Brent Barnhart
July 26, 2018

8 Creative Copywriting Tips for Social Media

Sharpen your wit and learn how to master the art of creative copywriting for social media with our 6 tips to write better posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. We share simple strategies that you can use for your brand to write better social media copy. Read on!

Master the art of creative copywriting for social media with these eight tips. 

Below we share simple strategies that you can use to write better social media copy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.

Read on to make your next social media marketing campaign unstoppable!

Most social marketers don’t think of themselves as copywriters. 

That said, the ability to craft captions that get people talking is make-or-break these days. After all, anything businesses can do to score engagement against fickle social algorithms is a plus. 

In an era where half of all online revenue is influenced by social selling, the ability to craft compelling copy has a direct impact on your company’s bottom line. 

The problem, though? What constitutes “quality,” high-converting copy isn’t always crystal clear. 

Unlike social photos where filters and apps can do the legwork for us, we’re stuck relying on our own brainpower to write captions that kill it. 

Whether you’re selling products or just putting your brand on the map, stepping up your copywriting game should be a top priority.

The good news? Writing copy for social media doesn’t have to be complicated. 

In this article, we highlight eight creative copywriting tips to make your company’s social captions must-reads. 

No matter what type of content you’re pushing to your followers, these tactics can help you score more clicks, likes and shares without starting from scratch.

A Quick Crash Course in Social Media Copywriting

It’s important to understand that writing for social media is a totally different beast to a blog post, ad or email. 

Not only are character limits on social media tight, but you only have a few seconds to win your readers’ attention. 

In fact, research by Facebook shows that the average attention span for video content on desktop is 2.5 seconds. On mobile devices, it’s only 1.7 seconds. 

On social media, you also can’t push too hard for a sale because you’ll risk looking like a spammer and potentially losing followers.

This is why copywriting for social media is all about finding a balance between personality and promotion.

The focus should be on creating an engaged online audience, nurturing customer relationships and generating leads. 

Now that you have a better idea of what social media copywriting is, let’s take a closer look at some of the best ways to boost engagement and connect with your brand’s followers.

1. Craft Goal-Centric Copy

Many first-time marketers think they can just add any old caption to their social media post and get a positive response. 

There are brands out there with hundreds of thousands of followers whose posts are met with crickets because they’re just, well, there. 

Each time you hit “post,” you need some sort of big-picture goal in mind. For example, which of the following are you trying to do across your social media marketing campaigns?

  • Raise brand awareness and establish your social voice?

  • Funnel followers to your store or a specific product page?

  • Gain followers and influence within your industry?

Although there is no “right” answer here—you may be trying to do all of the above—knowing what your end-game is makes crafting your posts so much easier. 

Selling directly via a social media platform is a delicate balance. Brands like Roxy get insane amounts of engagement on product-centric posts like the one below.

But of course, that’s not all they’re posting. 

In the example below, you can see how Roxy is able to achieve their goal of promoting their products without relying on a hard sell.

Having big-picture goals is a win-win as you keep your own content calendar diverse, all while not hitting your followers over the head with promotional posts all day. 

When you know what you want people to do in terms of a response, encouraging them to make it happen becomes second nature.

However, you can’t do this without understanding who your audience is first. 

2. Get to Know Your Audience

One of the secrets to successful content writing is knowing who your audience is and what their needs are. 

This will allow you to make more informed decisions about which posts, language and visual content will resonate with your company’s followers.

A good starting point is gathering demographic information about your target audience. This could include their age, gender, education or income level. 

You can get this data through your social media management tool (if your company uses one), customer database or Google Analytics. 

Or you could speak to your target audience directly—either through your day-to-day customer service interactions, an email marketing survey or by cold calling them.

It’s also important that you continuously monitor your social media analytics to create detailed customer profiles for your buyers. 

This information will help you improve and pivot your social media strategy based on the changing needs and interests of your customers. 

Not only will this ensure that your followers continue to engage with your social media content, but it will also help you see where you could attract new customers. 

3. Use Your Captions as Calls to Action

Many brands totally flop when it comes to telling their followers what to do. Think about it. Each and every post is an opportunity to engage with your audience. 

If you aren’t giving your followers the opportunity to respond, you can’t be too shocked when they don’t engage with your posts. 

On the flip side, including some sort of call to action is a subtle way to pique people’s interest. 

For example, a new sale or a fresh piece of content is the perfect opportunity to invite people to check out your bio link.

Meanwhile, this tag-a-friend post from RedBubble proves that calls to action don’t have to be all business.

Engagement on your posts in any form spells good news.

If someone is willing to drop a comment or tag someone in the post, you’ve already won the hard-fought battle of grabbing their attention.

The takeaway here is that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for engagement. It’s more effective to explicitly tell your followers what to do rather than expect them to read your minds.

4. Don’t Overdo the “Hard Sell”

It almost always pays to be subtle when it comes to social selling. Minus global brands, you’ll very rarely see marketers try to push products directly. 

While sales and discounts are a great way to create engagement or encourage your followers to take a particular action, they can quickly grow tiresome.

This is especially true when marketing to boomers, who are a bit more sceptical about buying via social media. 

Among other reasons, this is exactly why influencer marketing is all the rage right now. 

In one survey, 90% of people revealed that an influencer motivated them to make a purchase via Instagram. 

By blurring the lines between promotion and organic content, influencers provide a brilliant avenue to show off products without being salesy. 

Playful captions and hashtags have much more mileage than a post reading, “Hey, buy this bikini!”

Meanwhile, copy that shows off user-generated content and regrams is another smart strategy for removing the sales pitch from your captions. 

Tagging other brands or users in your captions also serves as social proof, if nothing else. 

This post by Samsung Australia is a shining example. 

The company shows off the capabilities of their product in the wild while encouraging future tags from followers.

Social media copywriting is all about finding opportunities to sell your products or services through your content—without actually promoting it as such.

5. Always Be Conversational

The whole purpose of social media is to connect and engage with other people in a digital environment.

While keeping your brand’s voice in mind, make sure that the tone of your captions is inclusive and engaging for all of your followers. 

When your writing is friendly and informative, you’re far more likely to build a relationship and trust with your followers. 

Not only will your social media presence be perceived as relatable, but you’ll also keep your followers more engaged with your posts. 

Let’s take a closer look at this in practice with the Nike example below.

By using an approachable tone in their copy, Nike is able to draw on a common pain point for many runners—all while promoting a new product. 

The use of informal, friendly language establishes trust by showing followers that the brand understands what their customer’s needs are and engages with them on a personal level.

6. When in Doubt, Ask a Question

Looking for a simple yet effective way to encourage more engagement on your social media channels? Ask your followers questions. 

This is one of the easiest ways to elicit a response from people with minimum effort. 

This is because questions tap into people’s natural curiosity while also serving as an opportunity for followers to show off what they know. 

For example, a question-based headline or preview might speak to an important issue on your followers’ minds.

Or you could take a more laid-back approach to asking questions. This post from Virgin Australia created a heated debate in the comment section.

In essence, questions spark conversations which lead to better engagement with your social media platforms. 

This is a positive signal for your brand and social algorithms—both of which go a long way in building a strong online presence. 

Besides, polling your audience is so easy that it’s something you can do time and time again without them getting sick of it.

7. Choose Your Hashtags Wisely

Hashtags are a great way to direct more traffic to your social media posts. 

By allowing you to make your post searchable and capitalise on trending topics, a well-placed hashtag can make a huge difference in terms of reach. 

For example, piggybacking off of humorous hashtags has become a staple for marketing to millennials. Sometimes all it takes is a single tag to get people talking.

Likewise, specific community hashtags (#MeatlessMonday, #FoodPorn) can help reinforce that you’re speaking your audience’s language.

Before you get started, make sure that you research compelling hashtags to add to your social media captions. 

Otherwise you risk using hashtags that aren’t relevant to your brand or audience—which defeats the point of trying to get your posts in front of your customers.

Follow a Less Is More Approach

There’s little consensus about how many hashtags businesses should use on their posts.

Although Instagram allows users to add up to 30 hashtags on their posts, some studies say that using 11 is optimal for engagement. 

Others suggest that engagement tends to drop if posts contain more than three to five hashtags. 

We recommend following a less is more approach. This means only adding hashtags that are relevant to your audience and won’t detract from your caption. 

To find out more about how you can create the perfect hashtag strategy for your business, take a look at this post. 

8. Tap into Some Power Words

The concept of “power words” is as old as marketing itself. These are the kind of words that set off fireworks in your brain as soon as you see them.

And just like old-school copywriters relied on tried-and-tested terms to get people talking, the same rules apply when writing for social media. 

Here are some prime examples of power words: 

  • Best, Worst (anything taken to the extreme)

  • You (often cited as the “sweetest sound” anyone can hear)

  • Free (still a strong as ever)

  • New, Fresh (people are always on the hunt for “next big thing,” after all)

So, what do these terms look like in action? Let’s take a closer look. 

“Wanna avoid the online shopping traps that'll slice your wallet apart?” is both a brilliant question and a great example of using extreme, striking copy (“traps,” “slice”). 

This “you-centric” post also immediately connects followers to the brand and its products, establishing a sense of loyalty.

The post below manages to be both extreme and you-centric, highlighting “the only mascara you’ll ever need.”

As you can see, sometimes just a word or two is all it takes to turn an otherwise ordinary post into something worth getting hyped about. 

And with that, we wrap up our list!

How Are You Making Your Social Copy Count?

Encouraging followers to click through your captions doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. 

Whether it's a tweet, an Instagram or a Facebook post, these social media copywriting tips can be applied to just about any content across any campaign. 

At the end of the day, finding ways to engage your followers is ultimately what sets brands apart these days. 

The more likely you are to craft captions that encourage action, the less likely anyone will be able to miss out on your next post.

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