How many times have you attempted to write an engaging post, only to end up racking your brains for a witty or interesting caption?
Don’t worry - it happens to the best of us! But to make your life easier, we’ve compiled a few hints and tips to bear in mind when you next find yourself struggling with ‘post copy’.
Writing effective copy (the industry term for words) wherever you’re posting it, is vital for social media success. A boring caption isn’t going to catch the attention of anyone whereas, a caption that engages, establishes trust, and builds relationships is likely to get people talking, sharing & ultimately purchasing.
“A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself” is a quote by the "Father of Advertising" David Ogilvy, and here it runs true.
Tone of Voice
Your business’ Tone of Voice should be part of your brand guidelines. It can express a company’s values and lets customers know who you are, so it’s important to get right.
Having a consistent tone of voice over time helps to build your personal brand, so choose one that reflects your genuine values. For example, if you’re targeting business professionals, an overly familiar tone of voice is probably not a good way to go. Or, if you’re targeting teenagers, a too formal tone of voice isn’t going to help your win their business.
Flaunt how your business is unique by using your tone of voice to demonstrate your vibrance, expertise, sense of humour, or any other attribute that makes you stand out. This can be a big part of setting yourself apart from your competitors, and can help build trust amongst your consumers.
If you’re not sure where to start with your Tone of Voice, check out our free group, Social School, or get in touch with us to help you out.
Stop the scroll with an attention grabbing headline
If your headline isn’t awesome, your audience simply won’t stop to read your post. This means you need to get your ice-breaker right.
Make your headline unique, urgent, specific, and relevant to your post. If your headline isn’t relevant to your main copy, it’s confusing and irritating for readers. Not a great start.
BIG TIP: It can help to write the copy first, and base the headline around the strongest phrases. This also ensures your headline relates well to your copy.
If words aren’t naturally your jam, start with straightforward, simple headlines over tricky or clever ones. Give a quick eye-catching overview of what you’re going to be writing about, so that people want to read on.
Once again, the OG of advertising David Ogilvy sheds some light; “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
How else do you think fake news gets around so feverently? To get you started, here’s a selection of headlines we’ve used for clients before:
- ‘Lemme tell you about a time when…
- OK, own up if...
- Calling all (insert your audience here)
- Did you know that?
- Hot DANG this is a winning combo
- Stop! Collaborate and listen...
Be Clear & Concise
“A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.” - The Elements of Style, William Strunk, Jr.
This isn’t saying that you should only use a few words, this is saying that every word should count, so cut down the clutter in your copy by:
- Stop using big words. They’re great to know, but can often alter the natural flow of your post. Using common language makes it easy for your reader to follow everything and take it in quickly.
- Take out the extras. If there’s any words that you can remove from your sentence without changing the meaning, take them out! They’re unnecessary.
It’s also important, not to be too clever about your copy. Don’t get us wrong; we love the odd pun, alliteration, and rhyme, but if you had to think about it too long, there’s a good chance your audience just won’t get it.
Write in a natural way, with personality. Research your audience and tailor your copy to speak to them. Present yourself in a way that is genuine, and offer your help and expertise in an approachable, human way.
It’s easy to confuse professional for overly formal - make sure your spelling and grammar is correct, but don’t make your copy sound like it’s addressed to the Queen!
When your copy is too formal, it can sound robotic. This is often due to reluctance to use contractions - try switching ‘you are’ for ‘you’re’ or ‘we will’ for ‘we’ll’.
Strike a Chord
In order to market to your audience you need to know what they think is important (not what you think is important).
For example, imagine you’re a cafe owner, and all your posts talk about how your cafe is well-situated. If the reason people look you up is because they’ve been recommended your vast range of gluten free food, they’re going to be pretty confused when they land on your page and you haven’t mentioned it.
Ask your customers what they love most about your business - this should give you a good idea of the key trends amongst your audience.
If you’re tempted to exaggerate your testimonials or claims, don’t! You risk losing the trust of your audience. It’s much better to understate and over-deliver, than put out shout-y attention-grabbing hype that you can’t live up to.
Compel with your Call To Action
Get your call to action off on the right foot, by using a strong, commanding verb. Buy, shop, order, join, download, try, and start are all great words to start you off. ‘Our latest catalogue is out now’ is much less directive than ‘Download our new catalogue now’.
Creating a sense of urgency, or FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) for your audience can be a great way to make them click. ‘Shop today! Sale ends Monday’ or ‘Buy now while stocks last’ will persuade your customers they need to get in quick to avoid missing out.
If applicable, use numbers; consumers respond well when numbers are involved. ‘Sale on now’ may work okay, but ‘Sale ends Monday! Save $500 on all lounge suites’ will probably work better.
So go forth and conquer your fear of writing an awesome social media post! The more you start writing and working out what your audience responds to, the better your copy will get. Everyone’s demographic is different, so it’s best to experiment and see what works for best your brand, and your audiences.
If you’re still bewildered, we’re always here to help... Scroll down to Contact Us and we'll get in touch to discuss your social strategy!
PLUS, make sure to check out our FREE Facebook group Social School, and we’ll help you to nail social media for your business with tips, more training, and ongoing expert advice.