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Writing copy for social media

Social media columnist
Social media columnist

One of the questions I’m asked most often is what should I post/tweet/pin on social media. The important thing to remember when writing copy for different platforms, is that it’s important to take into consideration the mood of the social media network as well as your audience.

The standards for email copy, website copy, and social media copy are different and there are things you need to think about before you write the copy. Not only that, you don’t want to put the same copy up everywhere. You want to be innovative and fresh on each platform that you place any copy.

Here are some questions to consider:

1 What Platform Rules Exist?

The platforms all have their own rules that you should keep in mind before you create the copy for that medium.

2. Should Your Content Be Short or Long?

Each social media platform requires different lengths of content. As you know, with Twitter, you only have 140 characters to get your point across. With Facebook you have a bit more space, as with others. On your blog you technically have unlimited space. So consider which social media you’re writing for before you write the copy.

3. Which Subset of Your Audience Is Here?

Every person who is a member of your target audience does not have access to you via every single social media network. Some will be on Twitter, some on Pinterest and some will only want to read your blog. It’s up to them, and is something you should think about. You should study which subset of your audience is following you on each social media network so you can focus the copy more toward them.

4. Is the Platform buttoned-up (like LinkedIn) or freer (like Twitter)?

Some platforms are more serious and professional. That means that sharing that picture of the cat hung up in the blinds might not be a good idea on LinkedIn, whereas sharing it on Facebook might be fine, particularly if you can relate it somehow to your business.

5. Should You Use #Hashtags or Keywords?

Almost every social media platform has got into the practice of using #hashtags. The only platform really standing out against hashtags is LinkedIn. How many to use is also a key issue. On Twitter it is generally accepted that no more than 2 or 3 is fine, however, on Instagram the more the merrier – in fact, your posts will do better the more you use.

6. Is the Platform Visually Based?

Every platform is now trying to be more visual with Pinterest and Instagram leading the charge. Of increasing importance now is video, particularly with the growth in live streaming – first with Periscope and now with the roll out of Facebook Live.

7. What Is Your Objective?

What is the point of your update or share? Do you know what you are hoping to achieve? Do you have a thought out, specific objective and are you measuring which posts are more effective?

8. Should You Include a CTA?

You should post a mix of content, some of which will demonstrate your expertise and some promoting your products or services. On the posts promoting your own business you should always include a CTA (Call to Action). It can be as simple as just asking for your post to be liked or shared.

9. Is Your Copy Shareable?

A really important factor for social media copy is whether or not it’s shareable. Shorter, visually oriented, relatable content is better to post on social media when you want it to be shared.

Creating copy for social media is different from writing blog posts though many businesses are now putting blog length posts on Facebook and LinkedIn Publisher. This strategy can work as long as you remember to use the appropriate tone of voice for your audience on the different platforms. As you create your content strategy, these differences need to be taken into account in order to achieve success.


FACEBOOK: Facebook Updates Facebook for Android App: The updated Facebook for Android app features the Facebook Live button in “the most prominent position in the app’s top interface” and the ability to set preferences on the types of video you’d like to see in your Live feed.

TWITTER: Twitter Introduces New Connect Tab on Mobile: Twitter rolled out a new Connect tab on mobile where users can find “a detailed list of people and accounts [Twitter thinks] you’ll enjoy following, all easily accessible in one place.” The Connect tab is available now to “everyone on Twitter for iOS and Android.”

Twitter Rolls Out Updates to Twitter for Mac: “Twitter’s standalone Mac App is getting a much-needed update; it now supports Moments, polls and GIF search.”

PINTEREST: Pinterest Launches Featured Collections to Global Audience: Pinterest’s new featured collections are “curated collections of trending topics localized to the UK, France, Germany, Brazil and Japan.” More countries and languages will be added in the next few months.

INSTAGRAM: Instagram Tests New Profile Features for Businesses: “Instagram is testing three new profile features that make your Instagram bio more like a Facebook page.” These features include “a simple ‘Contact’ button that appears beside the ‘Following’ button, a linkable location tag and a category for your Instagram profile.”

SNAPCHAT: Snapchat Now Serves 10 Billion Daily Video Views: “Now users are watching 10 billion videos a day on the application, up from 8 billion in February.”

LINKEDIN: LinkedIn Explores Own Version of Facebook Instant Articles: LinkedIn is considering “its own version of Facebook’s Instant Articles, a feature that would allow publishers to host content directly on LinkedIn instead of posting links that direct people back to their own sites.”

PERISCOPE: Periscope Beta Testing Full Archives of Live Video: Periscope is testing a new feature that will make it “easier to save your streams indefinitely.


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