How to Write Effective Social Media Copy
The copy placed on social media sites such as Facebook is an important aspect of any marketing campaign — or it should be. Facebook has over 2 billion active viewers each month, and only a fool would ignore such a large audience, or give them stale, boring copy. Once a company is associated with crummy copy they become a joke on social media — and the loss of potential customers is enormous.
Smart marketing teams will spend just as much time, if not more, on creating quality copy for social media as they do for print media. A typo in a magazine ad is unforgivable; marketers should feel the same passion about bad, misspelled, ungrammatical social media copy. Farming it out to foreign sources just to save a buck or two and some time will bite marketers in the rear end at some point; when consumers see that a brand doesn’t take them seriously on social media, they in turn won’t take the brand seriously, and thus will migrate elsewhere with their purchasing power.
To make social media copy effective, always remember to follow these important hacks:
Decide what you want to say
Social media like Facebook and Instagram are insatiable when it comes to copy. New copy is needed on a daily, sometimes on an hourly, basis. The pressure to throw just about anything into the yawning social media void just to fill it up is tremendous, but it’s a bad idea. It’s desperate, and the desperation will show through to viewers. Decide ahead of time on topics that have appealed to consumers in the past and that have been researched and show to be of interest to target markets, and then lay in a store of quality articles ahead of time. The mad rush to get something, anything, onto a social media site, will then diminish appreciably.
Don’t be afraid of reruns over crap
There will inevitably come moments when new quality copy is just not available. When that happens don’t turn to crap just to fill the gap. Either have the guts to say nothing if it can’t be said well, or, even smarter, pull up copy from six months ago and post it again, with some minor variations. Have confidence that good copy is worth seeing again.
Write about the customer, not about the brand
Show empathy and concern for the consumer, explaining how the product will help them with their lives, with their goals, with their dreams. Don’t cry up the brand as the Seventh Wonder of the World, but instead keep it realistic and relatable to the potential customer. Selling shoes, for instance, isn’t about the brand — it’s about the customer’s feet, and about their fashion sense. Use every bit of marketing data and analyses available to discover what makes the customer tick, not what makes the brand sound supernatural. If you need to hire a copywriter at any point, this would be it; figuring this out is alot trickier than it seems.
Cast a wide net
The social media audience is among the most diverse in the world. It includes all shades of political, religious, financial, national, gender, and age dimensions. Posting copy that excludes any particular group is folly. While targeting an audience is a basic marketing principle, ignoring any chance to interest a new group or niche is like cutting your nose to spite your face. Is there any group with money to spend that a marketer should refuse to market to? Of course not! So use a lot of ‘sniper’ copy — copy that targets small exclusive groups.
Keep it relevant
Share only the most important and pertinent information with viewers. There’s no room for shaggy dog stories or boring lists or flashy, meaningless graphics. Don’t try to entertain viewers, just inform them with the basic and memorable facts about the product or brand. Treating them like adults will result in them spending like adults. Ask questions up front to get them interested and engaged.
Key message first
It’s always fatal to start with a company or brand history. Get over yourself; the consumer wants to know only one thing upfront — “What’s in it for me?” Answer that question in the first paragraph of copy or get out of the way while a competitor nabs all the traffic by doing just that. Tell people how to save money or feel better or look better or do better in the very first sentence of copy. Every. Single. Time.
Keep it brief
If it can’t be said in twenty words or less it’s bad copy.
Active verbs, please
Run to your laptop. Pound out some copy. Leap up from your chair. Dash into your boss’ office. Shout that your copy is now alive with active verbs. Skip back to your desk. Keep exploding with new copy. Destroy the passive voice in every piece of copy from now on.
Bite size is best
When there’s a lot of information that just can’t be edited out of the copy, break it up into more digestible pieces for readers. Use bullet points, numbers, graphs and charts — anything but a long, stodgy paragraph that reminds readers of their college textbooks that they hated so much. Remember, relevant graphics are worth a thousand words.
Write like you talk
Effective copy is always conversational, simple, direct, and positive. Pretty much like regular conversation. If you’ve never heard a word or a phrase in a conversation, don’t put it in your copy. Period. Many top marketers find that using a voice-to-text app is extremely helpful and saves time when writing good copy. And don’t equivocate. It’s always good, clean, fun, economical, or healthy — never ever sometimes or occassionally.
Finish with a dynamite CTA
An effective Call to Action separates the sheep from the goats in the marketing game. Once the viewer is informed and excited about the brand or product it’s time to strike while the fire is hot — get them to commit by supplying contact information, signing up for an email newsletter, or (best of all!) purchasing something. A viewer who won’t do anything or commit to anything is still just a potential customer — and not a very good one at that. And once a consumer responds to your CTA make sure that every single step from then on is nothing but positive reinforcement for the prospect.