Social Media Copywriting That Actually Engages: An Action Plan
We provide five strategies to help you craft compelling posts guaranteed to get the interactions you planned for.
Here’s the scenario. You’re a busy marketing manager for a local business—let’s say a trendy high street eatery—and your boss is keen to get more customers through the door to make up for two years of low to no business. (Ugh, COVID, am I right?) You’re well aware that social media is the place to get exposure, so you use what little time you have to start crafting what you think are compelling posts with on-point social media copywriting and imagery. You excitedly schedule them to post on the company’s Facebook and Instagram pages, and… No one likes them. No one shares them. No one comments on them.You’re clearly doing something wrong, and maybe it’s that your knowledge of what’s needed for compelling social media copy is lacking. Did you know that 92 percent of consumers surveyed by OneSpot said they want their social posts to tell a story? Or how about the fact that 30 percent of users still want to engage with text-based posts on social media, despite the popularity of images and especially video in the 2020s. And remember, there’s a vast difference between writing copy for websites and social media. If you’re keen to up your social media copywriting game to maximize engagement, read on.Incorporate the “Super Mario Effect” into your posts. Instead of just taking (attention, time, or money) from your followers, offer them a reward for engaging with you. This could be in the form of a discount coupon or simply allowing followers to express their opinion in a comment or poll. Another oldie but goodie is Raymond Loewy’s MAYA (Most Advanced Yet Acceptable). Here, you provide your followers with something familiar yet surprising, subtly giving them the novelty they crave. The P-A-S (Problem-Agitate-Solution) method also works well for social media copywriting. Basically, you identify the problem you’re trying to solve, highlight any pain points the customer might be experiencing, and provide the solution—your product or service. People respond best to copy written in the second person (you, yours). A 2017 study found that “the inclusion of second-person pronouns in online brand messaging enhances consumer involvement.” This works exceptionally well for followers living in countries that embrace individualism—like the USA. Be sure to use active rather than passive voice, too. Once upon a time, marketers simply promoted their product by explaining its best or unique features and telling the customer where they could buy it. Today, marketers know better; they’re channeling the ancient art of narrative copy (i.e., storytelling) to craft social media post copy that captures attention and makes people read on. See some examples of real-life social media storytelling.Even if conversion isn’t your goal, you can include a CTA encouraging engagement. Some that the VO team like include:As novelist Terry Pratchett once said, “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” And while he was talking about writing fiction, the idea applies to social media copywriting, too. After all, you’re telling your followers a story—no matter how small—about your product, service, or brand. So don’t be shy to write and rewrite your copy until you’re satisfied it will hit the mark. If you’re crafting an ad, embrace options like A/B testing to help you refine your text. Lean on peers or friends, asking them to review your drafts and offer suggestions. Of course, all of this is a lot of work for even the savviest marketer, CMO, or a business owner. If you already have too much on your plate, why not consider outsourcing your social media copywriting to Viral Octopus? It makes sense for your finances and efficiency. Book our Copywriting & Graphics for Social Media Ads – Top 6 Platforms gig, and tap into a powerful marketing tool. Our handpicked, expert strategist, copywriter, and designer team will ensure your social assets are packed with iterative experimentation and the novelty they need to get the likes, clicks, and shares you need. Let’s evolve together!
Action 1: Spend Time on Definition: Goals and AudienceBefore putting your digital pen to paper, sit down and review your objectives. You need to know what you hope to get out of your social media posts, from engagement to conversions, and who you hope (or know) will see them.
Goal definitionDecide in advance what type of engagement you want out of each type of social post you plan to craft. Are you going after simple likes and shares, or do you hope to get customers to comment or click? Be sure to align these goals with your overall marketing strategy: growth, awareness, conversion, and more.
Voice definitionIf you haven’t already, consider what kind of voice you want your brand to have. Is your brand relaxed or chatty, serious or savvy? The brand personality will dictate your style of copy and word choice.
Audience definitionChoosing a “campaign first” approach is a mistake that so many marketers make. While it’s essential to know the why behind your social media posts, the who is even more important. Your followers or target audience are the people your posts speak to. You need to know:
- Your audience demographics (age, location, gender, salary, education, etc.)
- The size (or potential size) of your audience
- The social channels your audience prefers
Action 2: Use a Framework to Help You WriteIf you’re not sure how to start in terms of laying out your post copy, it can help to channel a tried-and-tested writing or marketing strategy.
Action 3: Never Post Without a CTAA 2018 study by Unbounce found that landing pages with a single, clear CTA converted almost 14% more often than those without a CTA or with multiple CTAs.
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Action 4: Get “Wobbly” With Your Spelling and Grammar
“My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling, but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-PoohGood spelling and grammar have been forced on us since our earliest days at school. And that’s certainly not a bad thing. Books, newspapers, whitepapers, even website articles require correct syntax and diction. They should be typo-free. But a social media post is a very different medium. The style of social media writing resonates far more with the gist of the above Milne quote. In other words, grammar and spelling are somewhat flexible in a social post. Embrace acronyms and abbreviations. Shorten words like you would for a text message. Replace specific phrases with emojis! There are a few caveats, however. Your message still needs to be clear and make sense to the reader. And you need to match your style to the platform you’re publishing on. Facebook, for example, requires a more polished copy, whereas you can get away with all sorts on TikTok.