So, you’ve spent hours choosing the perfect shot for your brand’s social media feeds, and now all you need is that perfect, snappy caption to go with it. And yet, this is often the hardest part. Even the best writer can struggle to get across their brand’s ethos in only a few lines of text. Although there are millions of guides out there on how to take the perfect instagram shot, there are a lot less on how to perfect your social media copy. Make no mistake: the image may be worth a thousand words, but a great caption will really pack that extra punch.
Regardless of which platform you are writing for, keeping these tips in mind will help you to elevate your copywriting game!
Showcase Your Personality
The gift of social media is not just the ability to reach huge audiences, but to show them the essence of your brand. If there’s one thing that people crave online, it’s authenticity. You need to be mindful that social media is often people’s first point of contact with you. This means that your content will be key to forming their first impressions of your brand. Writing stilted, flat copy isn’t going to resonate your prospective customers! To build their attention and trust, you need to inject a bit of character into your writing which reflects your brand.
Keep it Short and Sweet
You’ll need to rein yourself in from the temptation to write great flowing passages on your feeds. Social media is infamous for being home to short attention spans, and a great chunk of text is likely to make people tune out rather than engage. Never forget that on social media it’s most often your imagery that does the talking. Your text should be supplementary, rather than an entirely new message.
Regardless of whether you are on Twitter with its 140-character limit (or 280 if you’re lucky), snappy captions that communicate the essence of your brand are the key to success. Rather than putting pressure on yourself to hit a strict word count from the outset, try cutting your copy down by half and see if your message is intact. If so, try by half again. This is a great exercise to help you develop a more concise writing style.
Don’t Hedge Your Bets: Use Active Language
The purpose of social media is to show your followers that your product or service is invaluable , so don’t be hesitant! Stay away from them fluffy words like ‘maybe’, ‘possibly’ and ‘hopefully’ – these won’t convince people that you are someone worth paying attention to! Stick to assertive words that will give your readers confidence in what you offer.
Many of us remember our English teachers going on about that maddening thing called ‘passive voice’. Well, those lessons were worthwhile after all because avoiding passive voice on social media is incredibly helpful. Using passive language takes away from the immediacy that social media is so great at giving your audience. This is because it takes focus away that the person who is the subject:
Passive voice: noissue creates branded tissue paper designed by you.
Active voice: noissue allows you to design your own branded tissue paper.
See the difference? Active voice puts your audience front and center. Since they are your main consideration, it’s an important distinction to get right.
We know as much as anyone that spotting passive voice in your own writing can be a really frustrating exercise. Hemingway is a real lifesaver here because it highlights sentences in your writing which contain passive voice, saving you a heap of time. Here’s a little secret: we use it all the time for our blog posts!
These cute little symbols are a great way to liven up lines of text! Although often associated with more frivolous communication styles, they can be an excellent edition when used the right way. The trick is to choose selectively in relation to the topic of each post, rather than sticking in generic smileys which add little in terms of brand value. Emojipedia is a great place to get some inspiration for your posts.
Edit, edit, edit!
This is the golden rule with any writing, and definitely the most tedious part! As much as you might want to type out your first draft and hit publish, hold fire. It’s not only about possible spelling mistakes, but also whether there might be a better way of structuring your sentences to make them snappier, or to improve flow and clarity. This isn’t something that your average electric proof-reader will pick up, so it’s worth reading over your copy several times. Over time, you will get more of a feel for what works for your brand.
With any kind of copywriting, practice always makes perfect! Although it can often feel like a task to put in the too-hard basket, it’s worth investing time into perfecting your social media game. As such a critical avenue for audience engagement, it can help give your brand that extra wow factor!