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5 Ways to Write Compelling Copy & Increase Social Media Engagement

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Posted December 3rd, 2018 by Alison in

Have the best new image to share on social media, but no idea what to write in the caption? You’re not alone, fellow social media manager.

writing social media copy keyboard image

One of the most challenging and often overlooked parts of the social media content creation process is copywriting. Before you can get those social media posts scheduled and aggregated onto your website through Juicer, you have to make sure they’re sending the right message. Whether you’re posting on a personal or professional account, we’ve rounded up five surefire steps for ensuring your copy is designed to increase social media engagement.

Know Your Audience
Knowing exactly who your social media posts are designed for changes a lot about how you write the copy for them. Have you ever come across a piece of written material (book, article, social media post, etc.) that felt like it was written just for you? It makes you pay attention a little more to what’s being said and who’s saying it, right? Your goal should be to deliver that kind of relatable and attention-grabbing social media copy every time for your audience.

Easier said than done, we know. Understanding your audience is only possible through active research and analytics. Make sure you know the major groups of individuals who tend to follow and interact with your account. For each group, consider identifying factors such as:

  • Gender
  • Age range
  • Socio-economic status
  • Part of the world they live in
  • Types of professions they have
  • What their daily lives look like
  • What needs they have
  • What desires they have
  • How can your brand meet those needs and desires?
  • What questions, fears, or hindrances they might have about engaging with you and what will it take to overcome those?

Once you know who you’re speaking to, you can craft messages that are direct and express the thoughts and ideas they might already be thinking!

social media goals calendar

Define a Goal for Each Message
Skip the easy one-liner social media caption and aim for more. How can you make an impact on followers with your copy on this social media post? What goals does your brand have that this post will help you accomplish?

A few goals to consider regarding increasing social media engagement:
- Awareness (expanding your brand’s circle of influence)
- Action (buying your product, signing your petition, etc.)

Though they vary in the end result, both of these types of goals are valuable to a brand. If you’d like to dig even deeper into goals (including more types of goals and the hierarchy associated with them), we suggest studying the popular AIDA marketing method.

When writing copy with the goal of awareness it’s important to not beat around the bush. Your target audience for these types of posts are people who don’t know the brand yet, so you have to capture their attention within the first sentence or two so that they’ll continue reading on. This process is what’s known as developing a strong “hook”. A catchy, shocking, exciting, or provocative line that acts like the bait on the end of a fishing line. It should peak the readers’ interest and then reel them in to learn more about the subject. After that, get straight to the point. Explain who you are and how you serve the world in quick, hard, easy to read sentences. When writing awareness posts, you can expect social media engagement by way of questions and direct messages about how users can learn more.

For an action-based goal you have to narrow your target audience. When writing a post designed to trigger the reader to take action, you’ll most likely be writing to followers who have already been engaging with your social media for quite some time and built up trust. These people most likely already know who you are and what you do, so don’t waste too much time on your origin story for these social media posts. Focus on building excitement around the action at hand. Why is this a beneficial action for followers to take? Is it easy to do? Is it not easy but something they should desire anyway? Give them all the information they need to feel confident in taking that leap.

selfie image

Share Human Qualities

Social media is all about connecting with others through visual and written mediums. The social media world was designed to help users be more social, right? So it should go without saying that we’re talking about connecting with fellow humans, not faceless, bodiless brands. Whether your brand’s visuals are heavily people-oriented or not, you can and should make sure the copy being presented sounds like a relatable human being instead of a robot.

Whether you’re actively thinking about it or not, our brains can innately identify human speech patterns - both verbal and written. This quality of ‘superior pattern processing’ is one that sets us apart from animals and other living creatures. Essentially, this means that as we learn languages, we not only learn the words but we are conditioned to understand the way these words are most commonly strung into phrases (patterns). There are variants within certain boundaries, but once the limitations of realistic patterns are broken, it triggers a flag in our brains that something is off.

Sometimes, when we are writing in a more formalized setting, such as writing copy for an official social media platform rather than our personal one, we have a tendency to overthink the phrasing of our copy. This can often result in a robotic-sounding social media caption which negatively flags those pattern processors in our followers’ brains! Keeping a careful eye on the human qualities of a caption is an important part of the copywriting process. A brand’s social media engagement is more likely to increase when the copy followers are reading follows these guidelines:

  • The copy is easy to read and understand
  • The post sounds like a human
  • The brand has a detectable personality
  • The social media post shares personal details

If it’s a challenge to make a social media account feel real, try creating a human persona for the brand in question. Write up a profile on who that person might be. Would the brand be male or female? How old would they be? What level of education do they have? What are three to five distinguishing personality traits? What things does that person like and dislike? As silly as this exercise might sound it can really help to develop your brand’s voice, and most importantly, make it feel like a real human is on the other side of the screen.

providing valuable social media content

Provide Valuable Information

We’ve all been there. You pull up the app for your favorite social media platform and open the editor to create a new post...then blank. You can’t think of anything particularly clever or interesting so you keep it simple and let the visuals do the talking. Don’t get us wrong, sometimes that approach can be warranted! However, you just lost an opportunity to connect with your followers. That copy could be the determining factor between a social media post with high or low engagement. On the other side of the coin, it’s also not fun to read two paragraphs of copy on a social media post only to realize it was all fluff and no substance. The goal here? Write a social media post that actually includes valuable information. Because no one wants to engage with a social media post that’s boring or a waste of time.

The good news? If you’ve been following the first three steps in this article, you’re already on the right track! By writing to a specific audience, with a defined goal, and ensuring you sound like a real human you should already be thinking about what’s appropriate to write about. Here’s a tip:

When reviewing the social media post, ask yourself, “Does this copy inform, entertain, or spark conversation?”

If the answer is no, that means you might be off the mark. While not every post has to change a readers’ whole life, you should be providing a well-rounded experience each time. That means that readers should be able to take away something after engaging with your post. Whether it’s a fun fact, joke, tip, coupon code, story, or new idea, it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that the reader feels they gleaned something worthwhile from their time. Don’t hesitate to write a few extra sentences. Share your knowledge, your personal stories, your new ideas, your questions, and your sense of humor with followers! They’ll appreciate it, and you will too when you see increased social media engagement on your account.

good social media copy - hand raised image

Include a Specific ‘Ask’

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Ask and you shall receive”? This rule applies to social media too. This step is the one most often missing from social media posts and yet can easily be the quickest way to increase social media engagement. After taking followers on an entertaining or informational journey through your caption, ask them for something.

Also known as a ‘call to action’, this ask isn’t necessarily a direct sales pitch. Sometimes it can be, but for social media engagement it can be much more simple. Ask for a comment, a follow, for an Instagram story shoutout, a five star-rating on your podcast, or to tag a friend on your latest blog post. Think about the subject matter of your caption and go from there. These asks should aim to be free and relatively easy to do so that followers will be more likely to help you out! Depending on your audience and the subject matter, it’s also important to consider whether you should play to reader’s emotions, intellect, or desires when crafting these asks. In addition to increasing your social media engagement, this is a great way to connect with followers and learn more about them and how they feel about your brand.

Here are a few examples of good ‘asks’ for the end of a post to encourage social media engagement:

  • “We want to know- what’s your favorite festive food? Comment below!”
  • “Did this post speak to you? Tag 2 friends who need to hear this message today in the comments below.”
  • “Want to be entered to win? Tag 3 friends in the comments below and follow this account!”
  • “We want to make sure we’re serving you the content you love. What you would you like to see more of from our team?”
  • “If you liked the new video, would you give us a shout out on your Instagram story? Tell us why you loved the video and tag us- we’ll select the top answer and feature them on our account!”

Have you had success implementing one or more of these top five ways to write copy to increase social media engagement? Share your stories with us in the comments below!

(Psst. Did you see what we did there? That's our 'ask' - now it's your turn to jump in and share the tips that have worked for you!)