Microcopy:A Crash Course In Writing For Social Media
Finding your company voice, establishing identity, balancing witty and trending with consistent brand building…writing for social media is as nuanced as it is abbreviated.
Over 30 billion pieces of content are shared each month on Facebook alone. If you want people to engage with your brand – you need to cut through the noise and grab their attention. Get ready to get short with this crash course in writing microcopy for social media.
Lesson #1 Length Matters
We all know that you’d love to write the next great novel (so would I) but social media isn’t the place to do it. When I say length matters, I’m not talking about the allowed character count – I’m talking about the text length that performs. For Facebook and Instagram, that’s a minuscule copy length of 40 characters. Posts with 40 characters or less receive 86% more engagement than posts with a higher character count.
To give you some reference, this sentence is 40 characters long:
Avadel is digital advertising made easy.
Check out this post for a great example of abbreviated copy:
On Twitter, that magic number you’re shooting for is between 71-100 characters. Tweets shorter than 100 characters have a 17% higher engagement rate.
For reference, this copy below is 84 characters long:
Getting stuck sucks. Scale your business the simple way with ads that actually work.
Check out this tweet from Coke that executes this perfectly.
Lesson #2 Make It Natural
This is easier said than done (have you ever watched someone trying to act natural?), so here are a few tips to get you on the right track:
– Write the same way you talk. You can even use voice-to-text to get some tech in on an initial draft. Use short sentences. (Your old English teacher can get over it.)
– Carefully use questions, emojis, and exclamation marks. Stay within the tone you’ve established, but write your copy as if you were writing a text to a friend.
– Use natural wording – absolutely no industry jargon.
For example, a first draft of “professional” social media copy might look like this:
We have an exciting new line up of kegs ready to tap for you this weekend. It’s spring, and that means Girl Scout Cookies. Get ready for the Thin Mint Pastry Blonde, Caramel Delight Brown Ale, Lemonades Hefe, and the Peanut Butter Pattie Porter.
Hmm…Boring? Prolix? How did we manage to make beer NOT fun?
Let’s make this sound like someone is actually speaking, do away with that list, and punch some enthusiasm in there with punctuation and power words.
🍺🍪 DRINK YOUR COOKIES.
The Girl Scout Cookie Series taps this weekend!
Much better. Using emojis is a way to snag attention from your readers but you need to weigh if they feel right with the vibe of your company. You’ll also see that I didn’t include the full beer list…nobody was reading it anyway. Give people enough information to get them in the door, fill them in on the menu once they’re there.
Check out this post from Wendy’s. You won’t find emojis, but when it comes to copy that reads naturally, they’re the king.
Lesson #3 Emotion Drives Engagement
Be relatable because the goal is shareable.
Let’s zoom out for a minute. When you’re writing any copy for your business your goal isn’t to just tell people about your products or services, you want to paint a picture of the experience they provide. What do I mean by that? I mean that if I’m selling a backpacking tent, I’m not talking about all the technical specs (although those are important), I’m selling you the freedom of being able to set off confidently into the wilderness on the adventure of your dreams.
Make sense? Your social media feed is the canvas for you to paint that picture of what your customers could be doing or who they could be if *only* they worked with you. Your voice should be funny, relatable, consistent…everything they’d want in someone they want to hang out with or aspire to be.
Like any good friend, your brand should invite others into the conversation and not hog all the attention. Encourage your audience to join the conversation “Tell us your ideas…” “What are you looking forward too?” or “Can you guess…” are all great hooks to throw in when you’re writing for social media.
For the first time ever, FOMO is your best friend. Adding words that hint at exclusivity makes your audience feel like they’re in an important inner circle if they’re already customers, or like they want to be if they aren’t.
Here’s an example of copy that does an incredible job of centering on what the reader cares about, inviting them into the inner circle, and asking for engagement:
Are you starting to get a feel for this? A quick writing exercise for social media copy is to literally write it on your phone. It’ll help you not be overly wordy.
If you’re struggling with deciding what to cut to get down to copy that’s concise, think about the one thing you would tell a friend to try to convince them to go to this event, try this product, or explain why you loved this service.
Instead of telling them the full band line-up of a music festival you want to go to, you might just tell them, “It’s gonna be AMAZING.” and that might be the perfect line of copy for your social post.
If it seems too simple, you’re doing it right.