If you’ve been working hard on your marketing, then you may well have developed a ‘tone of voice’ for your business. It may be subconscious or very deliberate, but it means you know what you want to sound like each and every time you write something, whether that’s website copy, a leaflet, or a pitch email for new business. But what about social media? That can be a tricky one to master, which is rather ironic given how much time the average person spends scrolling through social networks every day.
Writing for social media is a bit of an art form, some of the most memorable, viral social media posts were actually written by highly experienced copywriters. They might only be writing 280 characters at a time, but their job is to write social posts all day, every day whilst staying on-message and they are experts at walking the fine line between being different enough to be talked about, but not newsworthy for the wrong reasons. Take this incredibly simple tweet that has become the most-liked branded tweet in history:
Composing social media posts
But don’t let that put you off. You know your business inside out and will probably have a very good idea of what you want to get from your social media messaging. Here are a few tools and tips you can employ to elevate your social media messaging to a level that will catch people’s attention and compel them to take action. To start with, that means taking these four things into consideration each and every time you write a post:
- Your message – what you are actually trying to say. Are you advertising an offer, or sharing some of your industry knowledge?
- Your brand’s tone of voice – as we mentioned before what you ‘sound like’, are you serious, casual, funny or business-like?
- Which social network? You will want to craft slightly different messages for different social networks. More on that below.
- What do you want someone to do once they’ve read your message? This is called the ‘Call to Action’ (or CTA) and is used to ask people to click a link to your website, like a page, enter a competition or sign up for an event.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular social networks out there, who is interacting with the posts on them and what they might expect to see from you.
Facebook remains the most popular social network in the world, with 68% of adults using it despite various data scandals. The ages of people using Facebook are quite surprising – you might hear that it’s all about the older people, but actually users are quite evenly spread between the different age categories. What is important is that the numbers of older people joining are on the rise, and fewer young people are joining.
Facebook is designed to be conversational, with a lot of emphasis on comments, sharing and the ability to reply to posts with images, GIFs and videos. People expect a light-hearted and informal tone on Facebook, and you can look forward to customers being equally open back to you – and that’s for both positive and negative feedback.
LinkedIn is very much a business-to-business platform, somewhere for professionals to network, look for new roles and share opinions about their industry. The member statistics are very evenly split from ages 18 to 65, then (unsurprisingly) it drops off entirely. If you want to market to other businesses, advertise vacancies or be seen as an industry leader and post your professional opinions for all to read, then it is worth having a LinkedIn profile. Users will expect a formal tone – and try to steer away from memes and personal content.
Tone of voice is important for Instagram, even though it is an image-led network. You want to start a light-hearted conversation about the image, telling a story and asking the audience to take an action. The CTA can be harder when there isn’t a direct link at the end of the post and remember to get the important bits in at the beginning – people love to look at the pretty pictures, not read long captions. Use hashtags carefully and don’t copy and paste the same hashtag into every single post as you will be penalised.
See also: A beginners guide to Instagram
Twitter used to be all about short, snappy content as you were limited to just 140 characters. Now we can use 280 characters, but the emphasis is still on ‘headline’ style tweets that quickly tell a story and compel people to click links to find out more. According to the latest figures, Twitter is most popular with users in their 20s and with a large chunk in their teens. That was quite a lot of information, so if your head is in a spin then there’s nothing wrong with asking for a little help.
Here at Tara Punter PR we look after the social media accounts of a wide range of businesses, enabling them to concentrate on operational and business development matters. Drop us a line today to have an informal chat.