Social media writing can often be placed in the same, rather vague, category of digital copywriting, however, the two differ quite substantially, both involving varying skills and key aspects that will benefit each job greatly.
A lot of brands not only mistake the two as the same, or at least hugely similar, but they can often take social media management for granted – taking the socials into their own hands and producing content when they have a spare 5 mins after lunch. BUT, in this day and age, social media is a key platform to reach a huge target audience and present your brands’ personality, ethos and key messaging. It’s estimated that the average social media user in the UK spends around 142 minutes per day on social media [read more here] and to say I’m only awake for around 15 hours of the day, that’s a bloody huge amount! More to the point, each user is seeing a hell’a lot of posts each day, and your brand needs every opportunity they can, not only get their creative seen but to capture the attention of the user. Which means the job’s got to be done properly!
Here are some key hints and tips when writing for the purpose of social media, as well as presenting key aspects that push social media copywriting into its own unique category!
Keep it short ’n’ sweet
Let’s take Instagram as an example;
Think about it, when you’re sat at home scrolling through IG, that thumb has never moved so quick! You flick through the feed at a ridiculous rate until something catches your eye and you pause for a couple of seconds to check it out. So, job 1 – done! That particular piece of content has successfully made you stop in your tracks and have a nosey. After this, you’ll probably take a look at the copy to delve a little further into what exactly is going on. As a copywriter, we have approximately 2-3 seconds to get you onboard. This isn’t the time to slowly build anticipation, set the scene and give you a full background into what’s going on. It’s the time to get to the point in a creative, brand-specific way.
Look at what exactly it is that you want your audience to get from that particular post and translate this into your first line of copy, ensuring the brands’ tone of voice is present.
E.g – An image to push a new alcoholic product aimed at a younger demographic (18-25) – “Fancy a party? [product name] is a celebration in every sip”
Keepin’ it real!
This one I find, personally, to be the most important. Social media is, essentially, a digital conversation, translating physical reactions such as likes, engagements and comments into digital ones. Users want to read content that they can relate to on a personal level, so it’s important to remember that, when the tech is removed, it’s just one person having a conversation with another. SO, don’t be afraid to show some personality – something real!
Before writing a particular piece of content it’s important to ask yourself ‘how is this going to add value to somebody’s life? Why will they want to read this?’ If they’re going to spend one of those 142 minutes spent on social media, reading your brands’ content, what are they going to gain from it?
If you’re adding value to that persons’ life, you’re more than likely going to stick in their head for a period of time. Ideally they’re going to think about it in some way, but if you offer enough they’ll maybe talk about it, maybe share it or even write about it, which ultimately equals free awareness advertising! PLUS, if they’re giving you that time of their day, you want to make it worth their while!
How is it relevant?
I’m not just talking about the relevance the copy has to the piece of creative itself. Is there a way you can make your content relevant to what’s going on in the wider world. Does it link in with a national day in any way? Has something happened in the news that directly links with your content or product? Social media can act as a live stream of up-to-date information, so if your content can reflect this too, users are more likely to connect with it, if it’s relevant to other parts of their life.
This is also a great opportunity to practice those off-the-cuff interactions to what’s happening in the world. This may be something as simple and as blindly obvious as the weather, but is your target audience based in a similar area to you? Great – that’s a good place to start. A light-hearted typical British weather remark never hurt anybody!