How to Effectively Write for Social Media
Updated: Apr 10, 2022
By identifying who your ideal audience is and understanding their pain points you will then begin to understand how to effectively write to them.
How to write to your audience means doing things like establishing your tone of voice and the type of jargon or words and phrases that you will use.
For instance, there's a good chance that there is jargon within your industry that you are familiar with and is common knowledge to you. However, be mindful of the fact that the people you are trying to reach might be people that you also have to teach.
For example: "CTA."
Some people might immediately know that this stands for "Call-to-Action," however, others may have never come across this abbreviation. You need to be mindful of this. In order to effectively do this when writing, use the entire phrase when you first introduce a phrase or term within your copy or caption, followed by the abbreviation in parenthesis.
For example, "call-to-action (CTA)." You only have to do this once, in the introduction, and then continue to use the abbreviation for the remainder of your copy or caption.
One of the most important things to note when it comes to creating content for social media is that people look for good content that they can consume quickly. Also known as 'snackable content.'
This is because attention spans are getting shorter and shorter.
Now days, people do not read, they scan.
This means you need to simplify the message.
And if you struggle with eliminating words then break up your text.
And this is because our eyes naturally grab hold to 2 to 4 words at a time and then convert those words into meaning, which is why a body of text looks heavy on the eyes compared to broken text.
For example, if you’re writing a caption for Instagram: you have ~2,200 characters to utilize and whether you're doing a short-form or a long-form caption, always remember that you want to break up your text and add value to the content that you are referring to above.
See examples below.
The example on the left is much easier on the eye to read and digest than the example on the right, and this is because the text is broken up. Which means that it is much easier for the eye to be able to consume and comprehend (think "snackable" content).
One of the biggest mistakes that we have seen is people often use captions as the form of a 'mini blog' and it’s then extremely text-heavy, and often with no real valuable information in it. Or the text is not broken up and it's then difficult to consume or digest, (which means people are more likely to continue scrolling or skim the text rather than read for comprehension).
Regarding the short-form or the long-form caption, you can certainly be successful either way. The goal is to remain consistent (relevant), add value and a call-to-action (CTA) to tell people what you want them to do next -- and this will depend on the purpose of your post (which we will discuss in the conclusion).
Finally, if you seriously struggle with text-heavy content, consider replacing words with images or video whenever possible.
Introduction, Body & Conclusion
A simple way to think about how to approach writing for social media is similar to how you would approach writing an essay in high school.
However, we want to make it clear that writing for social media is much different than writing an entire essay. This is because as previously stated, people do not read, they scan. People look for good content, and good content is content that can communicate a message in an attention retaining way.
What this means in regards to your high school English paper is that you want to approach writing for social media the same way you would approach your essay: with an introduction, a body and a conclusion.
But make it 'snackable.'
Your introduction doesn’t have to be long, but it does have to be captivating.
What is your hook?
Think about the things that make you stop your scroll when you're scrolling through your feed.
What are the things that make you stop and continue to engage with the piece of content?
Asking a question typically works here: "Did you know...?"
"How to Skyrocket Sales Using Instagram Stories"
"Here’s how you..."
"5 Tips to Boost Sales"
Here is where you want to make it short and sweet. The goal is to cut the fluff and get to the point.
Again, yes, you can include as much information as you need in order to get your point across. However, keep in mind to eliminate unnecessary words and break up your text.
Let's use this excerpt as an example:
"If you’re new to small business and social media and you have no idea where to start, you might want to start here! Use these tips to help you create a professional looking photo for your bio that you can utilize across all social media platforms to keep the branding for your business consistent!"
Now let's eliminate unnecessary words to simplify the message while still getting the same point across.
"New to social media and in need of a photo for your Instagram bio?
Check out this step-by-step tutorial for a branded and consistent bio photo that you can utilize across all your social networks!"
Also note how the broken text is not as heavy on the eye as the body of text above is (which makes it easier to consume).
One of the most important things to include on any and all of your posts for social media is the CTA.
Always end with a CTA because you have to tell your visitors what you want them to do next. And the reason for this is because we are so bombarded with content on a daily basis that we require direction.
For example, if you want to increase your following organically, you might consider including a CTA like, "share this with a friend," because a new set of a eyes on your content increases the chance of new people being interested in your content which increases their chances of following you. Or maybe you've noticed that your engagement has been pretty low recently and you want to increase it, then you might tell your audience to "comment below," or have them share their thoughts on your work.
No matter your goal, always keep your ideal audience in mind and how it is that they will perceive or read your work. Also, the more market research that you do, the easier writing will become for you as you will genuinely begin to understand more and more who your audience is and how they prefer to consume content.
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Chief Creative Officer