21% higher engagement rate than those with three or more hashtags.
- Connect with your reader on the emotion behind your post.
Note: Although tweets come with a maximum of 280 characters, the ideal length for a tweet is actually around 120-130 characters. As it turns out, tweets with this length show the highest click-through rate (CTR).
However, even if your tweet is a little (or a lot) longer (or shorter) than 120-130 characters, if it’s relevant enough, it will get a lot of engagement regardless of its length.
Look at the examples below:
On LinkedIn, you can share longer, more thoughtful content than on other social platforms. LinkedIn is great for polished, professional content that you can also pair with longer captions that tell a story.
Here’s what to look for when creating copy for LinkedIn:
- Create posts about top industry news.
- Share interesting and inspiring announcements about your business.
- Add a quote from the article to pair up with the link you are sharing.
To hook your reader with your copy on LinkedIn, make sure to keep the following tips in mind:
- Create the right headlines optimized for LinkedIn – between 40 and 49 characters long.
- Make your posts visual – You should have at least one image in your post.
- But those without visual work just fine, too – as long as what you are saying has value, is interesting, and can bring change into the reader’s life.
- Create “How-to” and list-style headlines – keep in mind that a headline can make or break a LinkedIn blog post.
- Question posts on LinkedIn perform poorly – avoid posts where the headline is a question.
Yet, here’s an example where we clearly have a question and engagement is high:
So, we’ll just stick to our opinion: it’s extremely important to know what research says and work accordingly. But, also go for trial and error. Test and discover the type of posts that work and the type of posts that don’t work. You may get surprised at times.
- People like reading long-form content on LinkedIn – even 1,900 to 2,000 words long. But:
- Consider dividing your post into 5 headings in order to attract the greatest number of post views – use headings (H1, H2, tags) to break your post into easy-to-read sections – this will help your post perform well.
- Your content should be readable by an 11-year-old – check the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease test is a means of assessing the comprehension difficulties of English text.
- Promote your LinkedIn posts on other social networks, too – in case you are considering using other social platforms to promote your LinkedIn publisher post, keep in mind that Tweets have the highest correlation to LinkedIn success metrics.
- Adding videos or other multimedia assets to your LinkedIn posts is not a good idea – according to data including multimedia assets to your post will get you fewer post views. However, depending on the video you choose to post you can also get a huge engagement even when adding videos.
Here’s a great example of that:
Copywriting Tips on how to optimize your LinkedIn Profile
- When you sign up for LinkedIn, they ask you to fill in a lot of detail. Why? Because: The more detail you provide, the easier it will be for people to find you
- Personal headlines show up in search results – make your personal headline very clear so people would figure out who you are and what you’re all about.
- Summarize what kind of work you did – summarize the big responsibilities, not small details.
- Go for 3 sentences.
- Each sentence should be written like a bullet point (don’t need to write in whole sentences).
- Your job description should be filled with important keywords.
- Too much text won’t get read.
So, even if this has to do with your LinkedIn profile, you need to use your copywriting, editing, and summarizing skills and deliver a clear readable, and descriptive copy about yourself and your experience. It’s good practice.
A picture is worth a thousand words. So not many more extra “real” words are needed on Instagram. Being brief is key on this social platform. Your photos should simply speak for themselves, so choose them wisely.
And then there are the hashtags. How many hashtags should be used on Instagram? Well, opinions differ among experts. But… it seems that the ideal number of hashtags for Instagram captions is between 5-10. However, it isn’t always the case. So, you can’t really know exactly how many hashtags work best for you until you test it.
Key: Give yourself some flexibility for trial and error and keep hashtags close to the interests of your brand – be specific.
Instagram is mostly a platform for sharing photos and videos, therefore the main focus should be on your visual content. But, it’s great and even helpful to provide context that allows users to know what they’re actually viewing.
Captions need to be brief. Although Instagram doesn’t specify what’s the maximum number of caption characters, your caption will be cut off after the first three lines.
So, it’s recommended not to write more than 125 characters. If you are writing longer-form captions, make sure to include the most important information first. Try out different numbers of hashtags to use until you find the magic number that works for you.
Instagram post example: