Writing for different social media channels
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Writing for different social media channels

As a brand that is active on social media, you may be wondering whether you should vary your writing style and tone across the different social networks. It can be tempting to re-use the same content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other channels. But is this wise?

The truth is: if you’re not tailoring your messaging for each medium, there’s a substantial risk that you’re not harnessing the full potential of these engagement platforms. They may all be grouped together under the same social media banner, but every social networking site has its own unique environment and audience.

Here are some writing tips for three key social platforms:

Facebook

This platform has a staggering amount of monthly active users – reaching around 2 billion towards the end of 2017. When you think about the sheer number of people you have access to via Facebook, it’s a must-have channel in any brand’s marketing mix.

However, this does not mean you should simply re-hash the content you’ve created for your offline advertising or website blogs because you’ve got to tick the Facebook box. This is a social network and that means you need to be social – and find ways to engage your audience and get them to interact with you.

Beware of “engagement baiting” though! Facebook has posted this announcement:

‘People have told us that they dislike spammy posts on Facebook that goad them into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions… This tactic, known as “engagement bait,” seeks to take advantage of our News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach. So, starting this week, we will begin demoting individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait.

With this development in mind, you need to write in a way that attracts engagement naturally and draws people into a dialogue with your brand or makes them want to share your content with their friends and loved ones, without you explicitly telling them to.

This may mean that you need to dig down to the very values that your brand or organisation stands for. Then write about these universal human truths rather than just selling or promoting your product attributes.

Twitter

With 330 million active monthly Twitter users, it’s difficult to put them all in one category. However, many Twitter users are young, educated and likely to check in regularly to “discover something new and interesting”.

Given that 81% of millennials access Twitter on a daily basis, this platform is ideal for brands that cater for a younger audience or want to appeal to a younger segment of their market. If this is the case, it’s essential to adopt a tone and style that resonates with this audience. And it’s important to keep your messaging short and interesting, in keeping with the personality of this fast-paced, newsy, trend-focused channel.

The 140-character limit is ideal for people with short attention spans. And you don’t need to say it all in one Tweet. You can spread your message across several posts, which creates the opportunity for creative messaging that keeps followers intrigued.

Don’t forget to include your hashtags, which help to sum up your brand message and increase the reach of your Tweets. But limit yourself to one or two hashtags – or your content could seem contrived.

Instagram

This highly visual and user-friendly platform has more than 800 million monthly active users. While images and videos have a huge role to play on Instagram, this does not mean that there is no place for strategic copywriting.

A well-written Instagram caption can make visual elements more appealing, meaningful or memorable by adding context. The goal is to make people think, smile, laugh, feel nostalgic or react positively in another way.

It’s important, however, not to go overboard with your word count. This is the type of platform that users scroll through at a rapid pace. So, if you have something important to say, be sure to say it in the very beginning of your sentence. Otherwise, your message may be lost due to the caption being cut off due to the way the Instagram feed works. Leave your hashtags until last, or don’t use them at all on this platform.

It’s well worth using emoji (sparingly) in a way that conveys your brand personality. This helps to break up your text and add emotion without using too many words.

On every platform

While it is critical to adjust your style and tone to suit the platform you’re creating content for, you also need to be true to your brand personality in every post. This can be quite a juggling act, but when you get it right, the results are well worth it.

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