What distinguishes a good writer from a poor one? I can think of two things: empathy and adaptability.
Understanding your ideal buyer’s emotions — what makes them happy, what gets them worried, what frustrates them — gives you an excellent advantage. It allows you to create and share content that’s of use and value to your customer, which results in higher engagement rates.
If you’re writing copy for multiple clients and channels, you not only need to stay up-to-date and in touch with several industries at once, you also need to change your writing style accordingly, to best suit your audience and medium. Devote ample time to researching your various audiences and gaining a crystal clear understanding of their needs, and then tailor your communication to match the channel you're using to reach them. Keep in mind that your language and style should always reflect your brand’s attitude, regardless which channel you’re using — an inconsistent brand is not one that inspires trust!
Below I have listed 5 things your social media captions should not be!
Please don’t ramble. Stay focused and say one thing per post! What is the aim of your caption? Is it to announce a new product? To guide people to a website, encourage them to download an application, or invite them to an event? Ensure your message is straightforward so people get the point at a glance!
2. Too long
Length does matter when it comes to social media, friend. You are writing a caption for Facebook, not an extensive study on your subject matter! This is not the place to expand upon thoughts, but rather to convey them in as few words as possible. Creativity is an excellent quality to possess, but editing is just as valuable a skill… If not more!
3. A description of the visual
Say you’ve posted a picture of your breakfast. The user can most likely see and recognise the scene, as it’s a familiar one. There’s no reason for you to write something like “I simply love having a cup of tea and some lightly toasted bread with marmalade in the morning on my balcony.” That’s what the photo is there for. It’s the same when you’re writing for a product or service; don’t just repeat what the picture is showing. Make sure your copy adds to it!
4. Grammatically incorrect
This one is obvious. I don’t need to explain it further! If you’re unsure about a word or a saying, Google will likely know the answer. Or, if you’re feeling particularly sociable today, ask a colleague! Call your dad, or your girlfriend. People like to act like they know everything — this is your time to put them to the test! “Spell entrepreneur for me! Is it lie or lay? Conjugate beseech.”
5. Conflicting with brand identity
Righto. This is important! We said earlier that your copy should be appropriately adapted to whichever channel you’re using — for example, hashtags tend to be used much more widely on Instagram than on Facebook, so incorporating more of them into your texts on this platform can help you maximise your reach!
BUT — your language should still match the nature of your brand. If it were a person, what would your brand be like? A jolly middle-aged fellow? A mysterious 20-something-year-old? A button-your-shirt-all-the-way-up type of person? Visualise it. What would this person sound like? What vocabulary would they choose, what hashtags would they use?
One final thing before you go! I’ve put together a checklist that could be of use when you’re writing! Once you’ve written your caption, ask yourself the following:
- Does the language match the brand’s personality?
- Is the post about a subject that the brand would talk about?
- Is the end message clear?
- Are spelling and grammar free of errors?
- Is there a call-to-action? If so, is it clear?
- Does the copy work alongside the image?
- Can I say the same thing in fewer characters?
There you have it — a quick guide to improving your writing for social media! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us using the form below!