Creating social media posts can be tricky, especially if you don’t consider yourself to be a “writer.” With that said, it’s also a lot easier to write for social media than it is to create traditional content, such as articles.
Today, we’re going to talk about how to create some awesome social media posts with a few quick tricks and tips. Remember: writing is meant to be a fun activity that helps you communicate with your audience, not a hellish exercise in torture!
You might have noticed that most people – including you – scroll through their social media feed on virtual autopilot. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that they are taking anything in as their finger scrolls past content at light speed. Seeing that can be intimidating: how am I going to create something that makes that scroll finger stop?
The answer is relatively simple: get their attention. However, it’s easier said than done for many. You might think that writing in a formal way – such as with the Oxford style or the AP Style – might work. Sure, be careful to use good spelling, grammar, and punctuation, but don’t feel as if you need to get it perfect.
After all, social media is a place to relax and shoot the breeze with friends for many, so nobody expects you to be perfect. Just don’t be sloppy. There’s a huge amount of space between the two, so you have lots of leeway.
For example, let’s say you want to market your fast food chicken outlet. This is a pretty informal kind of place so you could write a social media post like:
- “Feel like chicken tonight?”
- “Wanna grab a bite of this chicken?”
As you can see, this writing is colloquial and plays hard and fast with the rules – but it’s not “bad” writing per se.
Now, I want you to imagine that you are marketing a law firm. You’re definitely not going to want to use slang for that. Instead, you want to ensure that your social media writing is precise, clear, to the point, and free of informal language.
It’s also worth remembering that people have a tiny attention span these days, so keep it short and simple. The more you can pack into just a few short words, the better – get your point across and wrap it up.
Without further ado, here are the rest of my tips!
1. Use Numerals Instead of Writing Out Numbers
Social media is all about getting people’s attention in the blink of an eye and then getting your message across. Use numerals (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4…) instead of writing out the numbers (e.g., one, two, three, four) so people just “get” the number. This is a fairly simple one, and it also saves you from having to remember some of the more arcane grammatical rules that surround the usage of numerals, so consider this a double win!
2. Capitalize Important Words
One thing that social media doesn’t offer is the ability to use bold writing, underlined writing, or italic writing. This leaves you with only one option: the slightly inelegant SHOUTING writing that comes with capitalization. It’s a good idea to only do this with important words, rather than the whole post. For example:
A WHOLE POST WRITTEN IN CAPITALIZED LETTERS IS KINDA HARD TO READ, AND IT ALSO FEELS LIKE SOMEONE IS SCREAMING IN YOUR EAR.
You may also want to try another trick – only capitalizing the first letter of each word:
This Can Look Awkward Too, And It’s Worth Noting That A Lot Of People Don’t Like This Either. But Those Are Your Options (Without Making Use Of Post Images And Video To Really Grab Attention).
This is also an inelegant way to grab attention in your social media posts – if you do use this tip, do so sparingly and only when you really need people to sit up and take notice (and remember, not all attention is positive…)
3. Tag Other Accounts And Emphasize with #Hashtags
While you might not be able to use bold, underlined, or italic writing on your social media posts, you do have one trick up your sleeve: tagging and hashtags. Typically, these change the color of your text which can make your post stand out just a little bit more.
However, this is no excuse for you to go crazy and use all the hashtags and even create super long hashtag monsters. Keep it calm, relevant, and appropriate. In other words, just use your common sense. Most of us innately know how much is too much. If you’ve ever seen a post from someone that was 90% hashtags, then remember how you reacted to that. Chances are that everyone else did, too.
4. Avoid The Wall of Text: Space Out Your Social Media Posts
Unless you have an army of rabid, loyal followers, who hang onto your every word, having a wall of text is generally a bad idea. It all goes back to people’s miserly attention spans – and if you’re a regular person just trying to catch a break, you’re going to want to space your post out.
By this, I mean making use of white space with short paragraphs and even single-line paragraphs.
It’s fun – and also a tip that carries over from copywriting!
These don’t just make your post look “bigger,” they also make it a less intimidating time investment for people. Nobody wants to read a wall of text, but if you have great writing, broken up into short snippets, you’ll fare a lot better.
Don’t Be Scared – Use Emojis ? Just Don’t Abuse Them… ?
Emojis are a little controversial, but they’ve undeniably woven themselves into the fabric of the internet and our everyday lives, right down to having their own terrible movie. Emojis are another great way to add color and even fun to your posts, giving them that extra “LOOK AT ME!” highlight to catch a scroller’s eye.
Emojis are not always appropriate: that fast food chicken emporium can go crazy with the emojis; the legal firm, not so much. As fun as emojis are, they can’t yet project gravitas and authority in a social media post.
Whether emojis will work for your brand is a decision only you can make. If you can’t decide, think about your customers and whether they like emojis, or if the use of even a simple smiley emoji would send them into paroxysms of fury.
Finally, Don’t Forget The REAL Reason You’re Doing This
When you are writing your social media posts to market your brand, keep your audience at the front of your mind. You’re not writing these posts for you, after all. You’re writing these posts to grab the attention of your next customer, tempting them to purchase from you.
With the above tips, you now have five reasonably simple ways to give your post that little extra bit of help when confronted with a scrolling finger. While many of these focus on a visual impact – the thing that stops a scroller before digesting the content you’ve written – it’s important to remember that the actual content of your social media posts is what can make or break your success.