Social media copywriting sounds highly specialized but in truth is not any different from any other type of writing; at least, writing that you want people to read and feel an impact.
Good copywriting is just good writing written for a specific audience, on a specific topic, in a readable format that encourages the impulse to tell others about it. It has a great title and a hook. The term "social media" merely labels the modern method for telling others.
A Specific Audience
Successful social media copywriting begins with identifying your audience, aka your “target.” Writing without an audience in mind tends to devolve into kitchen sink content, aimless and of no value. Identify who you want to speak to, who you expect to be interested in what you have to say, before setting words to screen.
In marketing terms the target is called a “buyer persona,” an amalgam of demographics, behaviors, and motivators pertaining to a specific type of person. A buyer persona helps you keep your audience firmly in mind as you write. You can even give it a name; writing to “Mike” or “Melissa” is much easier and keeps you on track because you are writing to a person not a crowd.
For sharing purposes you will want to go further than a buyer persona and identify influencers, actual people who:
- Are considered thought leaders in your industry.
- Possess a large number of social media followers and high social authority.
- Are highly active in social media, sharing and blogging more than the average person.
You find influencers by tracking industry keywords, checking out authors in industry trade publications, and finding those already talking about your topic on networks such as Twitter. You can also go to Followerwonk where you can use Twitter analytics to identify the right people. Add anyone else you find interesting.
Once you have your content you will leverage your influencers by attracting their attention, building a relationship with them, and letting them know you are trying to get the word out about your ideas.
A Specific Topic
Choosing a topic identifies your message and offers ways to organize your social media copywriting efforts to best advantage. The way you present the topic impacts readership as much as the topic itself. The most successful ways to present a topic on the web are as positives, negatives, and descriptions.
Content that provides help or solutions.
Content that says what NOT to do or what to avoid
The research you did to find your influencers will also tell you what those influencers like to read, write, and share. This will guide you on the type of content and topics to choose. Once you have built a relationship with the influencer, use these topics and types of content when nudging them to help you spread the word.
A critical note: substance will win over style with influencers and anyone else online. It won’t matter how it is dressed up if you aren’t telling them something new, original, or helpful.
Titles and Formatting
The mechanics of formulating winning titles and the type of format best suited to online content have been presented many times, but with the above in mind, it bears repeating.
A provocative title will certainly grab attention but be sure it also presents the truth about the content. If you provide a misleading title you lose trust and you will lose that reader, probably permanently.
Now… a word about numbers in the title:
- Small numbers offer a promise of simple steps to success.
- Large numbers indicate value and a broad selection.
Just a reminder that people skim more than they read online. Make the content easily digestible with bulleted lists, short paragraphs, and subheadings; combine with substantive content, a great title, and an interesting topic; and your content will be eminently readable, sharable, and likeable. Perfect for feeding your influencers.
This should get you started on the road to successful social media copywriting.
Now go. Get read. Get shared. Get liked.