Social Media Content Creation With The Social Message Optimizer

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How To Write The Best Social Media Posts [Backed By 6,399,322 Messages + 11 Studies] 71

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How to Write the Best Social Media Posts [Backed By 6,399,322 Messages + 11 Studies]

Social media engagement.

Every marketer wants more of it.

So, other than creating content that tends to perform well on social media

…how can you write the best social media posts ever to boost your engagement?

It turns out, that—in addition to creative ideas—certain mechanics can predict each of your social messages’ success.

By social media mechanics, I mean seriously knowing:

  1. What message type (text, image, link, or video) gets the most engagement for every network?
  2. How many characters should your social media message be for every network?
  3. How many hashtags should you include in your message for every network?
  4. How many emojis should there be in your message for every network?
  5. What emotional sentiment works best for every network?

^^^ If you knew the answers to those questions for every network… and subsequently optimized every social media message you write for every network… you would get more engagement for every network.

So wouldn’t it be nice if there were a free tool to help you do just that? 😉

Introducing: The Social Message Optimizer From CoSchedule

Go ahead: Use the Social Message Optimizer now!

CTA to try using the SMO

You don't need to read this blog post to write better social media messages. Just use the Social Message Optimizer, follow the prompts, and shoot for a score of 80 or higher.

Go on.

You seriously don't need to read this blog post.

You can come back and read this.

But you really don't have to. 😬

1,488 messages are optimized through this puppy EVERY DAY. (That's 44,636 per month, for the mathematically inclined.)

So if you're not using it, you're already 1,500 messages behind. Just sayin'...

Just ask our friend Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert, if he thinks it works:

You're still reading, but you seriously should just go use that tool instead.

The tool is way more fun.

Trust me... Or trust Christin Kardos what she thinks (if you still think I'm a little sketchy).


Read on then.

I recently analyzed the most engaging social media messages from a sample of 6,399,322 messages posted through CoSchedule's database. For those who may be unfamiliar, CoSchedule is the #1 best-selling social media + marketing management calendar in the world with 15,000+ customers in more than 100 countries.

Coupled with CoSchedule's custom, proprietary, and never-before-seen data, I've also researched every study I could find around the web on the topic of writing social media posts (specifically about the mechanics):

  1. HubSpot's character count guide
  2. Buffer's how many hashtags blog post
  3. Buffer's optimal length infographic
  4. Jeff Bullas' Facebook fan engagement tips
  5. Fast Company's ideal tweet and Facebook post length article
  6. TrackSocial's tweet length blog post
  7. Sprout Social's Instagram hashtags blog post
  8. Super Spicy Media's Instagram hashtags blog post
  9. Max Woolf's Instagram hashtags case study
  10. Copyblogger's art of writing great Google+ posts blog post
  11. Marvin Williams' Instagram tagging deck
  12. CoSchedule's brand new research into the most engaging social media messages from a sample of 6,399,322 from a diverse range of industries (think real estate to software to fitness companies to department stores)

At times, these studies differed from the nearly 6.4 million data-driven results that fuel the Social Message Optimizer. Several reference what appear to be the same data sets over and over, rarely adding new commentary to the conversation.

So in this blog post, you are going to learn...

  • The message type that gets the most engagement for each social network.
  • How long your message should be for every social network.
  • How many hashtags to include in your message for each social network.
  • How many emojis tend to get the most engagement on every social network.
  • The emotional sentiment (positive or negative?) that performs best on every social network (spoiler alert: Think positive thoughts).

...and all of it is backed by 6,399,322 reasons to take this advice very seriously. 🙌

Solid Content > Solid Mechanics

Solid content trumps solid mechanics. That said, this blog post is all about the mechanics.

Read this to write better social media content.

Once you master social media writing, then worry about the mechanics. I suggest thinking about this like skill acquisition:

  1. Start by brainstorming engaging messages.
  2. Hone your core skill behind writing well.
  3. Master writing for each social network with the Social Media Optimizer.

Think of it like this:

Nail Down the Most Important Skill First

In addition to writing solid messages, there are several other optimization layers to hone in your skill set that will impact your success:

  1. Social media visuals: Download the free Photoshop CC file in this post to design perfectly sized images for each of the networks (and you'll get 84 free images, too).
  2. Best times to post: It makes sense to share when your followers are most active on each network. Use the free Google Analytics Custom Reports to know when your audience is most active.
  3. How often to post: Are you sharing too little or too much? Download this infographic to post the perfect amount for each network every day.

^^^ I'm sure you can think of a dozen more things that may impact your social media engagement.

But for now, in this blog post, you are only going to learn about the message mechanics that fuel what Susan Gilbert calls the "#1 Social Message Optimizer." 😁

Let's do this.

How To Write For Facebook

The best Facebook message is a link post that is 111 characters long, contains zero hashtags, has one emoji, and shares a positive message.

Use the following information to optimize your own Facebook posts as you write them:

How to Write on Facebook

Message Type

  • Best: Link
  • Good: Image
  • OK: Text

Character Count

  • Best: 111
  • Good: 119
  • OK: 40

Hashtag Count

  • Best: 0

Emoji Count

  • Best: 1
  • Ok: 0

How To Write For Twitter

The best tweets are image posts that are 103 characters long, contain two hashtags, include one emoji, and are positive sentiment.

Optimize your tweets with the mechanics best practices to increase your engagement:

Writing For Twitter

Message Type

  • Best: Image
  • Good: Text
  • OK: Link

Character Count

  • Best: 103
  • Good: 113
  • OK: 93

Hashtag Count

  • Best: 2
  • Ok: 1

Emoji Count

  • Best: 1
  • Ok: 0

How To Write For Instagram

The best Instagram messages are image posts that are 241 characters long, contain 11 hashtags, have three emojis, and are positive sentiment.

Boost your engagement by optimizing your Instagram messages according to the these mechanics best practices:


Message Type

  • Best: Image
  • Good: Video

Character Count

  • Best: 241
  • Good: 200
  • OK: 224

Hashtag Count

  • Best: 11
  • Good: 5
  • OK: 10

Emoji Count

  • Best: 3
  • Good: 2
  • Ok: 1

How To Write For Pinterest

The best Pins are image posts that are 215 characters long, contain zero hashtags, include zero emojis, and show positive sentiment.

Optimize your Pins to get the most engagement by following these best practices for mechanics:

How to Write for Pinterest

Message Type

  • Best: Image
  • Good: Link

Character Count

  • Best: 215
  • Good: 148
  • OK: 141

Hashtag Count

  • Best: 0

Emoji Count

  • Best: 0

How To Write For LinkedIn

The best LinkedIn messages are link posts that are 149 characters long, demonstrate positive sentiment, and contain no hashtags or emojis.

Optimize your LinkedIn messages by following these mechanics best practices:

How to Write for LinkedIn

Message Type

  • Best: Link
  • Good: Text
  • OK: Image

Character Count

  • Best: 149
  • Good: 125
  • OK: 95

Hashtag Count

  • Best: 0

Emoji Count

  • Best: 0

How To Write For Google+

The best Google+ messages are link posts that are 65 characters long, contain three hashtags, include one emoji, and show signs of positive sentiment.

Optimize your Google+ message according to these best practices for mechanics to get the most engagement:

How to Write for Google+

Message Type

  • Best: Link
  • Good: Image
  • OK: Text

Character Count

  • Best: 65
  • Good: 60
  • OK: 502

Hashtag Count

  • Best: 3
  • Good: 2
  • OK: 1

Emoji Count

  • Best: 1
  • Ok: 0

The Breakdown: What To Do Now?

The ideal message type and character count for each network are pretty obvious. However, you may want some help finding emojis and hashtags to optimize certain shares.

Because when you bring the details together right, you can be a high-scorer like tech keynote speaker Brian Fanzo:

Nice work, Brian 👊

Now, let's explore.

Where To Find Hashtags?

Here are a few tools you can use to find trending or popular hashtags:

  1. What The Trend helps you explore the top hashtags from the past month.
  2. Twitonomy helps you see hashtags similar to the content you tend to check out on Twitter.
  3. RiteTag gives you feedback on hashtags as you type them.
  4. Hashtagify helps you find existing popular hashtags.

If you'd like to learn more about how to use hashtags effectively, read this ultimate hashtag guide. You'll also discover how to find hashtags on every network that supports them to get a better feel of how to write great messages for each network.

Where To Find Emojis?

There are a handful of ways to include emojis the messages you're creating with the Social Message Optimizer:

  1. On your Mac, press Control, Command, and Space Bar at the same time. You'll see an emoji menu where you just need to hit an emoji and it'll populate where your cursor is. 😉
  2. On Windows 8 or 10, hit the keyboard icon in the lower-right corner of your taskbar to activate the Touch Keyword. Then click the smiley face icon to change the keyboard to an emoji keyboard. Just like on Mac, when you hit an emoji, it will enter where your cursor is.
  3. Otherwise, simply bookmark GetEmoji, then copy and paste emoji art from the website into your social media message.

Now You Know How To Optimize Your Social Media Messages

We know you're going to fall in love with the Social Message Optimizer, like Rachel Thompson, did...

But just because you probably want all of this data at your fingertips the next time you're writing messages with the Social Message Optimizer, here's a handy (downloadable + savable) infographic of everything you just learned:

Writing for Social Media Infographic

Remember, this blog post is all about the mechanics behind writing engaging social media messages. Here is some recommended reading to write effective messages beyond the mechanics:

Good luck! Remember... the Social Message Optimizer is FREE! Optimize your social media messages now. 😉

Join these fine marketers in writing the best social media messages the web has ever seen!


This post was originally published May 9, 2017 and was updated on August 2, 2017.

About the Author

Demand generation enthusiast, content marketing advocate, and team player. I love new ideas, strategy, and efficiency.

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