Content and SEO are equally as important… But which do you start with? We asked 60+ experts to share the strategy they prioritize—and why.
Content Marketing | Jun 25
Jessica Malnik on November 25, 2020 (last modified on March 5, 2021) • 14 minute read
Did you know that the average person spends 142 minutes on social media every day?
Marketing 101 is to hang out where your customers are. Your customers – with rare examples are on social media.
The principles that apply to website, SEO, and email copywriting are still applicable to social media copy. However, how, when, and where you deliver that message is just a little different.
In this post, we’re going to share tips and examples for how to write social media copy that converts, including:
If you are new to social media copywriting, here are some general best practices to get started.
“It’s important that you are providing your followers with content that can educate your readers and teach them something new, so they feel as though they are getting something out of following your business,” says Samantha Russell of Twenty Over Ten.
“As far as the copy goes on social media, we like to create a quick teaser so that our followers want to find out more about the blog or the subject. It is usually just 2-3 sentences, and we may include 1 or 2 strategic emojis plus the link to read the blog post.”
“One of the most important things that you can do for effective social media copy is to stir up a conversation,” says Dr. Colette Widrin of Balance Blends. “This can be done by asking a question, seeking an opinion, or noting that you’re looking forward to seeing comments.
We did this in a post, and it performed much better! The engagement more than doubled because we actually started a conversation that people could easily jump right into.”
Greg Kozera of ELM Learning adds, “When you are writing effective copy to be used on your social media channels, it doesn’t hurt a thing to ask for that comment. For example, let’s say that we created a post that brought up a different opinion regarding e-learning. Rather than just “hope” you get a response, ask for one. Something simple like, “Leave your opinion in the comments below,” actually does wonders.
We can see a significant difference in post likes and comments when we would flat out ask for the engagement.”
Editor’s Note: Looking to keep track of the number of conversations on Instagram? Use this Instagram Performance Dashboard to keep an eye on the actions and performance of your posts.
“Your social media copy has to stand out, and including infographics can do just that,” says Andrea Loubier of Mailbird. “When you may be limited on your word count, say it all with an infographic. After all, there is a reason they say that an image is worth a thousand words!
Using infographics has always performed very well for us. Not only do they encourage engagement, but we have more shares when we include an infographic.”
“Adding emojis to your copy helps make your text stand out and adds an element of fun to your posts,” says Datis Mohsenipour of HeyOrca. “You can also use emojis in place of bullet points to draw attention to key elements in your text.
We’ve seen a lift in engagement on posts that incorporate emojis. We believe it’s because it draws the viewers’ eyes to the text we want to highlight.”
“The highest-performing social media posts have been the ones where I’ve shared a piece of my personal story,” says Ro Sanchez of She.Slips. “To date these specific posts alone have garnered a couple hundred new followers, website clicks, and direct contact via DM and text.
The main reason why this type of post/copy is effective is simply because it allowed my audience to see me as someone they can relate to.
It gives them a way to become familiar with the person behind the brand, which in turn is growing my brand’s “know – like – trust” factor, which is key to converting a social media community into buying customers.
The caption was written starting with an intriguing headline (to get their attention), followed by long-form copy that evoked emotions by sharing my struggles/experiences and how I overcame them, ending with a strong, clear call to action to use the link in bio to purchase a product.”
“Adding the CTA copy improved the level of interaction from their social audience, and added value by improving visibility and exposure,” says Nishank Khanna of Clarify Capital. “We advised one of our clients to end posts with a call-to-action, as a tactical strategy to improve engagement. Each week, they would end their Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn posts with “comment below” or “tag a friend.”
The results were phenomenal. Commenting increased by 39%, on average, across a two-month period. The strategy also fueled growth with their social following, which we attributed to the tagging of friends who weren’t originally following their accounts. Some of the tagged friends converted to followers and began tagging more friends within their social networks.”
“When it comes to Social Media, creative is 50% of success,” says Sasha Matviienko of Boost Shop. “When users scroll through a social media feed, their attention goes to an image first. Images make users stop scrolling. Then they read the headline, and if it catches their interest, they read the description or click-through to your website. This makes the headline one of the most important pieces of your ads.
The trick here is to focus on transforming your product/services offer to consumers and adding a scarcity element to get users to act sooner. Remember, you only have between 40-70 characters in the headline.
One example of an effective headline we used for one of our clients, a subscription service, was:
“Limited Time Offer – 3 Months for the Price of 1”
As you can see, in this headline, we were going to make an offer to consumers without feeling cheap, as it was important for our client’s brand. Also, a “Limited Time Offer” piece of the headline adds the scarcity element to the ad, urging the user to act now.
We experimented with this Headline vs. the “Exclusive Offer – 3 Months for the Price of 1″ and the Limited Time offer was a clear winner. We expected to see this result because Social Media users commonly need a scarcity element to get them to act faster; otherwise, your offer may be postponed to a later date and never acted on.”
“Use unusual font generators like LingoJam or CoolSymbol,” says Janice Wald of Mostly Blogging. “Use emojis. Use animated stickers. Use humor. Humor could take the form of word play or memes. There are many ways to stand out on social media.”
Jacob Lundy of Vye adds, “Make it stand out with a 𝗯𝗼𝗹𝗱 or 𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘻𝘦𝘥 text. To do this, utilize a free third-party tool like LingoJam or FontsforInstagram.
In fact, It has caught the attention of current clients—which makes for a stellar upsell opportunity when it comes to social media.
It’s unique, relatively unheard of for social media marketers (outside of influencers), and is a tangible social media tip—as in, you can visibly see the difference in a post—more-so than generic tips and tricks.
Heck, I’ve even put it in my LinkedIn profile to emphasize our new brand name, 𝗩𝘆𝗲 (formerly Leighton Interactive).”
“Let your customers create the copy,” says Salva Jovells of Hockerty. “Quote the reviews from your customers. People accept the comments from real customers better than from the brand. This kind of message always outperforms our own copy in any kind of display ads.”
“We grew fast without putting a lot of effort or paying for bots to follow or like our pages,” says Daisy Jing of Banish. “First, we are pretty lucky to start early on when YouTube isn’t rampant yet.
Second, we just consistently post and make videos regardless of what people think and without the need of making it a big production.
Finally, we post authentic stories, people, and raw photos/videos that boost people’s morale and make us relatable. In that way, people consider us as their voice in this world full of “perfect people” on social media.”
As you start or refine your social media strategy, here is a little inspiration.
Here is an Instagram post from Tonara.
Milena Farber of Tonara says, “This post got 72.000 views, 4.400 likes, 110 comments, and 1,600 saves. It generated 5,071 profile visits, 48 website visits, and we got users signed up to our platform from this copy. Overall, 410 new followers came from this post.
We must say that the content of this video was the main reason why it performed so well! Videos are interactive, fun, and engaging! The caption must involve users; we must ask something and get them to answer us.”
Another way to get traction on Instagram is to share a personal story, like what the founder of Sparkr Marketing shared in this post.
“This was on Instagram, and most of my content is directly about my business, but I got personal in this one,” says Wendy Margolin of Sparkr Marketing.
“This came out shortly after Instagram Reels were released, and I was directly responding to those in my age group or older (40+) who know Instagram is a great channel to reach their audience, but they don’t want to have to dance like it’s Tik Tok. This was my nod to them and to my belief that you can be authentically you on social media without trying to conform.”
One example of a Facebook ad example is from the team at Greenback Expat Tax Services.
“We have found great success in posts where we offer something very informative simply by clicking,” says Carrie McKeegan of Greenback Expat Tax Services. “We have numerous how-to guides that can be instrumental for expats filing their taxes. A social media post that leads to these downloads can build up a lot of engagement, too.
It went extremely well. We had more visitors to our site to read or download our specialized content, and we also had more clicks on that specific post.”
Another example is from the crew at AmpMyContent.
Daniel Daines-Hutt of Ampmycontent says, “We ran Fb ads to promote a new blog post.
In that guide, we managed to get onto 60+ podcasts in 90 days, and we break it all down.
We like to test multiple variations, short and long-form, and even video ads.
The highest CTR so far has been the following ad:
“Pssst… Want to know my favorite method for promoting new content?
It’s going on HUGE podcasts and talking about the topic with the host.
You pitch them, you chat about the topic, and you get traffic and links back to your article. It’s one of the most powerful ways I’ve ever seen distributing and leveraging your content to new audiences.
In this guide, we break down how we got on 60+ shows in 90 days, all for free.
And the headline was:
Content Distribution Case Study: How we got thousands of new readers with just one method, in 90 days.
I think this particular ad does well simply due to the results, the time frame, the promise of showing them similar results, and the short copy to get the click.
Usually, this can result in a bounce rate if you don’t deliver on the promise in the ad, but the article goes into fine detail.
It converts cold traffic to leads at around 0.50 cents. Leads convert to sales at around 5x ROI.”
Many marketers think Facebook organic reach is dead. While it is certainly harder to get traction without ad spend, it is still possible.
“One example of effective copy on our agency’s social media channels was a post we put up towards the beginning of September congratulating one of our team members for winning a weekly team competition,” says Eli Pearlstein of BluShark Digital. “The post reached 656 people on Facebook and generated 38 reactions and 128 post clicks. I believe it performed well for a number of reasons.
There are many ways to generate traction on Twitter, including running a scholarship or contest.
“We always try to gain a community using our social media, so we make posts personal,” says Chans Weber of Leap Clixx. “For this example, we are congratulating our scholarship winner. We had a lot of interest in our scholarship, and the numbers continue to rise. We look forward to doing it again next year.”
Another approach is to share a customer success story.
“This tweet, in particular, has been one of our best performing posts of this year for a few reasons: it speaks directly to our target in understandable language, it’s about a partnership that has seen successful results, and it also includes hard data that backs up that success,” says Stephanie Carone of Lionbridge.
“Social posts should be conversational and not robotic. The brand voice should be aligned with your corporate brand voice but also speak human to human. Case studies that show real partnerships that have driven results also perform well. They’re not always easy to get, but they’re worth it when you do.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, including a statistic in our post seems to always increase engagement on all of our channels. People like to see hard numbers showing clear and sustained growth and improvement before they decide to click to see how you’ve done it.
Data informs our decisions and strategy in marketing and should also be used to show successes and why someone should read and engage with your content.”
MaestroVision used Linkedin to crowdsource content for an upcoming article.
“We posted on our Linkedin asking educators to contribute to our roundup article,” says Jessica Wein of MaestroVision. “I believe this post performed particularly well because we used the correct hashtags to gain visibility, and as it received more engagement (likes and comments), it appeared on others’ feeds for them to see as well.”
In addition to crowdsourcing content, you can also “tag” people who you featured when the article goes live.
“I currently have nearly 50K followers on TikTok for my marketing content and have watched how people use copy to effectively maximize the algorithm,” says Sam Ogborn of Once + More. “One of the most popular examples of this is, “wait for it” because the algorithm for videos now is starting to become watch time. By having people wait for the ending, the algorithm on TikTok or Instagram Reels (apparently) categorizes that content as engaging and serves it to more people – getting your content more views! I think it’s clever, and when I’ve used this copy, I’ve noticed an increase in my reach.”
In sum, social media copywriting is still copywriting. All of the main principles are still applicable. It is just the format/channel that is different.
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