Tone of voice and speaking ‘to the human’ is key when writing effective social copy. Different social media platforms have different user-bases and different posting conventions, so it’s also important to think about where you’re posting. The social media platform you’re writing on is going to influence your copy. A post that’s great for one platform may not quite cut it for another.
Here are some of the differences between four of the major platforms to keep in mind when writing social posts. There are of course other platforms, but these are the most likely places to find yourself writing copy.
Facebook is the most used social media site in the world with 2.4 billion active monthly users. This huge user base covers a wide range of demographics.
93% of marketers use Facebook regularly, as it’s a great place for targeted advertising. People can be targeted by a variety of demographics and based on what they’ve previously liked, meaning you can craft copy with a very specific audience in mind.
The days of plain text status updates are largely a thing of the past on Facebook. Users expect strong accompanying images, videos, and links to external content. Copy is mostly needed to complement this additional content and entice people to interact.
This doesn’t mean copy is redundant. Nobody likes their phone to autoplay videos that blare out sound unexpectedly. 85% of users watch videos with the sound off – so caption copy is important! In fact, captions increased view times by 12%. Copy can also be creatively incorporated into image designs.
Other platforms are more restrictive in terms of text length, but Facebook is pretty much a blank page with a massive character limit (63,000). In most instances, you shouldn’t need to be writing anywhere near that though.
It’s better to be brief, grab attention, and guide a user towards the associated content. Data suggests posts with fewer than 250 characters get 60% more likes.
Should I hashtag?
Facebook does have hashtags, but they are rarely used compared to Twitter or Instagram.
While smaller than Facebook with 330 million monthly users, Twitter is still a big fish (or bird). The user base is mostly made up of millennials.
Twitter can be a great way for companies to show a human side and interact directly with customers. That’s why 85% of small to medium enterprises now use Twitter to provide customer service.
Speaking in the same voice as your target users is vital to getting positive engagement on Twitter. People re-tweet when they find a better way to express their own thoughts or feelings – they’re never going to re-tweet boring corporate jargon.
Twitter copy is often short, playful, or humorous. It’s a great place to exercise creativity. However, as many corporate accounts have discovered, Twitter can be an unforgiving place when you get it wrong!
Although the character limit on Twitter doubled from 140 to 280 in 2017, it still doesn’t leave a huge amount of room to manoeuvre for copy. Brevity is key.
Should I hashtag?
Hashtags are a good way to summarise your post and link to your account’s other tweets on the same topic. It’s always a good idea to research the hashtags other people are using within your industry. Don’t go over the top though – they count towards the character limit and one or two is plenty.
The professional social networking site. People’s accounts are linked to their company pages, so they are (usually) on their best online behaviour. You need to make sure your copy fits in with this. People use LinkedIn knowing that their boss and colleagues will see what they like and comment on.
The vast majority of LinkedIn’s 300 million monthly users are working professionals, with 49% of LinkedIn users earning more than £58,000 in a year. This is where you can catch the eye of CEOs and decision makers – and even ‘InMail’ them directly.
People expect longer, more thoughtful content on LinkedIn. There’s a long character limit for posts, plus people are more inclined to click through to external blogs or articles in the 2,000+ word region.
‘How-to guides’ and ‘list posts’ with titles between 40-60 characters get the best engagement. Most LinkedIn users will proudly identify as busy. This doesn’t mean content has to be brief, but it does need to start delivering value fast. Cut the fluff.
LinkedIn is by far the most important platform for B2B marketers. In fact, 91% of marketing executives list LinkedIn as the top place to find quality content.
Should I hashtag?
LinkedIn only introduced hashtags in 2016. They’re now commonly used – and can be a good way to get your post seen by more people. As with the rest of the copy though, keep them professional.
Instagram has 500 million+ daily users and is hugely popular with younger people, with 72% of teens estimated to be users. 25 million businesses are also on Instagram and one-third of the most viewed stories are now from business accounts.
It might not be the best platform for direct B2B marketing, but it’s a great place for building a brand image and showing parts of your company culture that maybe wouldn’t be as appropriate on other platforms.
Instagram is primarily for photos and short videos, although nearly all posts are accompanied by some copy. Nobody is here to read long form content, but it’s still important to provide context. While best kept short, good copy can offer a chance to differentiate your post.
‘Insta’ has a large character limit of 2,200, but in reality, this gets cut off after three lines unless a user chooses to click and expand the rest of it.
Should I hashtag?
Hashtags and mentions etc. can be hidden beneath the three lines of main copy. It’s common to see a lot of hashtags on Instagram compared to other platforms.
You can hopefully see now why posting the same copy across multiple platforms isn’t ideal. You miss out on capitalising on the differences between them. A good post for Twitter may completely flounder on LinkedIn, and vice versa.
Tailoring your posts to be platform-specific is an important part of ensuring you reach your intended audience.
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