Social media marketing is arguably the most personal medium, to get your marketing across, to date. It’s a landscape where direct communication with customers happens every day. The way you represent yourself on social media has become a landmark for how we, as the general public, and brands are identified.
It’s never been more important to get copywriting on social media absolutely spot on. It’s a huge opportunity to represent the personality of your brand and capture the attention of your audience. There’s no magic template or exercise that’ll have you pinging out on-brand, perfectly personal marketing messages right off the bat, but here are a few things to consider that’ll get you well on your way.
Like me on my post-uni gap year… have yourself an identity crisis.
The good/bad news is that you don’t need to spend two and a half years in Australia (apologies). Instead, you just need to do a little work deciding on what your brand’s personality actually is.
If you’re lucky, you may already have an in-depth brand guidelines document with a meaty tone of voice and core values section to work with. You may have nothing to go from, sort of winging all the marketing for your brand yourself, start-up style.
Either way, it’s likely you’ll still need to think about how you write for social media as the way you communicate on each platform has its subtleties compared with the more traditional marketing mediums.
The starting point is generally understanding your brand’s values and researching your audience and the way they use social media. From there you will have a much better insight into what you want to be talking about and importantly for us copywriters, how.
This includes things like deciding which colloquialisms work for your brand, what emojis your brand uses and in what context, as well as how you respond to customer service enquiries and how you refer to your brand when signing off from messages.
Posting on social media is one long conversation that you want to invite as many new people into and sustain for as long as possible. You’re essentially winning fans trust one miniature dialogue at a time.
It’s a classic piece of copywriting advice but you can never hear it too many times… read your writing out loud back to yourself. If it sounds weird to the ear, it won’t read naturally and your audience will feel that.
People’s natural dialogue is stilted, often broken and usually meandering. Dropping ellipses, purposeful contradictions or hints towards self-awareness in the copy makes it much more relatable and truer to real-world speak.
For example, let’s say we’re writing a post about our brand’s awesome new soda range. Which feels like it has more personality to you?
- Our new range of sodas are undoubtedly the best sodas in the business. Try them today.
- We might be a tiny bit biased but… our sodas are the bloody best in the biz – fact. Grab cans of our NEW flavours in selected stores, today. You won’t regret it!
- Wait… have you still not heard about our brand-new range of top-drawer sodas? Where’ve you been?! Grab cans from major supermarkets, now. No, not in ten minutes – we mean NOW!
Don’t limit yourself before you’ve even started
The nature of writing something that is less generic and more personality-driven is that people’s interpretation of personality is very subjective. It happens all the time. You get a piece of feedback from a client or an editor about one piece of copy being too ‘formal’ or too ‘twee’ – whatever it may be. The next time you sit down you hold onto this one bit of feedback too intently and it blocks every idea that you have.
Learn to ignore this feeling. That’s what drafting is for. Whatever you think about your first draft that you instinctively decide is too ‘whatever’, you can tease out. Generally, it’s only a tweak of wording here or there that you can re-configure.
Remember that your tone of voice is ever-evolving
People’s perceptions, the medium you’re writing for and the nature of communication all evolve over time, as should your brand’s tone of voice. If you’re working from a set of brand guidelines that haven’t been changed in years, you’re fighting a losing battle.
Has the audience changed? Are there new features of the social media platform that offer a different opportunity for written messages? Has your position within the industry shifted? All of these things may well affect how relevant your brand’s personality actually is.
You might be penning copy that perfectly fits your brand’s personality, which no longer engages your audience in any way. The beauty of social media is that you have instant feedback that can inform whether this is true. If you think the persona’s all wrong, test subtle differences in tone with posts that have similar creative or similar subjects. Get more engagement? Maybe you need to push your brand’s personality forward.
Though things like the values and overarching brand persona may be unchanged, much of the minutiae will need updating.
Just have fun
This may seem like a contradiction to writing conversationally but stay with me on this… By ‘have fun with it’ I’m talking about using your classic rhetorical and literary devices to give sentences a little extra flair but that aren’t what you would use in everyday conversations.
Alliteration, using rhythm, repetition, the power of threes, or ways of balancing sentences like chiasmus (e.g. ‘eat to live, not live to eat’) or parallelism (e.g. ‘like father, like son’).
While a conversational tone allows you the freedom to write really relatable copy and your brand’s choices in phrasing gives the reader a good sense of personality, that’s not to say that the audience isn’t aware of what you’re trying to do.
They’re very aware you’re a brand, not their pal having a chat. They know you’re trying to win them over with marketing messaging however you package it up. If you can do that in a fun way, that makes them smile or makes them hover for a second extra because they can appreciate a bit of fun in your copy – that’s a win, and will also add heaps of personality to your content.
We work with brands on developing their tone of voice for social media as well as wider marketing communications all the time. If you’re looking for advice on how to make your brand stand out and speak to your audience in a way that excites and engages them – get in touch. Now. What ya waiting for? Give us a nudge… 👉 NUDGE