Social Media Writing 2020: How to Write Engaging Social Media Posts
Clearly, the best way to get feedback is to write good social media copy that will capture viewers’ interest. But alongside that, there are a few key things to remember that will keep your audience engaged.
How to increase social media engagement
Plenty of people have options about how to write engaging content and what social media posts should be about. Copywriters focus on content that will solve users’ problems. SEO experts want articles on trending topics that will make it to the top in search results. SMM managers create engaging social media posts with humorous images, infographics, and short videos. It’s a challenge to find a happy medium and make your posts effective.
Social media content depends on your audience and what you aim to achieve. However, it’s also a fact you need to make your posts helpful. Try to understand what your audience is looking for. For example, if you’re managing an online university’s account, users are going to be looking for pedagogical content and materials. The first thing you need to do is to provide useful educational information. These may be tips and tricks for effective learning techniques, productivity ideas, articles about educational courses at your university, or interviews with students and professors. The goal is to pique readers’ interest: if they see plenty of articles on the topics they are interested in, they will stay and may even subscribe.
So, the main idea is to get the audience interested. You can add information about sales, special deals, or even post humorous pictures, but be careful: all your posts should be appropriate and not distract viewers from the main focus. Try walking in your viewer’s shoes to understand what will catch their attention.
Instagram is the most popular social media platform right now. So, if you are creating a post for Instagram, go for videos, photos, gifs, infographics, short quotes, and memes. People don’t like to read text on Instagram so try to put all the key information in the image. If you’re working with a designers team, discuss the choice for each post. The more engaging your post is, the better the chance it will be shared.
Vary the content so your viewers won’t get bored. People don’t always read the text, so it’s best to focus on visual content. The best way to capture attention on Twitter is to use all possible space for an image.
Use a photo editor to add text, frames, or stickers to your images. Using simple yet effective tools will save you time. Start out with software designed for beginners; you can always move up to professional editing apps later:
Be careful with stock pictures
Try to avoid stock pictures that look like meme templates. Stock pictures are a good option when you need to find neutral pictures of landscapes, cities, or food. But when it comes to groups of people, all those smiling strangers in theatrical poses look so unnatural that viewers won’t feel a connection. People do not pose like this in real life. Instead of adding a stock photo to an article about your company, use an actual photo of your colleagues so viewers can meet the real team. If there is no opportunity to get real-life photos and you have to use stock images, try to pick high-quality photos. There are plenty of sites with photos that look far more realistic than classic stock pictures:
Here you can find high-quality photos taken by professional photographers. What’s more, these photos are free to use, so you won’t have any copyright issues.
Post user reviews
The best way to communicate what your product is capable of is to share customer testimonials and user reviews. Users tend to trust each other and give consideration to customers’ opinions before making a purchase. As a result, reviews help inspire trust between the company and its customers. Another benefit is that reviews help to put things into perspective and help users understand the pros and cons of your product.
You can even create a special review page on your website and then share testimonials via social media. This will help to increase social media engagement, too. It’s also a good idea to create a community blog where users can communicate with others and product developers.
Use different techniques for different social media platforms
Remember that different social media platforms have different publishing “rules”. For example, there is a study showing that Facebook posts with 80 or fewer characters reach 88% more of a target audience. With that in mind, you can make Facebook the perfect platform for sharing external content – videos, special offers, and blog posts. As readers often don’t read beyond the headline and short description, make it eye-catching and add a call to action. And remember that a short headline is always more effective.
The same rules apply to Twitter. More than that: there is a 280-character limit so you have to include all the essential information in the description. According to Dan Zarella’s research, tweets around 120-130 characters get the highest click-thru-rate. The best way to make your tweets grab the audience’s attention is to include videos, gifs, and quotes.
And don’t forget hashtags. Appropriate hashtags can help your posts make it to the top. Some SMM managers tend to hashtag every keyword in a post, but that can be distracting for viewers and make posts difficult to read. It’s best to limit hashtags by two or three for Twitter; you can use more for Instagram but still be careful with it.
Hashtags should be added at the end of a post text so they don’t interfere with your message and make sure they’re relevant. Hashtags can help readers find your posts but if there are too many, your content will be lost among hundreds with similar hashtags. A good idea is to create a unique hashtag that will be used only by your company. Encourage users to add it too when sharing their experiences with your product or writing reviews.
People do not use Instagram for longreads either, so it’s important to make your posts short and engaging. Always make sure all the essential information is in the first sentences.
Another way to get audience attention is to work with experts in your field. If you’re running an online university account, you can include interviews with professors at the university, or scientists and bloggers who write about online education. If you collaborate with anyone, tag their accounts or ask them to share information about your projects.
One important question is how to find experts. You can search for relevant publications and research, blogs, and books. When collaborating with someone from the social sciences, pay attention to the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), and always acknowledge references and coauthors. Another type of expert is an authoritative figure – a government official, CEO, editor, or another qualified individual. You can also appeal to people in a particular field – a doctor, a journalist, a university professor, a famous restaurant owner or chef. If you don’t know where to start, check sites like ProfNet and Helpareporter (HARO) where you can find and contact experts. University professors can often be a good resource, too.
Mind your grammar
It may not seem important but some people do not pay attention to grammar when writing in a foreign language. These kinds of mistakes in public accounts are not appropriate, especially for writers. Use grammar checkers to improve punctuation and minimize errors when writing for social media. A simple grammar checker is Grammarly. You can install it in your browser for free. Another useful app is Hemingway App, which is also free and easy to use. It highlights grammar errors and calls your attention to passive voice, overly complex sentences, adverbs, and punctuation errors. A big benefit of the app is this it also explains mistakes with grammar rules so you can understand what exactly you did wrong.
As the competition on social networks intensifies, content creators, SMM managers, and PR managers need to adapt and explore new strategies to achieve visibility. Paid promotions are no longer enough – organic results gained through some of the methods outlined here are important. Study influencers in your field. Study the competition. Keep up with the latest techniques for gaining and maintaining business through social media engagement.
About the Author:
Nataly Bogorad is a seasoned content creator and text editor with 7 years of experience in commercial writing. She specializes in researching complex topics and making them easy to understand in blog posts and articles.
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