To write effectively on social media, you must first know and understand your target audience.
This means understanding:
who they are
what their interests are
how they search
what words they use
what they like to read/engage with
how they use social media/ what they’re looking for
This way when you create content, you can keep a searcher's intent in mind. Because ideally, you want your content to be what your customer/client is searching for so that your content/website appears in their search results.
By knowing your audience, you can tailor your content to better fit their needs and preferences and begin to understand their pain points to begin to understand how to effectively write to them.
Download our free guide “Identifying Your Target Market for Small Business,” here.
Writing to your audience means doing things like establishing your tone of voice and the type of jargon or words and phrases that you will use.
For instance, there's a good chance that there is jargon within your industry that you are familiar with and is common knowledge to you. However, be mindful of the fact that the people you are trying to reach might be people that you also have to teach.
For example: "CTA." Some people might immediately know that this stands for "Call-to-Action," however, others may have never come across this abbreviation. To avoid confusion in writing, use the entire phrase when you first introduce it within your copy or caption, followed by the abbreviation in parenthesis. You only have to do this once, in the introduction, and then continue to use the abbreviation for the remainder of your copy or caption. For example, "call-to-action (CTA)."
One of the most important things to note when it comes to creating content for social media is that people look for good content that they can consume quickly. Social media users have limited attention spans, so it's important to get your message across in a clear and concise manner. Nowadays, people do not read, they scan.
This means you need to simplify the message.
Use short sentences, bullet points, and headings to break up your content and make it more easily digestible.
And if you struggle with eliminating words then practice breaking up text.
And this is because our eyes naturally grab hold of 2 to 4 words at a time and then convert those words into meaning, which is why a body of text looks heavy on the eyes compared to broken text.
For example, if you’re writing a caption for Instagram - you have ~2,200 characters to utilize. And whether you're doing a short-form or a long-form caption - breaking up your text will make it much easier on the eyes to read and comprehend.
The example on the left is much easier on the eye to read and digest than the example on the right, and this is because the text is broken up. Which means that it is much easier for the eye to be able to consume and comprehend (think "snackable" content).
One of the biggest mistakes that we have seen is people often use captions as the form of a 'mini blog' and it’s then extremely text-heavy, and the text is not broken up and it's then difficult to consume or digest, (which means people are more likely to continue scrolling or skim the text rather than read for comprehension).
Regarding the short-form or the long-form caption, you can certainly be successful either way. The goal is to remain relevant, add value and a call-to-action to tell people what you want them to do next -- and this will depend on the purpose of your post (which we will discuss in the conclusion).
Finally, if you seriously struggle with text-heavy content, consider replacing words with images or video whenever possible.
Introduction, Body & Conclusion
A simple way to think about how to approach writing for social media is similar to how you would approach writing an essay in high school.
However, we want to make it clear that writing for social media is much different than writing an entire essay. This is because as previously stated, people do not read, they scan. People look for good content, and good content is content that can communicate a message in an attention retaining way.
What this means regarding your high school English paper is that you want to approach writing for social media the same way you would approach your essay: with an introduction, a body and a conclusion.
But make it 'snackable.'
Your introduction doesn’t have to be long, but it does have to be captivating.
What is your hook?
Think about the things that make you stop your scroll when you're scrolling through your feed.
What are the things that make you stop and continue to engage with the piece of content?
Focus on one key message. Rather than trying to cover too many topics in one post, focus on one key message that you want your audience to take away. This will help your content to be more effective and memorable.
The body is where you want to keep it short and sweet. The goal is to cut the fluff and get to the point.
Let's use this excerpt as an example:
"If you’re new to small business and social media and you have no idea where to start, you might want to start here! Use these tips to help you create a professional looking photo for your bio that you can utilize across all social media platforms to keep the branding for your business consistent!"
Now let's eliminate unnecessary words to simplify the message while still getting the same point across:
"New to social media and in need of a photo for your Instagram bio? Check out this step-by-step tutorial for a branded and consistent photo that you can use for your bio across all your social networks!"
One of the most important things to include on all posts for social media is to use a clear call-to-action.
Every social media post should have a clear call-to-action, whether it's to click a link, follow your page, leave a comment or share your content. Make sure your call-to-action is easy to understand and actionable. You want to include and end with a CTA to inform your visitors what action you want them to take next.
No matter your goal, always keep your ideal audience in mind and how it is that they read and engage with your work. Also, the more market research that you do, the easier writing will become for you as you will genuinely begin to understand who your audience is and how they prefer to consume content.
To sum it all up:
Identify your target audience and understand their pain points.
Use a tone of voice and jargon that your audience will understand.
Keep in mind that people look for 'snackable' content that they can consume quickly, so break up your text and simplify your message.
Use an attention-grabbing introduction that hooks your audience.
Get to the point in the body of your content and eliminate unnecessary words.
End with a clear call-to-action to direct your audience to what to do next.
Interested in learning more? Book your Clarity Call with us today!
Chief Creative Officer