Having a strong social media presence is vital for businesses looking to foster brand awareness. With networks such as Facebook and Twitter being well established in the social media age, there is no better time to engage your customers across these platforms. In addition to being accessible, social media is simple to use and cost-effective. Moreover, it offers other benefits such as higher search engine rankings, increased website traffic and lead generation.
Like any tool though, social media must be used properly in order to reap its benefits. Too many businesses either don’t commit to a social media strategy, or simply don’t know how to write for social media. In worst-case scenarios, this can lead to a PR crisis which could cause considerable brand damage. To avoid these problems, we have provided some starter tips on how to write for social media.
ESTABLISH YOUR AUDIENCE & BRAND
Your social media content should reflect your overall business and marketing strategy (if you have one). Whether your business strategy is to increase your customer base or meet a sales target, your social media content should contribute towards this goal. If in doubt, step back for a moment and ask yourself as a prospective follower: Why should I follow this page? What’s in it for me? It’s also important to understand your brand and how you are selling it. It’s very easy to get caught up in the social media cycle and post random content which detracts from your brand’s key selling points. A brand messaging framework is a great way of nailing down your brand messages, while providing you a reference point for communication across multiple platforms.
COMPLETE YOUR PROFILE
This is the easiest part of your social media content, yet it’s often the most overlooked. It’s one thing to have a nice cover photo and profile picture, but as they say, the devil lies in the detail. Completing the ‘about’ section will make your profile more visible for those searching a particular category, as well as providing important information like your store hours and contact information. For prospective customers, a detailed and well-written page description provides credibility to your brand and hopefully, a referral to your store or website. In addition, it sets the tone for what prospective followers should expect (and gain) from your page.
FOLLOW A CONTENT PLAN
Now that you have a great-looking profile, the next step is to fill it with engaging content. There are so many factors that exist around posting content on social media, that it would be reminisce of you to not follow a content plan. A content plan gives you the flexibility to post around important dates in your business, as well as capitalise on ‘trending’ events affecting the wider social networking community. For example, many businesses are currently putting their own spin on the #MeToo movement.
FIND THE RIGHT BALANCE
Irrelevant content is one of the great pitfalls of not having a content plan. Likewise, posting too much or too little content detracts from the impact your content has on the audience. Again, finding this right balance comes from having a strong understanding of your audience and brand. When starting on social media, you should experiment with your content and find out what works and doesn’t work for you. One trend I found while being a social media manager were blog posts being more effective early in the week (Mon-Wed), while photos and multimedia were best suited to the end of the week.
The other aspect of finding balance on social media is the voice that you use. Although content requires a certain level of succinctness and detail, it’s important to infuse some personality into it. The last thing you want is to become a faceless entity. Being creative and maintaining a ‘human’ element on your posts is vital in fostering follower engagement.
KEEP IT SHORT & SWEET
With social media users often scrolling through their newsfeed in a matter of seconds, it is essential that your posts are succinct and catchy. Forty characters should suffice for a basic social media post. You can adapt the rules for longer posts, but try not to have any sentences longer than 15 words. Hashtags should be limited to 1-3 per post, with at least one being used at the end. As well as word limits, consider placing selling words at the start and end of each sentence. These words help sell your messages, and include words such as sale, love, bargain, opportunity, new, you, etc.
PROOF YOUR WORK
Before you post anything online, you should always proof you work. Is it factually correct? Does it read well? Even the little things, like grammar mistakes, incorrect information or using the wrong profile or hashtag can greatly diminish the impact of your content. You should also monitor your content once it’s published. What works? What doesn’t? What feedback (if any) are you getting? Having a balanced, yet diverse content plan can help you achieve your social media goals.