Your Ultimate Guide to Writing Social Media Copy

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Welcome to the new world of 2017 where anyone can not only become an internet sensation overnight, but actually stay at the top and start to build a career in it.

Social media has well and truly ‘leveled the playing field’ for content creators. It no longer matters if you haven’t got the cash to splash out on a polished marketing campaign. If you have a smartphone and the know-how, you can pull in millions of daily views to your profile.

Here is your ultimate guide to writing social media copy that is #winning!

Step One: Get Your Head In The Game

The old sales adage still rings true, ‘people buy from people they like.’ 

The landscape of internet influence has flipped to ‘mobile first’ in the last few years. It’s never been more important to take a broad look at internet trends, as this will help you see how you can ‘do one up’ on the larger brands and find an audience that truly values you and your content.

Brands on social media typically take longer to approve every piece of content they put up online. Their ads run through copywriting and art teams, then they have to go through legal and PR checks, focus groups, and so on. Once they finally get into the posting schedule, you’re seeing the final, ‘prim and proper’ result of many people’s hard work.

There is a lot of brand creativity out there, and these messages can inspire and be very efficient. But they can also feel a bit impersonal and overproduced on reactive social media platforms. Especially when these polished ads are juxtaposed with posts from your actual friends and people you follow in real life.

Therefore, smaller brands and bloggers, who may be just starting out, should remember that their authenticity and personality can work to their advantage when taking on the ‘big hitters.

You should be aiming to show your audience that you’re real people, working hard, and trying to make a difference in this crazy world.

Step Two: Get Your ‘Story’ Together

Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat stories are the latest sensation, and social media stars are using them to spread their messages in real-time.

Emojis, graphics, text, video or snaps, these short ‘bursts’ of footage are attention-grabbing, as users know that these images are set to disappear in 24 hours. Stories apps can be successfully used by brands to build a sense of urgency (for a sale, for example) or exclusivity (‘behind the scenes’ glimpses).

Extra Tip: When creating larger pieces of content, a heck of a lot of research and interesting tangents crop-up, most of which are ignored or lost in the final edit. Turning these creative escapades into mini-stories is an excellent way to give your audience more ‘personality’ and ‘authenticity’ without having to do lots of extra work.

But which stories platform is the best?

This post runs through some pros and cons of Snapchat and Instagram, but the decision should be based on your audience preferences. Typically, Instagram attracts over 600 million monthly users, compared with Snapchat at 300 million. However, Snapchat is very popular amongst younger, more tech-savvy audiences.

Step 3: Research Your Audience

Audience research is a crucial part of the #winning at social media formula: you need to know who you’re trying to target with your content. The more details you can gather in the planning stages, the better.

The idea is to segment your audience into different groups, based on the characteristics of a typical customer profile (also known as a client persona).

You can use some different tools to help you:

  • Social Media Analytics Tools- These give you access to metrics such as most popular users, times of peak activity, content types, publications and so on
  • Keyword ResearchGoogle Keyword Planner can help you identify the most popular terms people use to find brands and answer common related queries
  • Competitor Analysis Tools – You can keep an eye on your brand’s reputation in contrast to your competitors’.

Step 4: Grab Your Readers Attention

Now that you have an idea of the content your audience likes,  it’s time to start testing ideas. Come up with ways you can address your customers’ pain points in short-form and experiment with different mediums such as:

  • Photo galleries
  • Competitions
  • User-generated hashtag campaigns
  • Pictorial surveys
  • Links to authoritative blogs

And don’t forget video….

Video marketing is becoming more important in social media thanks to autoplay functions on feeds. Many of us forget that YouTube is technically a social media network too, and so every brand should be moving their storytelling to video and sharing them far and wide.

You can make four-minute shorts based on popular blog posts you’ve published in the past or experiment with Facebook Live and Periscope: filming live scenes from industry shows, events, the manufacturing process, anything you think your viewers may find interesting and authentic about you. So, don’t be shy.

A Note On Hashtags: Hashtags are one of the most important social media copywriting tools for categorizing and attracting traffic. Here are some considerations you will need to take into account in your posts:

  • Think About The Types You Are Using– Check your audience research or a site like hashtagify to show you the most popular tags for your industry.
  • Think About The Number You Are Using- In some circles, you may see posts with more than ten hashtags in the caption, whereas some will have no more than three. How many you choose should be based on your audience preferences and the platform.
  • Send The Right Signals – Popular tags like #ootd (outfit of the day) attract millions of views, but they may be too broad to attract qualified leads. Instead, get more product specific,: #kidssummerfashion (for a kid’s retail brand) would attract viewers who may be a step further along in the buying process.

Step 5: Set Up Your Reporting

Once you have your goals, ‘your story,’ key audience segments, etc. you will need to set up systems to report and track your KPI metrics.

Google Analytics will give you an in-depth look at your current site statistics. You can also find social media management programs that measure the channels that drive traffic and subsequent conversions on your site.

These tools allow you to accurately test the strength of your social media campaigns in clear financial terms. This will make you more confident in deciding how much to invest in advertising for each of your social media channels.

Step 6: Use Sponsored Posts Effectively

In building up your community online, some sponsored advertising on Facebook and Instagram can be a worthwhile investment while the costs are still relatively small.

In targeting your posts, go back to your audience research findings and type in their interests into the targeting dashboard to ensure that your posts appeal to your viewers. You should aim to target each social media ad to around 100,000 people with over ten ‘interests’ in common for each of your audience segments.

You can also use sponsored posts to create shoppable pins and Instagram galleries that can enable shoppers to click and buy directly from your online store (choose one with built-in social commerce features). Make sure that your sponsored posts still look and feel like native content, and that you aren’t endlessly retargeting (and annoying) users.

Alternatively, you can also try sponsored posts to get people to join a Facebook community profile page. This is a smart tactic for attracting a social media following for a brand-related topic. For example, if you are a camping equipment brand, you could create a community page where you aggregate outdoorsy posts from around the internet, interspersed with postings from your company blog. Make these community posts fun and interesting for your followers and don’t flood the feed with advertising plugs. Engagements rates for communities can be incredibly high if used effectively.

Step 7: Look For Help From Influencers And Users

The relationships you build with other people can also launch you into success on social media. By targeting major influencers within your industry, you can get your name in front of the eyes of millions of dedicated fans who hang on their every post.

Influencer marketing campaigns are cheap for the amount of ‘traction’ these opportunities can bring to small businesses. Tailor a bespoke pitch for your target influencer, spend some time getting to know their posting conventions, and be prepared to hand over creative control in exchange for their authentic promotional messages.

And Finally...

Big brands are lagging behind when it comes to harnessing the real power of social media. Thanks to your standing as a blogger, marketer or small business owner, you have less ‘red tape’ to go through in developing an authentic and personable social media marketing campaign that can bring in great results.  Find your audience efficiently, set up your reporting, and experiment with different ways to get your story out there.

Victoria Greene is a brand consultant and blogger at Victoriaecommerce. Here she likes to share tips and tricks on how brands can use social media content to #win fans and influence people.

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