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How to write engaging social media content

We all want a prolific social media presence. Huge conversion rates, tons of likes and clicks to send everyone to our website to fill our sales funnel and share our valuable content. Brand awareness is everything is key after all. But, most of your social media posts get just a few likes, an occasional share/retweet and not a single click except for that single click with a 100% bounce rate.

This makes you believe that no one is actually reading your posts, and you might be right. Attention is the currency of the internet, and in a landscape as crowded as any social media network, everyone is fighting for a minute of your time. Users don’t read all the posts they see. They scan their feeds and read when something captures their attention long enough for them to scan twice and, even then, they’ll likely look at the picture, read a sentence, and move on.

There is of course more to it than copywriting, considering visual content and video get the vast majority of engagement, but if your writing fails to keep their attention, then they will leave anyway. Do you want to improve your writing to increase and retain engagement levels on your social media accounts? Then keep reading!

The social media marketing strategy

First, you need to know what exactly you want to get from this. A social media strategy will outline your goals, like increasing brand awareness, solving problems for your customers, or supporting a content marketing strategy. Once you have a clear outline of your goals, you can decide what tactics you are going to implement to achieve those goals.

This is relevant because, if you are going to put in the extra effort, you need to direct that effort into what will bring the best results.

Choosing the right social network

Each channel is different, so the way to your followers is also different. You may think that at this time you know everything you need to know about each social media network because you’re a user yourself, right? But that isn’t necessarily the case. The way you use them is unique to you and what you consider engaging could be different than what your audience considers engaging.

Take your time to study successful profiles of businesses like yours, How frequently do they post? What types of content? How long is their copy on average? What do they talk about? Do they write in a formal tone or is it more playful? Check for things like format, structure, frequency, theme and tone to find patterns and identify what your audience expects from you on each channel.

Of course, there are some general rules regarding each platform. Social media channels like Twitter require you to post frequently, depending on your audience you’ll have to be ready to send from 1 to 10 tweets per day. Also, a tweet can be 280 words long, but the ideal tweet for better engagement on average is from 71 to 100 characters. On Linkedin, people expect a professional tone, while Facebook and Instagram are better for emotional content and storytelling. You don’t need an account on all platforms, if you can’t find many businesses like yours with a major presence on a specific channel you probably won’t need one either.

Learning about your target audience

Now that you’ve been studying how businesses in your industry write on each social media platform, it’s time to learn about your customers. If you limit yourself to imitate what other businesses are doing you will find it hard to position your own brand, and your specific audience is likely to be different than theirs. Start with your current customers, if you haven’t made customer personas then it’s a great time to start, ask them about their needs, expectations, what they like, their favourite social channels, and more, but keep it relevant.

Now it’s time to go back to social media. Check the interests of your followers, especially if some of them are already customers, spend some time looking at the followers of your competitors and find trends. Pay special attention to the problems they might face, people respond quicker to relieving pain than to receiving pleasure. If you own a cafe in a commercial building and your customers are mostly busy executives, what will capture their attention better? “Come taste our amazing coffee” or “Meeting in an hour? Enjoy a quick recharge with our potent espresso”? The latter speaks directly to their needs and problems, and in consequence, is more likely to capture the attention of a reader and turn them into a customer.

Finding your brand’s voice

Finding your brand’s voice and tone deserves a full article (or even a full book) and we’ll discuss it in depth in a future post, but for now let’s give you some tips to make it easier for you to understand why you should care about brand voice and how to find one that works for you and your customers.

In many ways a brand online works just like a person would. They have a personality, a voice, a style, values, and they can interact with individuals just like any other user. Of course, you want your brand to be friendly to other users, but it doesn’t stop being a business, and businesses need to sell to stay alive. Knowing that those interactions can be the difference between getting a new customer or not, you want to use the voice and personality that works best for your business.

First, brainstorm some personality traits that you associate with your audience and your business. Remember the previous step and use your buyer personas to guide you. Now ask employees about their opinion, especially the ones that have the most experience interacting with your customers. Ask them to vote which one of those traits they associate with your audience and your business, and if they think about one that you haven’t listed, add it too.

Once you have a list of traits with a considerable amount of votes, focus on those and expand a bit. If your business is “playful” think about what that means for you. What kind of things does a “playful” person do? How do they participate in conversations? How do they react to comments? Make a list of sample comments, answers to typical questions, and expressions for each trait, and then try to connect two or three of them to expand your list even more. Keep your values and goals in mind, your business can have a snarky personality like Wendy’s but there’s a difference between that and pissing your customers off on purpose.

After all this, you should have internalised your brand’s personality and voice. Keep the list as a guide for you and your writers to help them use your brand’s voice properly. We help brands in the food & travel industries to define a branding strategy and find their brand’s voice and personality. Let us help you discover the best way to interact with your customers to maximise engagement, contact us now!

Types of content that limit your copy

Copywriting is a means to an end. The goal of every line is to get your readers to read the next one. In social media, most of the time, you want to direct those readers to a piece of content on your website or a landing page. But sometimes you want all their attention on the post you’re writing. For example, when you’re offering a promotion or want them to participate in a give away to get more followers.

Depending on the type of content you’re using, the length of copy you can write varies, but the more concise you can be the better. No matter how good your copy is, your followers don’t have time to waste and you don’t want your copy to distract them from taking action. A social media content strategy will help you to plan the best way to communicate, but here are some tips based on the typical types of content you might use:

Data-heavy content: When posting things like infographics, don’t waste your reader’s time repeating all the facts in the image, select the most interesting one and use it as a quick introduction. Here there are two things working in your favour. You can appeal to your audience’s curiosity if these are just interesting facts, or you can help them solve a problem if the information you present is relevant.

Video: Videos usually take time, so your copy needs to be short to compensate but still make clear the value of the video. Think of the reasons why it would be beneficial for them to spend several minutes watching it. What is in it for them? Then, use that in your copy.

Ads: Ad copy needs to convert. You might be tempted to add a lot of details to increase the chances of making a sale, but an ad isn’t a landing page. Choose a pain point your business can solve and use that with a call to action.

Understanding trends and hashtags

You don’t have to turn your profile into a news feed to take advantage of social media trends. They will help you to know what your audience is talking about and what they want to read. Use this to help you write something they are interested in. Tools like Buzzsumo and Keyhole are great to track trends and hashtags, but you can do a lot just by following influencers your audience follow and paying attention to what your competition is doing.

Keeping your audience engaged

Earning your audience’s attention isn’t something you do once. If you want to keep them engaged you need to build the expectation that your content is consistently good. They will read your copy if they are used to liking what you write.

To achieve this, you need to achieve two things, a stable frequency, and consistent quality. A content calendar can help you with both. You can plan great content ahead of time and ensure it is posted on time. Choose the frequency according to each channel, and keep reading to learn how to improve your quality over time.

Checking your progress

Now that you’ve done all of this, it’s time to measure your progress. You won’t improve your copywriting skills overnight, so it’s important to keep an eye on some KPIs (key performance indicators are stats you check to know if you’re doing well). Likes and new followers are still important to measure your progress, but if you want to see how successful your copy is, you need to remember its main goal.

You write copy to direct your readers to perform a certain action, so you will want to measure clicks. No one will waste time clicking on your content if you didn’t at least attract their curiosity. Compare it with the number of impressions to know what percentage of the people that saw your content actually paid attention to it.

You should also check meaningful comments. People can’t talk about something they haven’t read, and it will give you a lot of valuable insight about their opinions.

Takeaways for creating engaging social media content

Copywriting for social media is a skill that works best with consistent planning and analysis, but if you put the focus on your audience’s needs and pain points and offer a relief, you’ll start seeing a difference soon enough. Take your time to learn about your audience to see how you can help them, and prepare your content to deliver new posts on a regular basis. Don’t forget to track the results to see the engagement rates you desire. Always make sure you are working efficiently.

If you don’t think your writing is up to the challenge, there are always copywriters out there to help you catch your audience’s attention. Why not let Forager Media’s copywriters help you. Contact us for a free quote today.

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