Finding the right words for social media posts can be downright challenging. There are so many things to consider: How many sentences are appropriate? Should I plug in an emoji? When is humor okay and when is it not? What’s the hook? What do my followers want? And then there are those days when a writing block hits and forming any sentence at all feels like climbing Mount Everest. We’ve been there.
That’s why we’re letting you in on the secret of how our writers bust out of writing fatigue to craft compelling social media content using these 15 questions.
5 things to know before you start
Before you start working through the questions, there are five things you should know.
Know your brand
It goes without saying, social media writers need to know their brand. To write copy that aligns with the mission and vision of the organization, it’s important to know—and ideally have documented—your company’s social media voice/tone, key messages, content pillars, grammar expectations and visual style.
You also need to know what you’re selling. This doesn’t only apply to the physical product or actual services. Most brands are also selling a lifestyle, a belief, an idea or a philosophy. That philosophy will help guide all of your writing.
Know your audience
As part of your organization’s overall marketing strategy, there should be documentation about who the company’s target audience is. That’s who you need to speak to. The copy you write should embody the thoughts, needs and desires of that target audience.
Here’s where there could be a perceived stumbling block for B2B organizations. It can be tempting to think of your audience as a business or entity. But if you do a little digging, you’ll realize your audience is in fact human. You’re selling to a business but you’re communicating to a person. Nail down the characteristics of that person and apply that to your writing.
Know the why
You might think you know why you’re publishing this particular post, but do you REALLY know why? The answer could be as simple as, “My marketing director or CEO told me this was important.” And that’s sometimes okay. But try to think critically. Consider whether what you’re saying meets a need, solves a problem or provides valuable and timely information. Think about the time of year, world events, changing trends and whether any of that has an impact on why you’re sharing this particular post. Knowing the why gives your post a purpose. Without it, your post is just noise.
Know the value
By this we mean, what is the value of this post to your audience? Why should they care? Maybe this post has value because you’re holding a sale on a hot product and your audience can get a great deal. Maybe your sales team has been asked the same question over and over by customers and this post addresses that urgent need or concern. The key here is to forget about the value to your organization and focus on the value to your customer. They want to know what’s in it for them. Grab them using emotion, intrigue, compassion and empathy. Put yourself in their shoes first, and then write.
Know the end goal
Next, determine the goal of the post or whether there’s an action you’d like your audience to take. Examples could include:
- Register for an event
- Click on a link
- Engage (like, share, comment)
If there is a clear goal, make sure you give your audience a compelling reason to take that action. If you want them to register for an event, tell them why they can’t afford to miss it. If you want them to click on a link, give them a nugget of information teasing what they’ll find. If you want engagement, your content had better be interesting enough to engage with.
Sometimes the end goal is less measurable. The goal of your post could be to generate goodwill or brand awareness with your audience. In a crisis situation, the goal of a post might be to keep your followers informed about changes in event schedules, business hours or product availability. Whatever your goal is, keep your eye on it.
Go back and write it better
Finally, once you have your compelling social media post written, make it even better! Your first or second iteration of copy probably still has room for improvement. Questions 12-15 on our list address this. Go ahead, pull out your thesaurus and replace a dull word with a better one. Get rid of those unnecessary helping verbs. Read it out loud and make sure it sounds natural and not “salesy.” Take a break, come back in an hour, read through it again and improve it.
Practice makes perfect, and with repetition, walking through this process will take less and less time. Looking for guidance in executing this strategy with your team? We can help.