Social Media Copywriting – What it is and how to do it

Picture of Megan Bradbury

Megan Bradbury

Copywriting is so diverse, the requirements change depending on the purpose of your writing, space available on the selected platform, and the audience you’re writing to, amongst other things. These considerations will hugely impact the delivery of your message or call to action (CTA), the structure of your writing and the voice you write with.

Social media copywriting is one of the more challenging forms of copywriting as social media itself varies from platform to platform, some allow for longer captions, such as Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, and others only allow for smaller snippets of information such as X (formerly known as Twitter).

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to writing for social media. This means that you are faced with a lot of adaptation of your messaging, depending on your chosen platform.

What is a social media copywriter?

A social media copywriter is someone who composes posts to advertise their business, present their CTAs, raise brand awareness and increase their engagement through social media platforms.

You must be able to adapt your messaging to suit the chosen platform in order to successfully drive your marketing strategy on social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok and X.

Your copywriting often sits alongside product visuals, videos, graphic design and brand aesthetics, to compel your followers to action and encourage them along their customer journey.

Writing for social media engagement

There are different forms of engagement on social media; clicks, likes, comments and shares.

Any form of engagement on your posts will be beneficial to boosting your visibility, but it may be that you are trying to focus on one in particular for a post, which means that you need to compose your copywriting accordingly, or you may not achieve your desired effect.

Click

If you want your audience to click on a link then your post needs to focus on a captivating snapshot that will entice them to click on said link.

In this sense your copywriting works as a teaser, compelling the audience to move onto the next step, this may be buying a product, reading a blog or subscribing to a newsletter.

Whatever it is, you’re evoking desire within the reader: the desire to follow your post to its finish, which will usually be found on your website.

Like

Engaging through likes can have a varying focus. Accumulating a large amount of likes can boost the visibility of your post as the algorithms within social media detect its desirability and promote it to a wider audience.

If they detect that your followers have a mutual interest in your posts and others then it can be promoted as a “you may also like this” post to audiences who share those similar interests.

Likes can also be used to curate customer feedback. By saying things such as “if you enjoyed this content give us a like and we’ll make sure to post more like this”, you can gain great insight into your audience’s interests.

Comment

The comment section provides another great resource for curating customer research and feedback. You can use your posts to ask questions, if you sell sweet treats you can ask what flavours are people’s favourites and then use those answers to help with future recipes for example.

If you want content to showcase your products you can ask your customers to share their photographs and their experiences and use those reviews to help with your marketing strategy.

The comment section also allows you to respond to your customers which offers a more personal experience and can help build relationships so they come back to you rather than your competitors.

Share

Shares can massively increase your brand’s visibility and raise awareness for your cause. Speaking to people’s ego is the best way to encourage social media shares.

If your brand is fighting against animal cruelty for instance then your customers will want to share your content as it makes them feel good about themselves. “Look what a good person I am, I help businesses that have strong morals, therefore I have strong morals too!”

The more shares you accumulate, the wider the reach of your post. Social media algorithms reward posts with lots of shares by promoting them, “everybody is talking about this, get involved!”

Calls to action

When it comes to writing for social media you should know the purpose of your post. What is your call to action? What do you want your audience to do?

You want your posts to clearly push your CTA, this may be to encourage your target audience to buy your product, you may want them to comment their opinions on your service for research purposes, you may want them to donate to your charitable cause.

Whatever it is you want them to do, you need to stir the necessary emotions to make it happen. If you don’t make your CTA clear then you can’t expect your audience to take the desired action.

You can use key words and phrases to help push your CTA; “Buy it here!” “Link below!” “Tell us what you think!” “Like and share this post to support our cause!”

When it comes to social media you will have a select number of words available to push your CTA so don’t be afraid of being obvious.

Writing with the limitations of your social media platform in mind

As we’ve already mentioned, social media copywriting is limited due to the space available on each platform. Some allow for longer form content, whereas others only give you a few lines to get your message across.

Something you need to consider is the ‘see more’ function, which means that some of your message remains hidden unless the audience wishes to read further into the post. The first couple of lines will be visible so you need to make sure that what can be seen is enough to encourage the reader to want to find out more.

Whichever form of copywriting you are working with, your headline or opening idea needs to captivate your audience with a quick, compelling snapshot. The first sentence your audience reads will dictate whether or not they pursue your text.

If you’ve made it past my headline then I can assume that you want to know about copywriting for social media and you are looking for insight into the art, along with some useful tips. If you didn’t have any interest in that then you would have simply scrolled past.

Perhaps you’ve stumbled across this blog via our LinkedIn profile, how did our post entice you? What compelled you to click on the link?

Those few lines of text need to be compelling enough to push that CTA and move your audience to the next stage of your planned journey.

Audience and tone of voice

When it comes to copywriting for social media, knowing who your target audience is will be key to writing captivating content.

The nature of social media allows you to be more creative with your posts, you may have seen brands use funny memes or gifs to come across as more relatable, and this can be a great way to connect with your audience, provided that the tone is befitting with your brand and customers.

Social media is often much less formal, by design these platforms are to connect humans, so you can write from a more personal, human perspective. The goal is to connect with your followers and build trust with them, so try to remain friendly and approachable while still keeping to your business’ tone.

Being discoverable

If you want potential customers to be able to find your content then you can incorporate relevant hashtags into your social media posts. This will allow people who are searching for your key terms to be able to find you.

You can conduct some research into your customers to find which hashtags will be most beneficial in gaining traction for your business. You are usually capped at how many hashtags you can use per post so you want to make them count. Instagram for instance allows up to 30 hashtags per post.

You can also use hashtags to join trending conversations that could be in line with your own company’s ethos. Climate change has been a huge discussion topic across the world recently so you could demonstrate your involvement through green company policies.

You can even create unique hashtags for your brand so that your customers can use them to share their personal experiences with you and your products. You just have to make sure that they are unique so that when people search for them there isn’t any confusion between your brand and another company.

Some top tips for social media copywriting

Here are our top tips to consider when producing copywriting for social media platforms…

1. Open with a quick, compelling snapshot

Your audience is busy scrolling so you need to catch their attention, this may be an ad headline or a couple of lines of text depending on the platform, but you need your opener to entice the reader in and encourage them to click into your post.

You need to be considerate of the available space on your chosen platform, and use this to help you structure your copy. Think about the other aspects you can utilise for your post, is there room for an image or a video? Can you apply some of your messaging to your media so that you have more space for your text?

You may have to restructure the same post differently for each platform so that you can get the best result from each of your social media profiles. When it comes to social media you are restricted so make your copy work for the platform.

2. Ask your audience questions

As we’ve said, social media gives you the perfect opportunity to engage with your audience, not only is it a great way to give them insight into who you are and your business, it offers you the chance to learn about them, their interests, their likes and dislikes.

Make sure that you have a dedicated member of your team to work on your social media engagement who is listening to your followers. Taking their comments on board will help you to build a relationship of trust with your followers, rather than leaving them feeling ignored.

Starting conversations around your brand will not only increase your brand visibility with existing followers, it will help to expand your audience reach.

3. Mix up your content

The best way to engage with your followers is to use a variety of different content from sales content to insights, blogs and articles, reviews and engaging posts. Having a mixture keeps your profile fun and exciting.

If you are selling a product or service then you will need to have some straightforward sales posts with a clear CTA, but this should be interspersed with other kinds of content to avoid tedium.

4. Appeal to emotion

Depending on what you want your post to achieve, you’ll need to think carefully about the emotion you want to evoke and the experience you want your audience to have.

Do you want them to get excited for a flash sale? Do you need to inspire them to buy your service? Do you want to make them feel sadness so they’ll donate to a charitable cause?

You should always be considering the best way to push your call to action, and appealing to emotions is a good way to do that.

5. Keep it conversational

You don’t have to be too formal when you’re writing for social media. The main focus is to engage with your followers in a digital space, so try to be conversational, friendly and relatable. This is the perfect space to talk to your audience in a personal manner and build a relationship of trust.

While you are able to be more human in your messaging, you do need to keep your brand’s tone of voice in mind so you don’t confuse your brand image or your audience. Social media offers the opportunity to be experimental so you can push the parameters of your tone of voice, just be careful that you don’t lose your identity.

Ultimately, your goal is to build trust so try to be open and approachable with your followers and connect with them on a more personal level.

6. Remain consistent across platforms

In order to have a strong presence online you have to keep your brand image and tone of voice consistent across all your social accounts and digital assets to create a brand experience. This applies to your graphics and visuals, as well as all copywriting.

If you’re struggling to find your brand voice try imagining your brand as a person or a character. What is their personality? How do they portray themselves to the world? Once you’ve pinpointed your character you can develop the voice.

It can be beneficial for a member of your team to take some time every now and again to look at your social media accounts and check that your delivery remains consistent across each platform.

Consistency also applies to how often you are posting on your social media accounts. In order to stay at the forefront of your customer’s mind and build up regular engagement you should be scheduling regular posts.

Social Media Examples

Let’s take a look at some examples of how businesses use social media to promote their brands…

KFC

The KFC social media team are extremely active on X, and a lot of their posts use humour to promote their brand. Fast food is often marketed as fun and joyful, so their tone of voice is perfect for the brand.

As you can see in this snippet of their most recent feed, they get a lot of engagement. Their profile currently has 1.6 million followers, so their audience reach and visibility is substantial.

Using humour is perfect for this social media platform as there isn’t a lot of room available for copywriting. The witty profile works well at getting people talking about KFC, and their commitment to posts means that their name is constantly being pushed in front of their audience, keeping them relevant.

HelloFresh UK

HelloFresh UK use a mixture of visuals and copywriting for their Instagram advertisements as pictures are perfect for quickly grabbing attention. They incorporate desirable copy within the visual to tease the audience into learning more by reading the caption.
Costs and available discounts are clearly highlighted by the post, they have even included old costs to make their offering stand out to their audience. A clear CTA ‘Order Now’ is used to make the purpose of the post evident and entice customers as they simply have to click on the link to redeem the offer.

The copy itself is structured clearly so that people scrolling past can understand the message even if they don’t open the full caption.

Ryanair

Ryanair are infamous for their cheap flights that boast little to no luxury. Rather than trying to deny customer claims, they use the negativity to create a jokey and sarcastic persona through their social media.

The approach has proved to be extremely successful as they remain one of Britain’s most popular airlines.

Their profile is a mix of sales copywriting and relatable, humorous content.

Ryanair are aware that their biggest selling point is their competitive pricing so their minimal advertising approach works perfectly for the brand.

Ben & Jerry’s

A huge part of Ben & Jerry’s identity comes from their dedication to supporting good causes that seek to stop injustice. By sharing their involvement, customers can feel happy that they are supporting worthy charities and movements.

They incorporate clear links into these posts so that their audience can easily get involved, all while promoting their image which increases their brand visibility and boosts their sales.

Ben & Jerry’s mix up their social media content to keep their profile interesting and get their audience engaged.

Even when they are promoting their own products, they like to show their support for external organisations, keeping their brand relevant and on-trend, and their tone of voice clear.

Boohoo

Boohoo love to use creative content to promote their brand. They feature a lot of relatable memes and gifs to encourage conversations between their audience and keep their brand at the forefront of their minds.

A lot of their content features controversial topics of conversation as it is a proven way to boost brand visibility and increase sales.

Social media copywriting doesn’t have to be complex to get a message across, Boohoo demonstrate that sometimes a witty snippet is enough to engage thousands of people.

Final thoughts

As you can see, copywriting for social media can be very creative, fun and experimental, and the main focus is getting your audience talking about your brand, pushing relevant calls to action and increasing engagement with customers.

I hope that this blog has given you some useful insight into the world of social media, and demonstrated how using these platforms can be hugely beneficial for your business.

At Browndog, our dedicated team is on hand to talk you through your social media strategy and offer you advice on the best approach to your brand and content. Get in touch and speak to one of our specialists.

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