Bold Social Media Copywriting

Writing for Social Media: Bold vs. Bland

By Staff Writer
In June 3, 2014

Writing for social media has a definite learning curve. A significant part of being a community manager is learning to balance the sharing of brand-specific content with getting people interested enough to click, share and read said content. Besides the types of content a community manager can share, many who write for social media might feel limited by the constraints of their brand or the medium and unable to develop a strong social media brand personality. Every brand is a unique puzzle, but there are a few general ways to help improve your social media writing.

  1. Make it shareable

    One easy way to keep your social media writing fresh is to pay attention to what your target audience talks about and to join that conversation. If you share content that your audience already finds interesting, half your work is done for you. Here’s why: It’s far easier to sell someone on content they’re already invested in than it is to convince someone to pay attention to something they don’t care about in the first place. You can be a social media writing wizard, but if no one cares about what you’re writing, it’s a lost cause. Observe the types of posts/tweets that get attention from your audience. Pay attention to how they’re written, the hashtags they use (if applicable) and the type of content it is. It’s never okay to outright copy how others write for social media or to blatantly steal post ideas from your competitors, so don’t do that. But being observant is different from being a copycat, and observation can help you gauge the type of content and interactions that your audience responds to and provide a solid starting point on which to base your own approach. When planning content, observe the 70/30 rule. Aim for only 30% of your social media content to be branded content. For the other 70%, look to share the type of content I described above, things that resonate with your audience but are still relevant to your brand. Good writing on social media begins with good, relevant content. There are other aspects of shareability besides for identifying quality content. On Twitter, where character limits are tight, users often like to add their own flair to content that they retweet. This flair might include a short quip in front of the RT, a hashtag or another @ mention. Longer content can’t be shared as easily on Twitter and may lose points in shareability with some users. Always strive to say it as succinctly as you can without sacrificing quality.

  2. Bold doesn’t mean sensational

    If your Twitter or Facebook feeds start to sound like the cover of the National Enquirer, you’ve done something wrong. Right off the bat, avoid phrasing like “You’re NEVER going to believe this!” or “WOW this is INSANE!” It’s a cheap way to try and garner clicks and it just doesn’t work when you’re writing on social media, or anywhere, really. Sensational, click-bait headlines have been adopted by spam bots as their preferred method of trolling for clicks from naive social media newbies, and most people have gotten smarter than this. If you feel like you have to trick people into clicking on something you’ve shared, you need to reevaluate why you’re sharing it in the first place. Writing for social media should have substance and a well-defined voice. Use your wit, be concise, be clear and make your writing interesting. With so much malicious intent on the Internet, clicking a link can be risky (and sometimes risqué) business. Don’t overthink it: Clearly articulate what it is you’re sharing, but try to make it a little fun or intriguing. Reread all your writing for social media at least twice before posting and pretend to be one of your followers. If you can’t decipher where a link is going to take you or why you should click based on what you’ve written alone, start over.

  3. Talk with, not at people

    One of the first things to note when you start writing for social media is the word “social.” Your audience comes to social media first and foremost to socialize: To be entertained, to share opinions, to vent, to learn, to laugh and to see other people do the same thing. A brand that ignores this aspect probably won’t do well. Interacting with your audience is a key aspect of writing for social media. Did one of your followers post an article you liked? Tell them! On Twitter, retweeting cool content that others have posted makes them happy and fosters good feelings toward your brand. Commenting and sharing on Facebook accomplishes the same goal. Plus, now that they like you, they’re more likely to share the content that you share. Always try to phrase your content in ways that invite engagement, and avoid sharing everything in a matter-of-fact, closed loop way. There’s a world of difference between tweeting “Mobile #advertising continues to grow.” and “Looks like mobile #advertising is on the rise! Has anyone seen this firsthand?” It’s the same content, but writing it in a way that’s inviting and exciting shows your followers that you seek out their feedback and links their story to your brand’s. It’s also important to keep in mind that when you invite interaction, follow up on these interactions. You can write exciting questions all day but if you never respond to anyone, it shows that you’re being phony and don’t actually care if anyone engages. When you’re writing for social media, always make it a conversation, not a billboard.

  4. Pretend you’re writing a book

    This is my own personal recipe for social media writing for success so bear with me. When I’m planning content or pondering how to phrase something, I try to think of each tweet or post in the scope of the brand’s bigger picture. In terms of content, but also in terms of how I write. When someone is reading a brand’s social media feed, they’re basically reading the book of what makes that brand what they are. If you’re reading a book where the plot never changes, the writing is bland and the author seems bored, there’s no way it’s going to hold your attention. With the sheer amount of writing that goes into a social media account, it’s easy to lose track of what you’ve said in the past or to fall into boilerplate ways of saying things. Always check your feeds each morning to watch for unconscious patterns and I guarantee you’ll catch yourself falling into these lazy phrasings. Luckily it’s an easy habit to nip in the bud: Be mindful of the types of things you share and how you share them. At the end of the day, the goal is to make your brand’s “book” a good one. Ask questions, listen and make it a story worth telling.

    There’s not a foolproof way to become excellent at writing for social media, so be patient if it takes you awhile to find your step. The beauty of social media is that if something isn’t clicking with your audience, you don’t have to wait very long to find out and can try something totally different tomorrow. Don’t be a bore, don’t be overdramatic and always make it top priority to connect with the people who follow you, and you’ll get there.

Looking to make your social media writing even better? Check out our posts on copywriting for Twitter and our series on social media tips!

Staff Writer

So who is this mysterious staff writer? Could be anyone really, as long as they meet our very strict criteria. 1) Worked with us in one capacity or another. 2) Have something pretty interesting to say. 3) Want to use our blog to say it. See? Told ya they were strict!