You’ve outlined your customer personas, chosen your platforms and now it’s time to write your social media posts. Before you begin writing for social media, familiarise yourself with the different platform constraints. For the most part, the official guidelines are not massively restrictive but there are some unofficial guidelines which make a difference when it comes to post-effectiveness.
To help you, we’ve created an easy guideline for:
Writing for social media: platform constraints
|Character allowance||63,206 characters (truncated at 140 characters)||33,000 characters (truncated at 477 characters)||2,200 characters (truncated at 125 characters)||280 characters (truncated depending on how many tweets are in the thread)|
|Ideal length||25 words||1 – 80 characters||138 – 150 characters||71 – 100 characters|
|Tool type||Business and professional focused. More for brand awareness. It is a good place to promote online courses and webinars that will improve sales and share work and relevant articles.|
More than 810 million professionals use LinkedIn
|Casual and community-focused.A Brand awareness tool. Can be used as a sales platform for product-based businesses.||A mainly brand awareness tool that is also used for sales, learning and community building. Focused on trends, influencing and hi-res imagery. Tap to shop has made this platform great for product-based businesses.||Aimed at culture, news and events. |
Fast-paced and real-time news updates.
|Platform purpose||Less of a sales tool and more of a tool used to build networks and form connections around similar and business interests. To master Linkedin, become a thought leader.||Salesy and chatty. All about engagement.||A fast-paced, image-based platform that can be salesy, informative, chatty, and casual. Niche-dependent.||Very little purchase intent. If your brand shares updates or is involved with news and sports or you are a personal brand, this is a place for you. This can be a risky platform as it is known for quickly deteriorating scandals with wide coverage.|
|Tone||Formal tone||Causal tone||Causal/ informative||Causal/ informative/ formal/ engaging|
|User age||Generally 21+ and in the workplace or interested in current affairs. 59.1% of LinkedIn users are between 25-34 years old||Older age groups are around 24+Main contributors are males between 25 and 54||Mostly younger age groups but ranges from 13 – +-65 years old. The majority of users are between 18 – 34 with a large number of users up to 54 years old.||25 – 34 years old|
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Writing a social media post
Before you start writing for social media, make sure you’ve clearly defined who you’re writing for. Find out all about creating customer personas and relevant content in our blog post here.
Now that you understand more about who you’re writing for, you want to show your audience that your service or product adds value to their lives. Do this by focusing on being the solution to their problems. Your audience probably has no shortage of them, so use that to your advantage.
Create customer problem statements and use them to inform your content. A customer problem statement combines your customer, their problem and the reason for the problem and elaborates on your solution and how it will be their shining light at the end of their tunnel. The statement helps you position yourself and helps your audience to understand the experience you are aiming to transform or the space you are attempting to enter with your product or service.
To create a customer problem statement describe the customer’s current conditions and situation, consider how they feel, how they’re being impacted financially or in other ways, and any other important details about their thoughts or feelings.
Customer Problem Statements in essence,
Who is this person? Anything that identifies your customer and gives you a clue of how this person is or what problem they might be facing.
I’m trying to…
This is where you place your customer’s action. What is it that your customer needs and tries to do?
What is stopping your customer from achieving their goal?
The cause of the impediment.
Which makes me feel…
As a result, your customer feels X.
Remember to keep your posts short and sweet
People usually skim social media. So, try to avoid writing long-winded and complex posts. You want people to understand your content at a single glance, which makes them more likely to engage with your content.
See those truncated notes in the table above. This means that at that character limit, your post will be shortened and a link to ‘read more’ for example will be added. You want to avoid this to avoid losing readers.
Place your main idea front and centre. Humans have (d)evolved to have a concentration span shorter than that of a goldfish. You’ve got to catch their attention while they’re on the scroll. Let’s say you’re launching a new product. You announce your new product and highlight its best feature in a post. Then, you add a link to the product page, which explains the product’s benefits in more detail. Remember when it comes to Instagram, your links will not work. You need to add a ‘link in bio’ note and use a tool like Linktr.ee to have a readily available set of links.
This is slightly different when businesses like agencies are writing posts with the aim of providing value. To create informative posts like this while avoiding drop-offs, use carousel posts and links to your blog posts. Not only does this increase engagement(swipes and saves) but also, when you write social media posts in this way, it improves website traffic!
Don’t forget a call to action
Your followers have seen and read your post or watched your story with interest. What now? Always include a call to action (CTA) at the end of a social media post. For example, you might want them to visit your website or follow your social media channel.
Examples of strong calls to action:
- Read More
- Buy Now
- Apply Today
Make your content engaging
Everyone loves to give their opinion. Use that to your advantage! Ask your followers open-ended questions they will enjoy answering to increase engagement on your post. This is not only great for your presence but knowing what your community thinks is an invaluable insight into your target market.
Ask your audience for input. Say you’re thinking of launching a new product. Why not ask your followers what they think and want? After all, they’re the ones buying it. Their input will allow you to create a product your audience is going to love!
In the beginning, even silly, simple quizzes and questions can be a valuable source of engagement that is needed to grow your audience and interaction. If you want more engagement, try to evoke emotion in your copywriting. There are two options for you to choose from: negative or positive emotions. Some brands thrive on controversy, while others use emotion to elicit a positive response. Whichever you choose, remember it should fit your brand image and language.
Always write social media posts in an active voice. Why? Because sentences in the active voice are generally shorter and easier to read. They make your writing clearer, as opposed to passive voice, which generally produces longer sentences. Here’s an example, ‘It was decided that prices are to be lowered’ immediately begs the question ‘by whom?’. Whereas ‘We have lowered our prices’ is a lot clearer and easier to understand and feels more personal.
Hashtags are somewhat misunderstood. On social media, hashtags indicate what topic your post is about and make your content easier to find. However, conduct some hashtag research first. Find out which hashtags your audience is using and use them wisely. The ideal number of hashtags is approximately 7 and never use more than 10. If you’re needing help with your hashtags, try best-hashtags.com
Practice makes perfect!
It’s okay if you don’t get everything right the first time. Just keep practising and be mindful of your audience. After all, they’re the ones you want to reach. In the long run, consistency will always win so don’t give up if at first, you aren’t seeing results.
We’ve compiled our top 13 tips to help you write social media posts. Download it for FREE here. (psst… we’ve also included in this guide, social media best first practices and a customer problem statement guide.)