Social media writer's block? It's hard to say a lot in a brief, fleeting message. So bookmark this as a good checklist for when you're at a loss.
The most important thing to remember with every social post or headline is your goal.
When you're scheduling 50 or more posts a week, it's sometimes hard to keep track of your goal with every click of the "send" button. But knowing your goal is crucial to strategizing your copy.
Here are a few common goals:
- Specific call to action. That is, clicks to website, campaigns, or e-commerce.
- Engagement boost. The content just needs to catch with plenty of shares, likes + comments)
- Establishing your identity. With your own content/shared content, you want to show you are the go-to source for your industry.
- Letting the social ecosystem know you're alive. This goal may seem strange, but stability does play a role in your social presence. So, maybe sometimes the goal is just no dead air, and that's OK. It doesn't mean your quality as to suffer.
Whatever your goal is at the time, here's a few pointers to help you achieve it:
1. Cater to your platform
Not every goal will work for every platform. It can be easy to do the same copy + format for every piece of content. While sometimes it can be blanketed across platforms, it's best to understand which medium is best for each post.
For example, if your post is business-centric, it could thrive on LinkedIn. If it has a beautiful photo, it could be meant for Instagram, etc. Don't put your content into one platform box + give yourself flexibility if something will only work on one platform. If you're spending money to boost a post too, put more $ where you're likely to find your audience.
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The struggle can be real.
2. Be active
Social media experts can't take credit for this because it's a rule of thumb that has been around since, well, journalism.
Whether you are A/B testing headlines, perfecting your call to action or trying to find the best social copy, remember to use an active voice. It prompts your readers to take action.
Here's a refresher:
Passive: “Every dinnertime at the San Francisco Zoo, these pandas go crazy for Chips Ahoy"
Active: “Watch these pandas go absolutely nuts over cookies for dinner"
Pro Tip: A/B test a trendier headline to see if it catches: “These pandas going crazy over cookies is all of us")
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3. Be concise + casual
Sometimes it feels weird to be brief and relaxed, especially when you're representing your brand. But remember, people only skim their social feeds. Your headlines + copy are just to hook them. It's OK to tell rest of the story within your longer-form content or media.
Try to keep your Facebook posts to one line, and leave your Tweets with characters to spare.
Pro Tip: Some words can be easily cut from your vocab when writing headlines and social copy. Try eliminating some of these: “being," “that" + transitional words like “basically" + “essentially."
4. Study tones
A lot of digital marketing strategies will advise you to use a genuine voice on your blog, social + headline copy. That's not wrong, but nobody expects you to reach into your pocket and pull out the perfect social identity.
This may be the most useful advice of the all + it's super simple. Study other brands' tones + voice, and try to be like them. If you have accounts on social you aspire to, truly absorb their tone. This doesn't mean to copy them, but only to use them as your muse and source of inspiration.
You will be surprised how much doing this helps develop your own genuine voice.
Just think about some of the language you see all the time on social (e.g. Squad Goals). Brands + media companies have begun adapting certain formats by seeing others -- and the language is proven to get clicks.
It's OK to have social role models.
5. Consistency is still important
Back to that no-dead-air business. It's about more than just letting the social gods know you're alive, though. Once you've found your voice, it's important to keep it on track, or you risk losing the audience you just built.
For example, you don't want to come across as a “cool" brand only to suddenly shift to selling things on your feed. Expect the unfollows to roll in with the tide.
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Say no to social radio silence.
6. Share other content + don't just talk about yourself!
This is the easiest + most effective way to mend whatever social wound you are trying to heal. The social ecosystem is built upon sharing.
If you are blanking out on your own content to share, share from others. As long as their content is consistent you are only doing yourself a favor.
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7. Rise to the occasion
Sometimes pop culture, world events or just the weather can help you write headlines and social copy. Take advantage of it, but be smart. If a snowstorm is hitting your area, use gifs, emojis + listicles to relate to what everyone in your community is feeling.
If tragedy occurs and you are unsure about what to post, simply re-tweet a news source or large trusted account to show your support.
Pro tip: Worried if your social commentary is inappropriate? Run it by at least three people to get their opinions before publishing. The last thing you want is a social blunder.
Show your support by sharing others' tributes.
At RebelMouse, we help you reach your max social potential. If you have your own site already or need an upgrade, we can help you get your content to where your audience lives. Send a note to email@example.com to get started.