Writing social media copy for a brand is a lot like moderating a panel discussion at a conference. On one hand, you want to be informative, but you also want to guide the conversation amongst panelists so that they’re taking the initiative to discover and discuss the core aspects of the topic at hand. Creating compelling content will always be the best way to facilitate these conversations on social media, but the way you contextualize that content is what not only grows your audience but keeps them engaged. You accomplish this by creating a distinctive brand voice across social media platforms.
Only you know what really makes your brand tick, but here are some best practices to consider when writing authentic social media marketing copy.
Shortest Is Typically Sweetest
Tom Petty used to say that his songwriting philosophy was “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.” The same sentiment applies to social media. With nearly 80% of social media content being digested on mobile devices, your copy has to contextualize your post in a way that grabs your audience’s attention immediately. You don’t want to omit important details, but getting to the point quickly and concisely gives you a much better chance to hold their attention. Not all of what you write can be the social media equivalent of a three-minute song with an anthemic chorus, but you don’t want to try to write The Great American Novel in a Facebook post, either.
Don’t Be Afraid To Take Risks
The preponderance of advertising that social media users are subjected to can make it easy for them to want to detach and ignore anything that makes them feel like they’re being advertised to. With respect to Glengarry Glen Ross, you don’t need to Always Be Closing on social media. Humanizing your copy in a way that’s more conversational and less carnival barker can not only help you break through the interminable dross on social media, it can engender brand loyalty.
ah, the first day of fall! leaves begin to turn, the air crisps a little crisper, the echo of screaming eggs frying on the sidewalk fades…
— Denny's (@DennysDiner) September 22, 2016
A great example of a brand taking risk is Denny’s. Their Twitter feed is absurd, strange, and absolutely hilarious. They’re not constantly schilling for the Grand Slam Breakfast and they’re writing copy you’d never expect from a chain restaurant. On social media, you’re fighting to win that split second when people decide whether or not to engage with a piece of content or continue scrolling. Taking risks with your brand voice can be the difference maker that helps you win that battle.
Content is King, but Context is God.
Rarely will there come a time where you post something to Facebook that consists solely of copy. The most successful Facebook posts feature video, photos, or a link that’s representative of your brand. Your copy should serve as a way to contextualize this content in a way that makes the user more inclined to perform an action. Think about what makes your video, photo, or link interesting and hone in on what would make YOU want to engage with it. Whether it’s an interesting quote, an open-ended question designed to facilitate conversation or an emphatic statement to pique interest, your copy needs to complement your content in a way that makes it as desirable as possible.
Know Your Audience And Your Goals
Each brand is going to have a different objective on social media. When creating your brand voice, it’s important to identify who your audience is and what your ultimate goals are when interacting with them on social media. If your primary goal is to use social media as a sales generator, then your copy should extol the virtues of your product in a way that appeals to the audience you’re selling to. A bank using social media to try to get their followers to open a checking account is not going to write in the same tone as a burrito stand introducing spicy queso. Knowing what resonates with your audience is a key component of crafting authentic social media marketing copy.
The suggestions in this blog should serve as a starting point for finding your brand’s voice on social media, but you must never forget that you’re ultimately at the behest of your audience. Social media is designed to facilitate interest and conversation, and your audience will be the best resource for figuring out how that’s best accomplished. Learn from them, evolve with them, but most importantly, talk to them and not at them.