Is your business active on social media? If so, whether you anticipated it or not, you added “writer” to your list of responsibilities the second you activated your accounts. And that’s in addition to the “CEO,” “accountant,” “customer service representative,” and countless other hats you already wear running your business. That’s a lot of hats to be wearing, especially given that writing for social media takes time. A lot of time, and a lot of creativity.
Need help writing for social media business pages? Need some inspiration? Here are our top 7 tips for writing social media posts that get consumers to read and react.
1. Ask questions first.
Traditional marketing channels like direct mail and television are great for one-way, mass blast messages. Since the consumers receiving these marketing pieces have no direct way to comment back, it’s acceptable for your content to be very straightforward without eliciting feedback.
When it comes to writing marketing copy for social media, it’s time to ditch the megaphone.
Social media is a different beast. Consumers want to be (heck, they expect to be) included. People love the opportunity to comment, like, share, and otherwise interact with your posts. You just need to make it easy for them!
When you write marketing content for your social media posts, end with thought-provoking questions and prompts. Make sure your questions are open ended as well, so they elicit more than a simple “yes” or “no” response.
Pro tip: If you find you’re not getting as much engagement as you’d like with simple questions, up the ante. Host a contest where you reward individuals who comment or share your posts. Or, try sharing a poll.
2. Then, give answers.
Social media should be just that…social. Brands that use the megaphone approach on social media (shouting messages at consumers) miss the opportunity to create conversations and build trust.
Earlier, I recommended you incorporate open-ended questions and audience prompts to encourage engagement. Don’t stop there.
If a consumer comments on or shares one of your posts, respond! Let them know you’re listening.
Engaging in conversations on social media:
- Makes you more relatable and accessible.
- Establishes trust, if you’re able to adequately answer questions.
- Improves your customer service capabilities, since you can respond to questions and issues right away.
3. Speak their language, not yours.
There’s an old marketing saying, “If you’re targeting everyone, you’re targeting no one.”
What that means is too many business marketers try to make their messaging suit everyone. But when you write with no one in particular in mind, no one in particular will resonate with your messaging.
Hopefully you know your target demographic, or at the very least, you have some information about your typical customer. How old are they? What gender are they? Where do they live and hang out? What do they buy most from businesses like yours?
Once you have a handle on your target demographic, speak directly and specifically to them. Use terms and phrases they’ll easily understand. Make sure any action you ask them to take is something someone in their age group would realistically do on social media in the first place. (For example, millennials are more likely to post their own videos with hashtags to enter business contests, whereas baby boomers will be more likely to comment on or share a post than to create their own content.)
Also, avoid using industry jargon and terminology the general public won’t recognize. If you’re a doctor or a veterinarian, say “heart scan” instead of “angiocardogram.” If you’re a general contractor, use “wood beam” instead of “microlam.”
It may seem counterintuitive to dumb down the words you use, but your followers will appreciate it. Posts they can understand are posts they’ll engage with.
4. Talk pain points.
When a consumer searches for businesses like yours online or follows your business on social media, they probably don’t know exactly what product or service they need.
While they may have an idea they need landscaping services, for example, they probably don’t know exactly which services will work best for their lawn. They just know they have a problem (or a pain point) that they need help fixing.
That’s where you come in. It’s tempting to spend time and marketing resources touting the cool things your business is capable of doing. Instead, think about the pain points your products and services address, and write about those.
Let’s go back to the landscaping example. Rather than writing about your best seasonal specials, write social media posts about how certain types of grass grow better in the winter than others.
When consumers see posts they can relate to about their current struggles, they’ll be more likely to see you as someone who can help them fix those problems. (And less likely to see you as a big brand marketer.)
5. Use the 80/20 rule.
Don’t worry, we’re not talking economics. In marketing, particularly social media, the 80/20 rule refers to the theory that only 20% of your social posts should be promotional in nature. The other 80% should be high-value content that’s meant to attract and engage your target audience. Some marketers also call this social selling.
Put yourself in the shoes of a consumer. Would you rather see what appears to be ads and promotional messaging clutter your social feeds? Or would you prefer to see posts from friends and family, in addition to interesting content from the business pages you follow?
That interesting, helpful content is how you maintain and build followers so that you can promote your products and services to them later. While it may be tough, do your best to stick to the 80/20 rule for top engagement. If you break that rule, don’t be surprised if your follower and engagement metrics shrink.
6. Think quality, not quantity.
Just because you’re only writing original posts with unique content a few times a week doesn’t mean you can’t share content from other businesses. Sharing is caring, especially on sites like Twitter where individuals and businesses are expected to post at higher volumes than other social mediums.
Pro tip: Twitter best practices say your retweet-to-tweet (or share-to-post) ratio should be at least 2 to 1. That is, you should retweet, share, comment on, and engage with content from other businesses’ Twitters about twice as often as you tweet your own messages.
7. Pump them full of personality.
When it comes to running a small business, writing for social media is one way you have an advantage against the big brands. While they’re limited by strict policies about what they can and can’t post and how they phrase certain things, you’re not.
Inject your own personal style and way of speaking into your posts as often as possible. If you run a salon, show a little attitude and sass. If you run a business that provides urgent services, like a locksmith or a plumber, write posts about how much locking your keys in your car sucks, or how an overflowing toilet can really ruin your night.
The more interesting and relatable your posts, the better. And what’s great about social media is you have countless opportunities to try different things and test your limits. When you find a post that resonates, write similar content with the same personality and style more often.
Writing for social media takes some effort. If you don’t have the time to sit at your desk all day thinking up creative new posts, you’re not alone. That’s where social media management software comes in handy. Thryv’s social media manager comes with a content library of 500,000+ posts you can customize with your own spin and business details.