How to write content for social media

How to write content for social media

Do you ever wonder why some of your posts on social media perform better than others?

In this article, we’ll explain the formula for crafting a great social media post that’s GUARANTEED to boost your reach and engagement.

In fact, we’ve just used two of the most simple techniques in those opening paragraphs…

Have a goal in mind

Before you even begin writing your post, decide what it is that you’d like the outcome to be.

Are you trying to simply raise your profile or raise awareness of your brand, or are you hoping that your post will result in click-throughs to your website or people buying tickets to your event?

Having a clear goal in mind before you even begin writing will help you understand who it is that you’re talking to and enable you to craft your post towards your call-to-action.

Capture attention

Factors like style, length and structure all have a big impact when it comes to writing for different social media channels.

To capture your audience’s attention, you’ll need to adapt the way you approach writing for each platform.

Start with a good hook that clearly explains to the reader what they can expect.

A great hook or opening sentence is important to draw people in. This could be a statistic, like “40% of UK businesses find transport costs a challenge to trading internationally”, or a question, like “Are you struggling with rising container costs and shipping delays?”.

As online readers, we are constantly flooded with information, so our need to multitask and consume online data quickly and efficiently has left us with shorter attention spans.

So, you have one chance to stop that finger from scrolling; make the most of your opening line.

Keep it brief

By focusing on your target audience and the point you’re trying to get across, you can tailor the tone and content of your post to get the message across in the most appealing and engaging way.

Always remember, though, that the attention span of a social media user is short. Be clear, be concise and get to the point quickly.

Read your post through your audience’s eyes and try not to be too ‘salesy’. You should try to write content that is interesting and engaging, not just an unsolicited sales pitch.

Include white space

Writing for social media is different to writing an essay or a long-form article.

As we have established, social media users have short attention spans, so this means that they find it easier to consume information if it’s separated into easily digestible chunks.

On platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, we would recommend giving short bursts of information that are just one or two sentences long, and then using the return key twice to create a completely blank line before you start the next sentence.

This gives the reader the assurance that there isn’t a daunting block of text to read, and indicates to them that they could read it quickly without taking up too much of their precious scrolling time.

Some social media platforms, like Twitter, for example, don’t allow you to use the return key to add blank lines between your sentences, but in the case of Twitter, you can create a ‘thread’ of tweets that each contain shorter chunks of information.

Include CAPS

We’ve explained that the normal rules for language and writing don’t necessarily apply to social media posts.

As well as adding white space to spread out your information into more easily digestible chunks, it’s also common for users to DRAW ATTENTION to important words and phrases by capitalising them.

This method of EMPHASISING words in social media posts was borne out of the fact that, in most cases, the platforms do not offer any kind of advanced text editing capability (such as the ability to make text bold or italic or to change its colour).

We think that’s a good thing, by the way. Can you imagine the experience of scrolling through Twitter or LinkedIn where every single post used a different font, or people had the ability to make their text larger?

So now it’s become almost universally accepted that using CAPS to place emphasis on certain words or phrases is OK.

Just don’t write your whole post in CAPS, unless you want everyone to think you’re shouting!

Bonus tip: Use emojis 👍

Another way to place emphasis on or draw attention to a point or fact in your social media post is to use a relevant emoji.

This isn’t for everyone, and we would suggest using them sparingly, but a well-placed emoji can add an extra dimension of fun and creativity that encourages engagement 🏆

Include a call-to-action

To convert your reader from a passive scroller to an engaged audience member, you need to include something for them to engage with.

A call-to-action is a short question or statement designed to entice a reader to take a specific action.

In the context of a social media post, your desired action could simply be that you would like people to reply to your post. So, you could finish your post by asking a question that invites readers to reply and provide their opinion.

The call-to-action could be to ask the reader to click on a link, sign up to a mailing list, or enter a competition.

Whatever the call-to-action is, make sure that it relates to the rest of your post, aligns with your strategy, and works towards achieving your objectives.

Be consistent

Make sure you’re consistent in your writing style, so that when readers read your content, they immediately associate your brand or business voice with it.

A clear and recognisable tone of voice will help to establish a relationship with your audience and differentiate you from competitors.

If you’re funny, be funny. We’re not saying that personalities aren’t allowed. In fact, posting humorous content often encourages engagement from readers.

Just remember that whatever you post will reflect on your business and your brand as much as it does you personally.

Try writing down the attributes you want readers to associate with your brand, such as honesty and enthusiasm, and always write with these qualities in mind.

Use images or video

We should probably have included this earlier in the article due to how important it is, but we figured that in an article about ‘how to write content’ we should probably focus on the words first.

If you’re looking for a way to capture attention and stop someone from scrolling on by, a picture really is worth a thousand words.

In a 2008 Forrester study, Dr James McQuivey determined that 1 minute of video was worth 1.8 million words!

1 image = 1000 words
1 second of video = 30 frames = 30,000 words
1 minute of video = 30,000 x 60 = 1.8 million

A huge part of the brain is directed on social media towards visual processing, allowing humans to treat images at an incredible speed.

Different social media platforms add weight to images and videos differently, but in nearly all cases having some kind of relevant visual to accompany your post will increase its performance.

If you do use images or videos, remember that their quality reflects your brand. Avoid using stock images that don’t relate to your business and use the opportunity to showcase your brand with engaging and entertaining visuals.

We have a whole article about choosing the right visuals for your social media posts, if you’d like to find out more about how to make your posts as effective as they can be.

And, of course, if you’re looking for a media partner to help you to produce high-quality images and videos for your social media campaigns, you’ve come to the right place!

Struggling for inspiration?

Creating content regularly means it can be tough to stay inspired, so here are a few ways to come up with engaging posts.

  • Comment on a newsworthy topic from your industry, or share some news from your own company.
  • Take an unrelated news topic and tie it into your field. How did it help you, or change your understanding of something?
  • Showcase one of your products and explain its features and benefits. What makes it better than others?
  • Show the process behind making one of your products, or behind how your service operates.
  • Share a customer spotlight to talk about their business and how they use your products or services.
  • Use tools like Answer The Public and Google Trends to type in a specific subject or key term and see the search terms that people are using on search engines involving those terms. You can then tailor your post or article to answer those searched queries.

Looking for more social media tips? Check out some of our other articles, linked below.