Social media cannot be ignored and should be an integral part of your brand’s marketing strategy. According to HubSpot, 92% of marketers say social media is important to their business.
That doesn’t change the fact that social media management can be overwhelming. It can also be quite a struggle to find your voice on social. With so many changing pieces to the social landscape, I get it. When should you publish content? How frequently do you post? Will you be able to measure ROI well? Um, what exactly should you even post?
Technology exists for automating the process and posting the same content to multiple social channels but you really should not be posting the same messages to every single network. Different platforms have different audiences who want to see different things, after all. There are different peak times and varying character limits. And each social platform requires a different writing style. I’m here to discuss what the copy for my top four social media channels should look like. Keep reading for a guide on composing text for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Tips for Writing Content for 4 Different Social Channels
When you’re writing text for Facebook, it’s important to remember that 79% of all adults who are online are on Facebook. The social channel also has a high rate of usage among the 65+ demographic (unlike many of the millennial-centric networks, like Snapchat). So if that’s one of your target audiences Facebook might be a great place to focus your energy on.
For anybody marketing on Facebook, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Ideal status updates are 80 characters or less. In general, people don’t come to Facebook for long-form content.
- Less texts leaves room for great visuals. It’s been shown that posts that include images see more than twice as much engagement as those that are only text.
- Check your formatting. I don’t suggest auto-posting duplicate content across multiple channels. You know how you can share an Instagram post to Facebook straight from the native app? Or set up your Facebook posts to automatically post to Twitter? Yeah…don’t do that. You run the risk of including mentions (@user tags) that aren’t fitting for Facebook since many companies don’t have the same username across all their social channels.
- Facebook is especially good for promoting interesting external content like blog posts and video. Don’t just post a link and no description! Use the space (just not all 63,206 characters) to grab the attention of Facebook users. Try incorporating a question which the content answers. Or be punny.
Tweets have a maximum limit of 140 characters, not including images, videos, or quoted tweets. It turns out, though, that the ideal length of a post on Twitter is less, around 120-130 characters.
Hashtags are still an effective tool when you’re composing Twitter copy. They often summarize your messaging and are a good way to get discovered by users searching for particular topics. That being said, there is such a thing as too many hashtags. #Remember how for a #longtime #people were #writing like this, where #every #other #word was a #hashtag? No bueno. Limit yourself to one or two hashtags for higher engagement.
Instagram is a platform for sharing photos and videos so put a lot of your energy into the visual content. But every cool photo or video should also provide some context. Here’s what to consider when writing your Instagram captions:
- Each social network has a certain set of unspoken ground rules, faux pas you don’t want to make. For Instagram – it’s the hashtag use. Sure, Instagram technically let’s you insert up to 30 hashtags. But a word to the wise, don’t. Unless they are in your comment below the caption.
- People don’t go here to read long-form comment. A short, funny, to-the-point caption is all that’s necessary to get that double-tap. While Instagram doesn’t specify a maximum number of characters, it cuts the copy off it and inserts ellipsis after the first three liens. This means you should lead with the important bits and the calls-to-action. Hashtags (1-7), @mentions, and other details can be tacked on at the end of the copy.
- Posting a video? These usually are on auto-play but without sound. Use the description to encourage users to turn their volume up and watch your sweet video.
- Instagram Stories doesn’t have much of a character limit but since you’re overlaying text on visuals don’t write too much. The focus in Stories is on the visual content so don’t cover it up with a lengthy caption.
LinkedIn users can share business-related posts updates (such as job listings or conference attendance). LinkedIn is also an outlet for sharing original content. Ever since 2014, when the platform allowed all members to publish content we’ve seen a growth of LinkedIn as an powerful content distribution channel. Have a blog but don’t see much traffic? Try posting your content on LinkedIn as well.
Here, rather than a shortened version, the full text and images of your content can be shared. This means LinkedIn is the place to repost your blog content. Don’t forget to link back to the original post to drive more web traffic!
4 Best Practices for Writing Social Content, No Matter the Platform
1. Why call it social media? ‘Cause it’s social, which means you have to get personal. The social media world is where people connect with one another and where brands can connect with consumers on a real, personal level.
Being personal means you better ditch the stiff business tone of voice in favor for a more accessible tone that draws people in. Try using first-person pronouns, such as “I” and “We,” rather than constantly referring to your company by it’s full name. Address your audience directly in posts so they feel like you want to converse with them. And, always be authentic.
2. Shorter is almost always better on social. Be concise. Lengthy rants are never received well. Burying the lead or call-to-action rarely does you any favors either. Some social platforms have loose restrictions on their character limits but don’t use that as an excuse to go on an on in your posts.
Folks are less likely to stop mid news feed scroll to read a long caption and even less likely to click through to whatever you’re sharing. Draw people in with a question or short tagline that sparks their curiosity or appeals to some other emotion.
3. Don’t be one of those embarrasing companies who misspell easy words or make silly typod. (See what I did there?) Proofread, proofread, proofread! Spend an extra five minutes spellchecking your copy before hitting that publish button.
Your audience will thank you and you won’t end up on one of those “25 Worst Spelling Mistakes on Social” listicles.
4. Do I even need to mention how important it is to include visuals? Visual content is a must and luckily social media lends itself very well to such a thing. Visual content sees higher engagement rates than text-only content across all the major social networks. (Read our recent blog post on video marketing for more visual content inspiration.)
Get that copy perfected, throw in an accompanying visual and bam, you’ve got one powerful post that will attract, delight, and engage your audience.
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No matter the platform, producing personal, concise copy (that has been proofread and has an amazing visual to go alongside it) is important. In order to write creative, compelling content your brand will need to research your audience per-platform. The next step is to see how that audience data compares to platform usership data. Then you can determine how to repurpose content from one channel to another and attract more website traffic, audience engagement, and leads.