As a fairly devout F. Scott Fitzgerald fan, I personally like to draft with his wise words in mind. He once said, “you don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” Which translates to: don’t create copy just for the sake of creating copy. Now, there’s no cookie-cutter equation to creating a Fitzgerald-like impact with social content, but there are a few best practices you can follow that will help you abide by his advice and create social copy that actually says something meaningful. Here are a few tips:
Think audience first
It’s a good rule of thumb for all content in general: write with your audience in mind. Let your readers guide your craft — why should your words matter to them? How does what you’re saying impact their business, their family, their life? Truly impactful writing makes a reader feel something – whether it’s compelled to learn more about a topic or excited about how a product can better their life. So, when you’re drafting copy, always keep your audience in mind as you create a tone, structure, and message for your content. For example, if your audience is largely IT professionals, make sure your social copy is succinct and informative, as these readers are usually looking for straight-forward technical insight. But if you’re writing for a consumer audience, feel free to be casual, fun, and relatable with your copy, since these readers are typically browsing social channels in a casual manner.
Summarize, then drive
Social media has become so popular because it provides users with quick and eye-catching snippets of information. Therefore, when drafting copy specifically designed for social, effective syntax and sentence structure are crucial in ensuring your content is not verbose, irrelevant, or boring. Treat your copy like a one-two punch. The first portion of the post should act as the ultimate summary; introduce the main idea in a concise and yet comprehensive way. Then, tell your audience why that idea matters. This can be easily accomplished in one to three sentences (my personal favorite is two). Also, don’t forget to always leverage words or phrases that create a CTA (call to action). A few examples of these include: learn, explore, see how, check out, etc.
The great debate: 140 vs 280
Brevity is important across all social platforms, but there’s been quite a bit of discussion specifically around desired tweet length, given the fact that Twitter’s character count has recently increased from 140 to 280. With this second helping of characters, drafting social copy for Twitter can almost be a slippery slope. At first, it’s enticing to use the space to supply more information – but more information doesn’t necessarily equate to more impact. Twitter users are coming to the platform intentionally to find quick and useful bits of information, so large paragraphs of copy will more often than not cause their eyes to glaze over a post. So, when it comes to character count, use 280 only as a resource to fall back on (if a post absolutely requires a few extra words) but still keep your copy as close to 140 as you possibly can.
Top it off with (the right) hashtags and tags
Now, all these practices will help your content earn brownie points with your existing followers. But it’s also crucial that you get your social copy in front other social media users beyond your current followers. To do that, leverage hashtags that fit naturally within your content and are relevant to the topic you’re discussing. That doesn’t mean you should hashtag every single word that you think may be remotely trending. Think of hashtags like the toppings on your ice cream — they’re best when they complement the flavor and enhance the taste. Additionally, be sure to always tag authors of any third-party publications you leverage in a post – they could retweet you and get your content in front of an entirely new audience.
In short: be intentional and efficient with how you construct copy. And remember, always think of your audience first. These are just a few high-level guidelines to keep in your back pocket as you draft your next social post – apply them to your social media strategy as you see fit. And when in doubt, just remember Fitzgerald’s famous words, “…write because you have something to say.”
Need help creating meaningful social copy? Don’t hesitate to reach out.