Hot Tip Tuesday: August 2, 2016

10 Simple Steps for More Clickable Social Media Content

As communicators, we spend hours bringing our content to life. After all that effort, we want it to be seen.

Writing powerful social media copy that grabs people’s eyes and wins their hearts is a challenge. Often, when our content isn’t breaking through the noise, we can fix it with a few tweaks.

Editing is key to the creative process, but many communicators overlook it. Below are 10 tips to expand the reach of your social media content:

1. Focus on the reader.

When creating social media content, you face stiff competition for attention. Friends, family, celebrities, rival organizations and more are all vying for readers’ attention. If you’d like to stand out, create content with your reader in mind.

Instead of focusing on yourself, emphasize the reader. For example, in a post about launching a new product, we could say:

We’ve just launched our new product, Buffer for Video.

However, this sentence doesn’t explain why the reader should care, nor how the product might affect him or her. Something like this would be better:

You can now upload, share and schedule video from Buffer to all your social media networks. Upload once, and share everywhere!

2. Build curiosity.

This is a powerful way to improve your copy—especially if you’re trying to get clicks. In its simplest terms, curiosity is triggered when people feel there is a gap between what they know and what they want to know.

George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology, is an expert in curiosity. He conducted a study on what triggers high levels of curiosity and discovered that it peaks when:

  • Something violates our expectations (perhaps by challenging a common beliefs)
  • A post teases a gap in our knowledge
  • It’s not overdone

Audience members are interested in becoming better marketers and learning how they can use social media to increase traffic, links and customers to their businesses.

We could run a Facebook post with a headline like this:

Why Facebook Reach is Dipping for Everyone

It might grab some attention, but most people probably won’t click on this post.

3. Treat each post as a story

 Stories are an excellent way to connect with people. They attract and engage readers.

When it comes to writing social media copy, treat each post as a story with characters who carry out actions.

Say you’re experiencing a little downtime on your website. You might share a tweet or Facebook post similar to this:

We apologize for the disruption-our website is experiencing some technical difficulties right now.

This sentence features three characters: “We,” “our website” and “you.” However, each character’s actions aren’t well covered. A better option would be:

You may experience a few issues getting onto our website at the moment, as we’re having some technical issues. We’re working on a fix and will let you know when we’re back up and running.

4. Focus on value.

Before you share anything to social media, ask yourself why you are sharing it, why people will care and what value it provides for your fans.

People like to justify their actions. A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.

It’s no different on social media. A reason triggers every click, “like” or retweet.

In your social media copy, focus on the value for the reader. Make it clear why people should care about your post.

Your calls to action should focus on value, as well. For example, instead of “Click now to read more,” try something that promises value, such as, “Discover more insights.”

5. Use a consistent voice.

Customers get to know an organization’s personality through social media. It’s important that your personality or voice be consistent.

MailChimp keeps its voice consistent across all channels; it even has a website dedicated to explaining how its staff speaks with customers.

6. Write in second person.

Brilliant social media copy intimately speaks to readers. Second person pronouns (“you,” “your” and “yours”) deliver the most engaging, most personal narrative mode, helping you to connect with your audience. (See how well that works?)

Crafting engaging, intimate copy that entices readers to take action can be difficult, but thinking about things in second person is a great starting point.

7. Use a formula.

Writing catchy, captivating social media copy is hard, especially if you’re trying to share multiple posts across multiple platforms every day.

Finding a  copywriting formula that works for you—whether it’s a storytelling formula, a headline formula or any other—can significantly boost productivity and help you create some amazing, eye-catching posts.

8. Keep it simple.

Social media posts don’t have to be a work of literary art. People have incredibly short attention spans, and it’s often more effective to keep copy concise. Aim to use simple words, such as:

  • “Show” instead of “indicate”
  • “Get” instead of “secure”
  • “Use” instead of “utilize”

9. Add an emoji (or two).

Teenagers aren’t the only ones who use emojis; the symbols have gone mainstream.

More than 6 billion emojis are sent everyday and according to Swyft Media, 74 percent of Americans regularly use stickers, emoticons or emojis in their online communication, sending an average of 96 emojis or stickers per day.

10. Ask a question.

You know that amazing feeling where you’re having a great conversation with a good friend? Great social media posts can provide that same feeling.

To build genuine connections with your audience, view social media as an opportunity to start a conversation. Every social media post you share can make a lasting impression on someone if you use the right copy.

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