Writing great copy for social media can be tricky when there’s no set formula, no one-size-fits-all approach. To start, great copy is subjective and entirely dependent on the audience. A style of writing that makes good copy effective for a food business’s Instagram account won’t necessarily make great copy for an advertising agency’s LinkedIn account. Their audiences differ, therefore so too does the tone they will respond best to.
However, there are a number of golden rules that can generally be applied across the board – such as establishing trust, authenticity, clear communication, authority and generating excitement. Social media copy that helps generate a social buzz and increased engagement, while honing in on the objective of the promotion, is the ultimate the aim of the game. This often requires taking the most interesting elements of your product offering and crafting a story that will appeal to your audience.
It can be tricky to balance pre-determined copy requirements with different audiences wants and needs. This is where we come in!
10 Top Tips to Help with Writing Great Copy
With these top tips, you’ll be a social media copywriting pro in no time.
1. Identify Your Target Audience
First and foremost, before you begin writing copy anywhere, you need to understand exactly who you’re writing to. Once you’ve identified the target audience, you can write the best copy with the highest chances of catching their attention. Writing generically could mean missing out on grabbing the attention of the people who are most important to your business. Whereas taking a more targeted approach can lure people in.
2. Define Your Purpose
When you go about writing your copy for a post or ad on social media, you need to have a clear goal of what you want to achieve with it. This goal could differ from account to account, but in any case, it should be the main focus of your content. For example, if your goal is to promote lead generation through social media, you will probably want to include a link and a call to action (CTA) that will lead users to a sign up form.
3. Make a Strong First Impression
The headline (or first sentence) of everything you write will naturally have the biggest impact on the reader, so make sure it counts. Try intriguing the audience with a personal question, or address some of their biggest pain points. Whatever you write, put your best foot forward first. The catchier and more engaging the better. Got a funny joke to make? Go for it. Want to hop on board the latest meme trend? Do it.
4. Write in a Natural Way
It’s 2022, and no one likes ads. With so much content to scroll through on socials, what are the odds that your ad or post will capture the attention of your target audience? A good way to go here is to keep the language natural and conversational, avoid buzzwords, and consider the humans behind the screen. Authenticity is key to building trust on social media, so in order to build a loyal following of trusting customers, you need to write with the most authentic voice possible.
One of the most natural ways to write is conversationally, which helps given that it’s also one of the most effective ways to communicate with followers. Imagine you’re speaking directly to a particular follower within your target audience. People respond better to conversational language than simply being told something in a lecture-like manner. Being talked at can feel condescending, being talked to can be engaging.
5. Keep the Audience Front of Mind
Expanding on the previous tip, you should consider communicating the product or service through their benefits and features. Why should consumers spend their money to buy/eat/enjoy what you offer? What are your target audience’s interests? How can you tap into the benefits they want to see in a product or service? All of these should be an important factor in your copywriting.
Different audiences have different pain points, and once you’ve identified the most relevant ones for your business, you can target them. Use the same language that the audience would use themselves when referring to the problem they face. Don’t overcomplicate it, just address their fears, dreams, ambitions, etc. while making them understand that you want to help. Or at least that your product can help.
6. Thesaurus is your Best Friend
Sometimes we need a little help when writing, and that’s okay! When you’re at a loss for words (quite literally), you can always turn to Thesaurus or other similar tools to give you some ideas and new ways to phrase your copy.
It could be that you’re trying to avoid being repetitive with your copy, or just that you want a more creative way to say something, or something doesn’t read right and it needs a little revamp.
Pro Tip: Use Power Words
7. Short & Simple Wins the Race
Sometimes you don’t need a thousand words to convey a simple message. In fact, shorter copy often performs better when it comes to both ads and organic posts on social media. Always try to simplify complex sentences, avoid confusing readers with multiple links, and be genuinely honest with the message you’re trying to convey.
Think about it this way: social media users are constantly scrolling and you have only a matter of seconds to grab their attention. The less work it is for them to absorb your post, the more likely they’ll be to pay attention. Longer captions require more work and can often result in readers scrolling on. The same can be said for complicated, overly technical language.
A practical tip to keep your copy simple is to use lots of nouns and verbs and keep things precise. Avoid fluffy, watery words that don’t add any value, which often tend to be adjectives. This gets followers to the point faster, rather than distracting them with filler words which may mean they get bored before they even reach the point.
8. Have a Clear CTA
You’ve written great content, and it’s almost ready to be posted, but there’s just one tiny thing missing – a direction. Every single piece of content you write must have a clear call to action (CTA). This directly relates to tip #2, as the CTA should accompany the purpose of your post or ad. Looking at the previous example, if your goal is to generate leads for a service, you’ll want to have a very short phrase or sentence that defines what the audience needs to do next (e.g., “Get Started”, “Start Now Free”, “Sign Up Here”).
9. Make People Feel Something
It’s all well and good telling your followers that your product or service will help solve their issue, but you need to make them feel it. Don’t just describe something, describe the reason behind it. Your job is to create a sense of a certain feeling, whether that’s empathy, excitement, alarm, or beyond.
How can you do this? You can use words to paint a picture that’s easy for followers to imagine. You can help them to understand the significance of your words by using context. Additionally, you can talk directly to your followers to make them feel personally targeted.
Another example of how to make followers feel something with your copy is to use imaginative language. No, that doesn’t mean inventing new words from your imagination. It means encouraging followers to imagine a situation that’s related to your product. For example, if you have a food delivery service, encouraging followers to imagine a convenient way to eat delicious food after a long day at work can be a great way to go. When writing social media copy, ask followers to “imagine”, “pretend”, “discover”, “explore”, “picture”, etc.
10. Throw Rules out the Window (Sometimes)
As long as you’re communicating clearly, you can afford to be creative with your copy. You can follow as many rules as you can find, but the bottom line is: you need to apply your own creative flair to be successful at writing effective copy. Sometimes, the more rules you stick to, the more boring your copy ends up.
That’s it! Good luck, and don’t forget to break the rules once in a while, because that’s what makes good copywriting truly great.
Good copy is most effective when you know exactly which target audience you’re communicating with, when you’ve defined a purpose, when you put your best foot forward first, when you write authentically, when you keep it short and simple, when you have a clear CTA, when you evoke emotions and when you apply a little creative flair.
Social media copy is a lot shorter. It needs to be snappy and engaging, cut to the point, persuasive, and essentially work a lot faster than long-form copy. Where social media copy tends to be more about generating engagement, long-form copy often serves to inform and educate.
Lital is Moburst’s Content Manager. She specializes in coming up with engaging ideas and research to capture the trendiest topics in the digital and mobile marketing world. She is passionate about productivity and optimizing your day, but you can probably find her playing video games while cuddling with her dog on the couch to wind down at the end of a long day.