We’ve all been there at some point each month: staring blankly at a blank page or spreadsheet or post scheduling app with at worst, terror, and at best, ennui. Why aren’t my posts working? Nobody’s clicking.
Maybe you’re blaming someone you assigned to write them; maybe you’re blaming yourself. Why is this so hard? you think, mentally making a note to polish up your resume for when they inevitably fire you.
The fact is, social media is basically marketing copy lite, and that’s an entirely different beast than the expositional or persuasive writing you learned at school or in the office. And it’s not easy; you need to somehow convey the maximum amount of info with the minimum amount of words in a way that’s exciting but not too salesy, yet still persuasive. Piece of cake! you say.
Fear not, citizen, for I hath brought unto you the holy cheat sheet of writing effective social media posts fast, well, and often. Follow these 7 social media writing rules and you, too, shall be saved from the fiery inferno of Facebook/Twitter hell.
- Every word has to matter.
- Cut out all the filler words.
- NO: “Some people often like to think about one day buying a safer car.”
- YES: “ Buying a safer car is a priority for most people.”
- Cut out all the “weasel” words. “Can, will, maybe, tries, want to.” You should be confident in the product at all times.
- No passive voice. Ever.
- Eliminate redundancies. Look at each post and see if it actually contains two phrases or entire sentences that mean the same thing. Get rid of one so you don’t repeat yourself twice. (Practice on this bullet point; there are 3 redundancies.)
- Cut out all the filler words.
- Be as clear as possible. Keep to a 5th-grade reading level (à la The New York Times. No, seriously, they do this.)
- Be concise. This is actually harder to do with a limited vocabulary (see #2.)
- Vary the posts by topic but stick to a content ratio. See the 4-1-1 rule. This can be loosely applied even within very specialized industries.
- Include a CTA without being salesy. See these examples of different CTAs that work.
- Include links to outside content/sources. This helps fill your continuous content need and shows people you actually know what’s happening in the world beyond your organization.
- Your writing tone should be:
- Conversational and engaging. This is what people respond to on social media, not dry facts.
- Occasionally funny/sassy. These get more likes than the typical posts and can inspire people to follow you.
- Low-key emphatic. Pretend you’re somebody’s mildly hysterical aunt who has nonetheless convinced her entire book club that she is the guru of all knowledge. This yields nearly perfect copy every time. What I’m trying to say is be assertive. You have to boldly make your claims and help people trust that you know what you’re talking about.
- Make the claim with a little too much certainty for either reality or comfort.
Final Bonus Rule: Never lie to people—that’s bad form and bad business. Just plunk some rose-colored glasses onto your nose before you start writing and don’t take them off until you’re finished.
You’ve got this – and if you ever feel like you’re struggling with this whole beast of a task, reach out to JG Studio and have us either coach you or write your content for you! You’ll be able to rest easy knowing that you are on the right track and that your brand is growing within the digital space.