Qchat: Copywriting for social media
Since Twitter changed its automation policy, marketers are having to craft more social posts. We now have to make sure that we’re sharing unique tweets on each of our accounts. Sure, that takes up a little more of our time (unless you use Craft by Quuu!), but it’s also the perfect opportunity to improve the quality of engagement with our followers.
At our most recent Qchat, we decided to discuss the topic ‘Copywriting for social media’ to work out some best practices. Here’s what we learned…
Q1 How would you describe your brand voice and tone on social media? Is it the same across all platforms?
Social media is a space where we can connect with our target audience on a much more direct level. So how should we be speaking to them? And does this vary according to which social network you’re using?
“Friendly, approachable and professional. B2B companies need to adjust their marketing strategy and tone based on the platform. For example, Twitter may involve more casual conversation than LinkedIn.” — Source Media
“I try to keep my voice consistent across all platforms but they all have a different version of text on each platform.” — Daniel Kempe
“I think as demonstrated by the restriction on character lengths it is better to be shorter and snappier on Twitter and then try to go more in depth on platforms like FB and LinkedIn.” — Ruben Richardson
“I think I wear different hats on different platforms but they are slowly amalgamating.” — Claire Trévien
“I would say my brand voice is pretty consistent throughout social media but I tweak here and there to best fit the platform — I try to be very approachable, friendly and engaging.” — Sabrina Cadini
“When we were planning Craft by Quuu we broke tone-of-voice down into the following adjectives. I think that you should have the same voice across all your social channels.” — Georgia Burgoyne
“My brand when it’s under my personal name is nerdy and funny. Under my business name it’s facts, figures and driven. It does change from platform to platform. Periscope and IG is more fun. LinkedIn and Twitter as well as FB are facts and figures.” — Michele C Heyward
“For personal accounts, I type how I would speak — with variations depending on the medium (e.g. short and to-the-point for Twitter).” — Amy Murnan
Overall, our Qchatters favour a more informal tone on social media. While it’s important to have a consistent brand voice, some slight variations may occur depending on the platform.
Q2 If a team of people is managing your social accounts, how do you ensure your copy is consistent and on-brand?
Defining your brand voice is an important part of developing a strong social strategy, but maintaining that voice across your marketing can be tricky if multiple people are running your social accounts. Our Qchatters had some good tips for keeping everyone on the same page.
“It’s important to keep brand guidelines for media platforms that the team can reference, which specify the following for your company: Tone, Messaging, Goals and Mistakes to avoid.” — Source Media
“Previously when I worked for a domestic abuse charity, we also had a section for the area-specific terms we use (e.g. ‘survivor’ rather than ‘victim’). Really useful if you’re unsure to have a reference guide.” — Amy Murnan
“I manage all of my social media accounts because I love to engage personally. I think brands / companies must communicate their values and message with their social media / community managers and be aligned otherwise there’s a disconnect.” — Sabrina Cadini
“You need a tone of voice and branding document printed and stuck on every team member’s desk(top). Even better with illustrative examples of what is (and isn’t) ok!” — Claire Trévien
“Communication amongst the team is critical — check in periodically to ensure you’re on the same page with brand voice.” — Annalisa Rivera
Q3 What’s the ideal number of hashtags to use per post on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram?
OK, so most of us #know #not #to #hashtag #every #word of our social posts. But is there an optimum number for driving reach and engagement on each platform?
“We hear and read different tips about hashtags. I try to keep between 1–2 on Twitter, 1 on LinkedIn and Facebook. I used to utilize all 30 on Instagram but it looks like with the new algorithm you only need a max of 10 for better engagement.” — Sabrina Cadini
“Apart from Instagram where the more the merrier, I’m all about 1 or 2 hashtags max otherwise it’s unreadable.” — Claire Trévien
“3, 1, 2, <11.” — Chris Messina
“Love a hashtag debate. Twitter no more than 2, 3 max. Instagram I use 2 to 3 after copy and then as many as possible as a hidden hashtag, Insta is brilliant for hashtag searching. LinkedIn — it’s all a bit new. I am doing one or two.” — Saltmarsh Marketing
“Consider character count & whether or not hashtags are regularly used on the platform. Hashtags are used often on Twitter and Instagram. FB/LinkedIn, while growing in popularity to track trends, you may not see them as often.” — Source Media
“I would say 1 at most nowadays. They’ve been overused IMO and generally look a little spammy with too many.” — Daniel Kempe
“Not done my own research on this, but I hear engagement drops significantly after just two on Twitter! I think it looks cleaner with fewer as well.” — Ruben Richardson
“Twitter put out a great article on this. TLDR: About 1–3. https://business.twitter.com/en/blog/the-dos-and-donts-of-hashtags.html ….” — Alexandra Sebben
“I don’t use hashtags on FB or LI but on Twit and Insta I use them like keywords — things people will search for to find my post.” — Neena Nandagopal
A bit of a mixed bag here, but for the most part, our Qchatters advise using no more than 3 on Twitter, maybe 1 for Facebook and LinkedIn, and between 11 and 30 on Instagram.
Q4 Do you use emojis in your social posts? Why/why not?
These days, most of us use at least the odd emoji in our personal texts and social messages. Are they appropriate for businesses to use, though?
“Not as often as I should. Because I do most of my work on a laptop and not my smartphone. I’ve heard emoji give a friendlier voice, and it reaches out to a younger demographic.” — Annalisa Rivera
“👍👷😍🦊🥂😱” — Claire Trévien
“Yes! 😍❤️🤷♂️” — Daniel Kempe
“It depends — I try to contain my love for emojis when I post, but I let myself go when I respond to someone; it adds a fun and relaxed tone to the conversation.” — Sabrina Cadini
“I do on Twitter and Insta because I have read that they increase engagement. But it is not natural for me — I always forget to.” — Neena Nandagopal
“Yes I use emojis often on my IG posts and Periscope titles. Very seldom do I use them on LinkedIn.” — Michele C Heyward
“I only communicate in emoji 😂👍” — Georgia Burgoyne
“Depends. Think of your brand tone, personality, voice, message, audience, content, platform, objectives. Will emojis ENHANCE/add value?” — Gabriela Cardoza
Q5 Why do you think ‘broetry’ has become so popular on LinkedIn? Are you a fan?
Broetry (those one sentence-per-paragaph inspirational stories you see on LinkedIn) has been a big trend on social media recently. Before the Qchat, we polled our Twitter followers to find out their opinion on this type of post.
At the Qchat, the general consensus was either negative or ‘never heard of it’! However, we all agreed that broetry indicates a new era for LinkedIn, which seems to be losing the formality that previously defined the professional network.
“It’s so superficial and transparent — I dislike it, personally…” — Claire Trévien
“No idea, I don’t follow that — I guess it’s just one of those viral trends that come and go.” — Sabrina Cadini
“Funny that it would surface on LinkedIn of all places — a place where you wear your professional hat and um .. look for jobs.” — Neena Nandagopal
“You make an excellent point, Neena! LinkedIn would be the least probable platform for something like it… That shows the platform is definitely changing.” — Sabrina Cadini
“LinkedIn has become the new Facebook. Love it and hate it! I’ve been a long time fan of LinkedIn.” — Michele C Heyward
Q6 From your experience, what is more effective on Instagram: short or long captions?
Similarly to the elongated posts on LinkedIn, we’ve also noticed a trend for longer, more personal captions on Instagram. We were interested to see if our Qchatters had noticed this on their feeds or tried it themselves, and whether they thought it made a difference to engagement.
“It really depends on the topic (and the message) for me. Sometimes long captions get more attention, sometimes it’s about shorter ones.” — Sabrina Cadini
“I agree Sabrina long and short work on IG depending on the message.” — Michele C Heyward
“I find a longer caption gets more engagement. Instagram is visual storytelling. A beautiful image and well thought out and compelling copy gets the best engagement for me.” — Saltmarsh Marketing
“It depends on the nature of the post. I like to add a short post at the top and if I want to add more then I write more at the bottom.” — christallauren
“Always willing to try new things, but I’d say short enough to get the message across, and let the visuals do the work.” — Annalisa Rivera
“Short and concise is the best way to go. Don’t over-saturate your audience.” — Alexandra Sebben
“I think this varies by audience and the post. I do story driven posts which are long for me. I get good engagement. If I write a short post with a good question I get good engagement. My IG audience isn’t moved by length but message from what I can see.” — Michele C Heyward
Q7 Have you discovered any copywriting formulas/power words/other interesting trends that drive engagement on your social posts?
It’s said that certain words or formulas can help you write more compelling copy (check out this guide by CoSchedule, for example). However, our Qchat savvily pointed out that marketing, and especially social media marketing, is more about communicating in a genuine way.
“Include a call-to-action or question that sparks genuine engagement. Social media should be a two-way conversation!” — RocketBrand
“Ultimately, there’s no single magic formula. Concentrate on communicating the best way you can to your demographic. Test test test.” — Claire Trévien
“On a very basic level, just being authentic. I find this is always what drives the most engagement.” — Saltmarsh Marketing
“Know your audience and how to help them. Communicate value in your post.” — Neena Nandagopal
So to recap:
- Keep your brand voice consistent across social media. You may want to tweak it slightly depending on the platform e.g. chattier, shorter copy on Twitter and more professional, in-depth posts on LinkedIn.
- If a team of people is managing your social accounts, make sure you document some brand guidelines that they can all refer to.
- Use no more than 3 hashtags per post on Twitter, 1 or none at all for Facebook and LinkedIn, and 11–30 on Instagram.
- Emojis can inject some personality into your copy and make conversations with your followers feel more authentic. Just make sure they enhance your message, rather than detract from it.
- The social media landscape is constantly evolving, so keep up with trends. For example, the rise of ‘broetry’ indicates that LinkedIn is becoming less formal.
- Longer captions are becoming popular on Instagram. Use them to tell the story behind the images.
- There is no single recipe for writing compelling copy. Focus on bringing value to your audience and sparking conversations with them.