20 social media copywriting tips to convert on any social media platformBy Solange Messier
Copywriting for social media isn’t necessarily difficult, but it is complex. There are layers of best practices and ever-shifting guidelines that can help you get your clients’ profiles in shape and turn a startup into a respectable brand.
Social media is an important communication channel. Ensure you create content that connects with your audience by downloading our free “White-label social media checklist” now.
Here are 20 tips that may be just what you need to expand your social media marketing offerings and prove to your target demographic that you really know your stuff.
Table of Contents
- Crafting effective social media copy
- Writing engaging social media captions
- Social media copywriting best practices
- Optimizing social media copy for SEO
- Frequently asked questions
Crafting effective social media copy
Copywriting for social media goes beyond the basic demands of writing, like proper grammar and decent flow. You may occasionally — and completely on purpose — use slang or toss in an incomplete sentence. That’s because writing social media copy is more about emotion and effective use of language than it is about adhering to every rule set forth by your middle school English teacher.
1. Know your audience
The first is to understand who your target audience is, so you can tailor your copy to their preferences and needs. When you know who’ll be reading your social feed, you can choose words, emotions, stories, and images that are most likely to resonate with the people who matter most.
- Create buyer personas. Survey your existing customer base and learn what your ideal customer looks like. Things like where they live, what social media platforms they use, and when they’re online will be very helpful when you’re putting together and executing a social media strategy later.
- Leverage social listening tools. Social listening tools to find out what consumers really think about your brand and products/services. You can also “spy” on competitors to see what they’re doing right and where they’re going wrong so you can avoid those pitfalls.
- Ask your followers directly. The best way to figure out what your audience wants is to just ask them. Post a survey, send an email, or ask questions in your social posts. Then use that info to fine tune your social campaigns and better serve your social media community.
2. Keep it concise
Some platforms have restrictive character limits that do no favors for those of us who like to write… and write… and write. Learning how to pluck out unnecessary text and still share posts that pack a punch takes practice, but it’s worth the effort.
Airbnb nailed the “make every character count” approach when they tweeted out a graphic showing how hosts could test their listing’s internet connection. The lead-in text simply read, “hundreds of you got on Twitter to request this, and now, it's here.” In doing so, Airbnb:
- Said a lot in few words
- Showed their audience that they’re listening
- Proved they valued and respected their following’s opinions and desires
3. Use attention-grabbing headlines
You have mere seconds — sometimes just a fraction of a second — to pull in readers before your post is lost to the algorithm forever.
To increase your chances of making an impact:
- Aim for short headlines that say a lot. Being long-winded is a recipe for disaster when you’re dealing with short social-media attention spans. Go with brief intros that will give your audience pause, and then expand on your ideas underneath.
- Honor your branding. Yes, you want to get attention, but not in a way that will undermine your authenticity. If you don’t normally turn to humor, avoid channeling Jim Carrey just to get clicks.
- Use personalizing language. Headlines that include words like “you” feel more personal and could make your social media conversations feel more intimate.
- Play with negative emotional content. This tip can be a bit polarizing, but the truth is that negative emotional content can generate attention — just watch how far you push the envelope. Headlines like “This is the one social media post you should never make again!” could work, but anything intensely controversial is still out of bounds.
4. Highlight benefits
When you’re selling social media packages, you need to be able to prove to potential clients that you know how to get consumers interested in the clients’ services or products. One of the best ways to do that is to use posts to highlight the key benefits and features of whatever is being sold.
Take GoPro, for instance. The tech company is known for their action-friendly cameras, and their social team underscored that when they posted an incredible shot of a skier, midair, with a snowy mountaintop as their backdrop. The accompanying text cut straight to the point: “Capture massive + beautiful 23MP photos and get picture-perfect 19.6MP frame grabs with the all-new #GoProHERO Black.”
- Share an inspiring image
- Tell followers exactly what equipment was used to capture that image
- Explain (briefly) what features the equipment has that makes it all possible
5. Include a clear call-to-action (CTA)
CTAs are important because they give readers a clear direction as to what they’re expected to do next. A call to action might direct people toward a sign-up screen, a purchase, or just a place that contains more information. Using one keeps consumers from wondering what they’re supposed to be next.
Including a CTA can help remove friction that prevents people from taking the all-important next step. Ben & Jerry’s cleared the path for ice cream lovers eager to try the brand’s new cold brew-inspired dessert by tweeting “Find Change is Brewing near you here:” with a link to their website’s location/flavor finder. Click, locate, drive, buy, done.
Writing engaging social media captions
Those little blurbs that accompany social media posts can be quite memorable if you know what to write and which bells and whistles to include.
6. Use emojis
To further boost social media engagement, copy and paste a few emojis into your posts. Studies show that using a wink, smile, or other emotive icon can boost post likes, lower overall cost-per-lead spend, and generate more interaction (LinkedIn).
But, as with so many other social media copywriting tips, balance is essential here. Think of emojis as seasoning rather than the main dish. Rely on them too much and you could obscure your message and lessen the otherwise significant impact of a well-placed heart eyes guy or waving hand.
7. Ask questions
One surefire way to increase engagement is to include questions in your social media posts. Extra imaginary internet points if the question you ask is just controversial enough to make people want to share their opinions.
Pop-Tarts struck the perfect balance between controversy and humor when they took to Twitter and asked, “Ever put butter on Pop-Tarts?” with an image to match. Butter on a Pop-Tart? The attached poll garnered nearly 1000 votes in just four hours, plus plenty of shares and comments. You’re inviting your audience to take part in the conversation and giving them an easy opening to do so.
8. Use humor
Even businesses with more formal style guides can embrace the casual side of copywriting for social media. That includes using humor to connect with consumers. Humor helps brands because it:
- Humanizes companies and makes them seem more approachable
- Helps break down walls
- Creates an emotional connection that may make consumers more open — essentially warming up cold leads
- Can help increase the likelihood of virality or at least boost post shares
9. Share user-generated content (UGC)
User-generated content (UGC) refers to any kind of brand-related content created by that brand’s consumers. This could be a selfie of the customer wearing the product, a screenshot of the customer’s product review, a testimonial, or a shared video, tweet, or post. Since 79% of people say their purchasing decisions are majorly impacted by UGC, sharing some yourself could help turn shoppers into buyers (Stackla).
A survey of millennials found that respondents trust UGC 50% more than branded content shared by the company itself (EveryoneSocial). Use UGC to round out your content offerings, amplify authenticity, and even assist in online reputation management by offering followers social proof of your product quality.
10. Use storytelling
National Geographic has long used storytelling to share glimpses into fascinating people, cultures, and nature from all over the globe. Their habit of posting gorgeous photos alongside lengthy captions — typically on platforms like Instagram that allow for lengthier narratives — puts storytelling at the forefront and helps create emotional connections.
Stories can also make brands more memorable. Studies show that people are able to recall around 65% of visual content after three days versus just 10% of written content (Jeff Bullas). By telling stories through text and visual mediums, you’re doubling down on visibility and retention.
Social media copywriting best practices
Whether you’re beefing up your own social media services or figuring out how to vet a vendor to become a white-label social media reseller, knowing the best practices behind effective social media copywriting can save you time and money.
11. Tailor your copy to each platform
Social media writing has some general guidelines that transcend individual platforms. But there are also rules and suggestions that can help you adjust one templated message to better cater to audiences on each of your top channels.
- Twitter copy is generally short and memorable. Copywriters create small-but-powerful soundbites and easily retweetable content.
- On LinkedIn, marketers usually aim for a more professional tone. They eschew personal topics in favor of professional themes relevant to their brand’s industry and/or followers.
- Facebook is the place for longer think pieces. You have a lot more room for text-heavy, story-driven posts on Facebook.
- Instagram is all about visual storytelling. Use photos, memes, and other graphics to showcase your brand’s values. Pair those images with catchy captions with a few hashtags for extra search traction.
12. Use visuals
Nearly three-fourths of marketers incorporate visual content into their social media posts (Social Media Examiner). That’s because posts with images get 37% more engagement on Facebook and are retweeted 1.5x more often on Twitter (Jeff Bullas).
On image-driven platforms like Instagram, let visual elements take the lead. On other platforms, pair text with images that take up more screen real estate and make your brand’s presence known. The combination of text + graphics = more marketing power.
13. Be consistent
Brands that post consistently may be seen as being more reliable. Those that play hide and seek with followers may seem sketchy or like they only show up when they have something to promote.
The best play is to create a social media content calendar that says when you’ll post, what you’ll post, and how you’ll follow up afterward with replies to user comments. You can even be super consistent in what type of content you post each day. For instance, Meme Mondays and a new behind-the-scenes video every Thursday.
14. Use active voice
Active voice is favored in social media writing because you can use fewer words to get to the point. Active voice is typically less circuitous than passive voice and is therefore easier to read. It’s preferred in thought leadership, too, which can be helpful if you’re trying to position your brand as an authoritative voice.
15. Write for mobile
As of 2023, there are 4.89 billion social media users globally, and 91% of those users sign into their chosen platforms using a mobile device (Oberlo). Social media copywriters know that to fully engage their target audience, posts have to be optimized for mobile. That includes:
- Keeping text in short, easy-to read paragraphs. Break up text using bulleted lists when necessary.
- Using mobile-friendly images. Your graphics should load quickly and be sized appropriately for viewing on smaller screens.
- Link to content that’s mobile friendly, too. There’s no point in linking to your blog or a landing page that can’t be read on a smartphone or tablet. You’ll only frustrate your audience when you could be scoring a conversion instead.
- Shorten your URLs. Long-string URLs are hard to read and harder to copy and paste.
Optimizing social media copy for SEO
Finally, it’s time to look at how social media copy plays into search engine optimization and, ultimately, your brand’s reputation and rank.
16. Use relevant keywords
Keywords are like little nuggets that act as a homing beacon for search engines directing interested consumers to your profiles. Use keyword research to inform your content creation and be consistent from platform to platform for the biggest impact.
17. Use hashtags
Using hashtags in social media engagement copy makes you more findable. You can use hashtags to piggyback on trending conversations, to brand your own content, or to make it easier for consumers to find your posts as they search for content that covers a certain topic, geographic area, or industry.
Remember that best practices for hashtags differ from platform to platform, but you can get decent ROI following these general rules:
- Specific is almost always better. If you own a pizza parlor in Detroit, it makes more sense to target local diners using #bestpizzainDetroit or #Detroitpizza rather than the basic #pizza or #Italianfood alternatives.
- Limit the clever and obscure hashtags. It can be fun to use hashtags to be a bit cheeky, but only do that when you’re confident your joke will hit.
- Know hashtag differences between platforms. On Twitter, you can use hashtags anywhere in your tweets — beginning, middle, or end. On Instagram, it’s more common to use hashtags at the end of a caption or even in the comments section. You can hashtag on Facebook, too, not only on public posts but within Facebook groups to help organize content and facilitate content searches.
18. Link back to your website
Now that you have people’s attention, direct them back to your website. It helps connect all your digital assets, and it can also indicate to Google that your site has value and relevance — two things that matter to the algorithm.
19. Optimize your profile
Your brand name, about us blurb, location info, image alt-text — all the basics that go into creating your profile on social media also act as keywords. And we know how much Google likes those.
20. Analyze your performance
Social media platforms have built-in analytics tools that can help you view key metrics and understand how your posts and campaigns are performing. Take the time to check in and see what’s going well and which areas could benefit from a little TLC.
Frequently asked questions
What is social media copywriting?
Everything created for and posted to a brand’s social media account falls under the umbrella of social media copywriting. Professional copywriters know how to craft content that’s on brand, engaging, and designed to help companies reach their campaign goals.
Should I hire a professional copywriter for my social media marketing?
Technically, anyone can write social media marketing copy. But professional copywriters are more likely to have the training and experience necessary to create content that has true value and resonates with consumers. You can hire a writer to join your team full time or outsource your marketing to increase your output without straining your existing resources.