The ever-changing social platform algorithms make it increasingly harder to generate engagement with your social media posts. By applying some simple writing tips, however, you can make your message more appealing to more people.
If you invest time, effort and money into posting on social media, I'm sure you want to get a good return on your investment. That return should see you meeting, or exceeding, the goals you've identified for each platform - but if you post without a social media strategy, which outlines how each platform will help you accomplish your business goals, many of your efforts will be wasted.
Having a social media strategy and action plan, based on your unique business goals, resources and available time, is essential to your success.
Yet even with a well laid out action plan, you still need to create social media posts and content that speak to your identified audience, and inspire them to take action.
In this post, I'll share seven social media content writing tips for creating posts that get the attention of your target audience, and inspire engagement.
1. Do your research
If you want your audience to notice and engage with your social posts, you need to make them highly relevant to your target group.
The more relevant your posts are, the more success you will have - but relevance, in general, is not enough. You need to take the time to truly understand your audience. Start with the general demographic information and then go deeper.
What needs, obstacles or challenges do they have? Pick a need or challenge that might be a high priority for them right now, then develop content and social media posts which provide them with a solution.
PRO TIP: To connect with your audience on an emotional level, share success stories from your previous satisfied customers. This will help them envision their own success as a result of using your product or solution, and make them feel positive about you.
2. Speak their language
Take your research further and learn what language your ideal clients use to communicate their needs or challenges. Use this language when writing your posts to ensure your content resonates with your audience. This will help to show them that you truly understand them and their challenges.
For example, a post you write on LinkedIn for senior-level executives will read very different to a post you write on Facebook for new moms. Not only do these two groups of people have different challenges and points of view, but their language – the exact phrasing they use to speak about their needs and challenges – differs significantly also.
3. Develop your voice
Although you should write social media posts in the language of your target audience, the overall message should be written in your own voice.
Your voice (or your brand voice) refers to the personality and emotion infused into all your marketing activities and social interactions online - you create that voice with the language and tone you use when writing your content or interacting with your audience.
This voice is primarily influenced by your or your company’s personality - your 'why' story and the language used by your ideal customers.
This voice needs to be consistent throughout the content you create and the posts you share on social platforms, as well as any engagement you have on those networks.
This consistency will help your audience connect with you emotionally, as well as build trust, and identify your social media posts as yours.
4. Be positive
This doesn’t mean every post needs to be happy - there's a huge difference between positive and happy. You want your audience to be excited, and inspired by your posts, and that doesn’t always mean happy posts.
In some of your posts, you may choose to share your opinion or take a stand on something important to you and your brand. But there’s a difference between taking a stand and attacking or criticizing others.
A lot of schoolyard-style bullying happens on social media. Don't engage with it.
Whatever you do, avoid criticizing anyone (or any business) publicly. Criticizing others is not only unprofessional but also dangerous - it can draw more negative people to your page, and can hurt any trust or credibility you've built with your existing followers.
5. Keep it short and simple
People value their time. If you want your audience to give you their attention, you need to show that you value their time also.
Great ways to do this include:
- Making your content and posts easy to read by writing at an eighth-grade reading level
- Using headings, bullets and lists where possible to make your content or posts easier to scan
- Keeping paragraphs to only two or three sentences
- Being as succinct as possible when writing on your topic
6. Use images and videos
Use images, graphics and videos to tell a story where possible. Visual content is more engaging, and can often tell the story quicker and more succinctly than words alone. In fact, an image or video can often stand alone in social media posts while still conveying the full message to your audience.
Keep in mind that video, in particular, can better enable you to connect with your audience on a deeper level. People respond well to video, as it can humanize you and enable them to get to know you more intimately.
Most platforms have live video features, which can greatly benefit you. An unscripted live video can make you feel vulnerable, but that vulnerability will give your video a level of authenticity, which is often lacking in high-quality marketing videos. Those slick marketing videos are more likely to be ignored than a live video featuring you authentic self.
For best results, optimize each piece of visual content for the platform you're posting it on to ensure your message is being shared, and that you look professional.
7. Add a call to action
At the end of your content or social posts, consider prompting your audience with what you action you'd like them to take next by including a call to action (CTA). Without one, most people won’t take any action after reading your content, even if they enjoyed it and derived value from it.
CTAs come in different forms and have different purposes. For example, you can motivate your audience to take actions with these CTAs:
- Ask them to like or share your social media posts
- Ask a question they can answer in the comments
- Direct them to another piece of content
- Send them to a landing page
- Direct them to your website
- Get them to subscribe to your newsletter
- Ask them to connect with you on other social media channels
Increase your success with these social media content writing
The competition for your audience’s time and attention can be fierce. The secret to being successful is to not compete, but rather to set yourself apart from the crowd by creating and sharing content and social posts your audience will want to consume.
You can bond with your audience over your content by ensuring that everything you write is created with their wants and needs in mind. Do your research and get to know who they are, and what they need and/or want most. Speak to them using their language, consistently conveyed in your brand’s voice.
Keep your content and social posts positive (not to be confused with happy), and ensure they're easy for your audience to consume. And look to add images, videos and CTAs to increase your content's effectiveness - and drive measurable results.
A version of this post was first published on the Top Dog Social Media blog.