The following is a guest post by Lesley Vos. Lesley is a professional copywriter and guest contributor, currently blogging at Bid4Papers, a platform that helps students and authors with writing solutions. Feel free to get in touch with her on Twitter @LesleyVos.
Here’s something we can both agree on:
When planning a social media strategy and writing social media posts, you want them to engage the audience and convert.
And this is where most marketers run into trouble:
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The need for crafting even more engaging social media posts arises in 2021. With conversational marketing, authenticity, social consciousness, and diversification in the top trends, content subject and its representation matter more than ever.
- It’s an opportunity to boost engagement and interaction, which serves as a sign for social media algorithms to rank your posts higher.
- It’s your chance to attract the right audience and convert them into loyal followers and customers in the long run.
- It’s a considerable opportunity to build a dedicated community and healthier relationship with your targets.
And while a visual representation of your brand on social media is ultra essential to hook users (more on this later), text content is that particular instrument that engages and motivates them to perform the desired action.
In this post, you’ll find out how to write social media posts to skyrocket engagement and conversion of your brand or personal accounts.
#1 Write for Your Ideal Target Customer
Jay Baer, a world-famous marketing specialist, once said:
“What if instead of trying to be amazing, you just focused on being useful? What if you decided to inform, rather than promote?”
These words nail out the nature of a perfect social media strategy to the core: The better you know your target customers, the easier it will be to write social media posts that will meet their needs and expectations.
A perfect social media post is one with the following criteria:
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- showing off your brand’s personality;
- encouraging readers to take action (comment, click, visit your website, etc.);
- providing added value to the audience.
To make it be like this, you need to go far beyond demographics and other “in-default” features of your buyer persona. Instead, please focus on their psychology, behavior, and pain points.
You need to know their needs, emotions, experiences, fears, and cultural backgrounds. It will allow you to understand their motivations and craft your social media content accordingly.
Just look at this buyer persona template:
Here we have motivations, frustrations, and character traits influencing that person’s ambitions and decisions. Once you know this, you’ll understand what words to use and how to format your social media posts so that your targets would perceive your message right.
Where to take information for your ideal target customer profile?
#2 Write With Intention and Added Context
When writing a social media post, please always think about the intention behind it.
What do you want to communicate with this post?
Do you want the audience to take any specific action? Are you trying to connect with them, warming your relationship? Or, maybe your goal is to share your brand personality and entertain your targets?
With a clear answer to this question, you’ll know how to craft a more engaging caption for your social media post.
Another thing to consider is your brand voice and tone. Suppose you haven’t yet identified it as a part of your social media marketing strategy. In that case, it’s high time to do that: It’s your instrument of communicating brand values and personality to the audience.
In general, social media users don’t expect a formal, academic tone (sure thing, everything depends on your industry and followers), so try to be conversational and friendly, and don’t be afraid of using a pinch of humor where appropriate.
#3 Start With a Killer First Line (Hook Them!)
The first sentence of your social media post is ultra essential: It hooks readers, motivates them to stop scrolling their feeds, and engages in clicking in to learn more.
It’s also a sure-fire way to boost the time users spend viewing your post, followed by better visibility and rankings from social media algorithms.
As we know, most social media shorten captions after a few lines, so the killer first one is what you need to focus on:
The trick is to deliver the most attention-grabbing element before the post gets shortened. The ideal variant would be to convey your key point right away and make it intriguing for users to feel they want to click “more.”
The most common trick content writers use on social media is a question. Asking something that triggers a target’s pain point, you encourage further reading in search of the answer.
Alternative social media posts openings to try:
- A surprising fact
- A quote from a celeb, an influencer in your niche, a celebrity, your CEO, or a member of your community
- An attention-grabbing expression to create a wow-effect in your post
- A joke or pun
#4 Tell Stories
Users come to social media for news, tips, and emotions. The best way to make them listen and remember you is to master the art of brand storytelling.
A human brain retains 70% of info through stories, and that’s the reason why brand storytelling is so powerful.
It’s about using a narrative to connect your brand to target customers, communicating its vision, values, and purpose through content. Stories help the audience understand who your brand is and how they can relate to it.
Brand storytelling works to capture attention, spark interest, and evoke a desired emotional response that will encourage your target to engage with you and take action.
By telling stories on social media, you’ll make users see the world through your brand’s eyes. They are about brand identity and authenticity. They make brands look more human through a personal connection with followers.
Followers should recognize themselves in your stories. So, master the art of narration and consider writing apps to help with structuring and editing it.
Brand storytelling is not only for extended text captions in your social media post. Don’t forget about video storytelling. Sometimes, the best way to engage users and make your content convert is to show, not tell:
Or, you can try visual storytelling. (After all, a picture’s worth a thousand words, right?)
#5 Add Value
The most convertible social media posts are those answering the “What’s in it for me?” question.
Creative and original, they should contain something able to make the life of your audience better. Think like a customer: Why, after all, do they need to read and engage with your social media writing? What do they get from it?
- A freebie?
- Practical tips that can help them solve any problem?
- DIY instruction?
- A how-to or a step-by-step guide on anything niche-specific?
- Advice that inspires and motivates to act?
Remember about the added value when crafting your Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn lead generation strategy.
When your social media posts provide it, the audience is more likely to engage with them. Give users a little something — and it can encourage them to give a little back: a thank you comment or share at the least.
#6 Include a Call to Action. Always
Let’s face it:
Hardly anyone will do something unless you ask.
Don’t hesitate to ask the audience to comment, like, share, click, tell, whatever. Call-to-actions are a must-have element of social media posts aimed at driving more engagement (read: conversions).
Here go a few types of CTA to consider for your social media posts:
1) Call-to-actions that drive engagement.
Ask a question, invite the followers to tag friends in the comments, try hooks a la “say hi if you agree,” and so on.
Not only will it make your community tighter, but it will also lead to more exposure for your social media post. (Remember about positive indicators for social media algorithms?)
Try to make your CTAs sound natural, easy-going, and conversational to encourage as many reactions as possible.
2) CTAs that bring more traffic to your website.
Invite users to visit your website or learn more about your product or services. Share direct links or encourage to check your bio or “About” section for the link to click.
In Instagram Stories, the “Swipe up” CTA is a must-try option for this.
3) Call-to-actions that motivate them to subscribe, download, or buy.
For even better effect, add a hook to your CTA for the audience to know what they gain by doing what you ask.
It may be something like, “download our free guide now to get a chance to win…” or “subscribe today to get our workshop on…”, and so on!
But that’s not all.
When writing longer social media posts, your CTA may get lost in the copy. To avoid that, use writing tricks to make it stand out: a bold font, CAPS, smileys to draw more attention to CTA, placing it to the first line, etc.
#7 Use Hashtags and Mentions
Not only is it great for social media promotion, helping you cover a broader audience and gain more followers, but it’s also a practical instrument to connect with customers and build relationships with influencers.
Plus, hashtags help you organize and categorize social media content.
The catch with hashtags is that you need to be strategic about their usage:
- The “most popular” hashtags a la #love, #food, or #dog won’t do much for your brand growth and promotion. Consider hashtags that have a community behind them.
- Try branded hashtags, those your followers are already using to show their engagement with you. Such hashtags are also great to inspire UGC (user-generated content).
- Don’t make your social media posts look cluttered with hashtags. Format accordingly: add all the hashtags to the very end of your caption, a few lines after the text, or write them in the comment section.
Featuring other users, brands, or influencers in your niche, remember to mention them in your social media posts. Therefore you’ll attract their audience to your account and let your followers check out their profiles too.
It’s all about reciprocal marketing, networking, and collaboration for mutual benefit.
Content shock and a short attention span make users ignore long, annoying posts full of marketing buzzwords or your professional slang.
To make them read, not scan, your social media posts, make sure to focus on conversational captions. For that, write like a human, not a salesy marketer or a robot:
- Use short sentences and paragraphs.
- Remember about active voice verbs and transition words for better readability.
- Appeal to consumers’ psychology: emotional writing tactics and neuro copywriting tricks can help here (include numbers, descriptive words, and stylistic devices such as contrast, metaphor, repetition, etc.)
All these work as mental hooks for the audience, engaging them with your message and willing to find out more.
#9 Format for Better Readability
Social media users scroll their feeds reflexively, so they’ll hardly stop to read a long sheet of text with no line breaks or spaces in-between.
The ideal variant would be to keep your captions short and punchy. But if you’ve got a lot to say, do your best to structure your text for better readability and perceptibility.
For that, use line breaks such as dots, dashes, bullet points, etc. They’ll make your social media posts more visually pleasing and easy to digest.
Another great way to hook readers is emojis. Don’t be afraid of using them where appropriate: They help break up long sections or direct readers to your call to action.
#10 And What About Visuals?
Writing captions with punchy messages and calls to action, you can’t ignore your social media posts’ visual part. After all, it’s the first thing users notice when scrolling their feeds.
Brand images, videos, infographics, collages – all they work for your brand’s recognition. And while they need to be visually attractive, your brand aesthetics, character, and tone of voice matter too.
Any secrets of crafting stellar visuals for your social media posts in 2021?
1) Use high-quality content with recognizable design.
Color gradients and in-feed color blocking are on-trend today, so why not organize your social media profile accordingly?
Gradients work great as backgrounds for questions, quotes, or memes you share with the audience. Color blocking can make your profile look more creative and professional:
Please remember the image size that works best for every social media and choose colors and tones to communicate your brand identity. Stay consistent and choose harmonious colors to achieve a cohesive grid.
2) Try text-focused images.
Another trend that comes from 2020 and continues growing is text-based images on social media. One of the most popular content types here is posting Twitter quotes on other channels:
Handwritten infographics, images with quotes, real-world references (billboards, newspaper ads, street signs), or sticky notes are the options you can try too.
3) Use interactive visual content.
Animated and interactive elements in your social media content kill two birds with one stone:
They engage users.
They please social media algorithms, boosting your visibility and overall performance. (For instance, stickers in Instagram Stories enhance performance 83% of the time.)
So, what to try?
- On Twitter, GIFs can be your weapon.
- On Instagram, try digital stickers and animations.
- On Facebook and LinkedIn, short videos and Questions and Polls are worth trying.
You can try other creative ways to entertain your followers. Consider gamified content (bingo, quizzes, puzzles, etc.): It’s a sure-fire way to involve the audience in communication.
High-quality and authentic social media content is your #1 weapon when it comes to brand awareness, loyalty, and trust.
For writing more convertible social media posts, marketers need to know all the needs, values, and pain points of their targets. It’s the only way to generate content that will engage, inform, and help to solve problems.
Now that you know all the tricks of writing and formatting social media posts in 2021, you’re ready to design top-notch content for the benefit of your business and its customers.
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