This is the Best Social Media Copywriting Guide to Be a Social Word Ninja

The social media world is noisy.

With more than 30 billion pieces of content shared per month on Facebook alone, you’ve got a lot of competition for people’s attention.

In order to cut through the static, you need to wield your words wisely. That means writing posts that stand out from the clutter and speak directly to what your audience wants.

Easier said than done.

The key to success starts with sharp writing skills. And by the time you’re done with this post, you’ll be a social media copywriting master.

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Download Your Free Social Media Copywriting Resource Bundle

Writing from scratch can be tough. That’s why we’ve bundled together some resources to help spark your creativity.

  • 90 Social Media Post Templates to give you some starting points for crafting your own content.
  • Social Media Campaign Content Template to write and organize an entire campaign’s worth of posts.
  • 2017 Social Media Marketing Calendar to plan and schedule all your posts on one spreadsheet.

Introducing the Social Message Optimizer from CoSchedule

We recently rolled out a new tool called the Social Message Optimizer. Similar to our popular Headline Analyzer, it makes it easy to quickly gauge the effectiveness of your social media post (before you hit publish).

Enter your copy, click a button, and see your message score. Try it yourself here.

Why Is Writing Well Important for Social Media?

Posting on social media is easy. It doesn’t take much effort to write up a quick post with a link and call it a day.

On the other hand, crafting compelling copy that encourages engagement is tough. It takes skill and thoughtfulness to write strong posts. But when you have to write tons of posts for each network you’re on, sometimes it’s easier to cut corners.

Don’t give into that temptation.

If social media is important to your business, then invest in the time and resources it takes to do it right. You’ll see a difference in your results. That’s what you’re after, right?

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Start By Understanding the Mechanics

Before we get into actual tips, formulas, and templates, let’s dig into some basic technical considerations for writing posts on different social platforms.

Know Your Character Limits

Every social network has a character limit. On some networks, this number is much higher than necessary for you to get your point across. On others (namely Twitter), you’re forced to focus on concision.

Character Limits for Every Social Network

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To Hashtag, or Not to Hashtag …

Hashtags are somewhat misunderstood. Each network has different best practices for their use. Know what they are.

Guide to using hashtags

Understand the Purpose of Each Social Network

Before you start writing copy for each social network, you need to know why people use those networks in the first place. This should guide how you approach crafting posts and choosing which content to share on any given platform.

How Is Each Social Network Used?

Define Your Voice + Tone

It’s important to understand voice and tone for creating a consistent experience for your audience on social media.

Social Media Voice + Tone

Give it Some Feeling With Emotional Language

Emotion drives engagement. So, infuse more emotional language into your social media posts. Start with this useful cheat sheet of emotional power words compiled from copywriter Karl Stapp:

Words with power and emotion

6 Basic Copywriting Formulas That Work Well on Social Media

Many copywriting fundamentals still apply on social media. That includes common time-tested formulas (which most seasoned marketers should be familiar with).

There are a lot more copywriting formulas out there. A simple Google search will help you find tons more quickly. However, not all of them are easily applied to social media, specifically. So, we’ve pulled together a small selection here to help you tweet, post, and share with flair.

PAS (Problem, Agitate, Solve)

This old warhorse has been a copywriting staple for decades. There’s a good reason for that, too.

Here’s how it works:

  • State a problem. Your audience probably has no shortage of them.
  • Agitate that problem. Rub salt in the wound.
  • Roll out the solution. This is where you ride in with the solution, and the crowd goes (metaphorically, at least) wild.

Bridge After Bridge

Wouldn’t life be better if everyone used your product? This formula is all about stating that case to your audience.

  • Show your audience what life is like right now. Make sure it’s not too impressive (yet).
  • Then, explain how that world could be made better. The secret? It involves your product.
  • Next, show them how your product or service can make that world a reality.

AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action)

Here’s another classic. It’s similar to the first two we’ve looked at, but provides a clear path from getting someone’s interest and directing them toward a specific action.

  • Get your audience’s attention. This could be with your post copy or headline.
  • Stoke their interest. Provide some details to get them interested in learning more.
  • Generate desire. Show your reader how much life could be better if they just …
  • … take action. Give them a clear call-to-action to learn more.

4 C’s (Clear, Concise, Compelling, Credible)

We like this formula for its simplicity. It also describes what most every social media post should be, ideally.

  • Clear. Avoid using overly complex language or sentence structures.
  • Concise. Keep it brief. This is good advice for writing on social media, in general.
  • Compelling. Be interesting and relevant to your audience.
  • Credible. Make sure you can back up your claims. Also, create posts around topics that you’re truly an authority on.

4 P’s (Picture, Promise, Prove, Push)

Here’s another four-letter formula, this time with P’s instead of C’s.

  • Picture. Set the scene. On social media, you can do this literally with your post image.
  • Promise. Commit to giving your readers something they’re interested in.
  • Prove. Then, prove you can deliver on that promise.
  • Push. Next, give them a subtle shove to click and take the next step.

The “Open Loops” Technique

Don’t tell all of the story in one post. Instead, create a gap that builds suspense using “open loops.” This entails giving people a hint about the beginning and the end, while leaving readers curious about how you got from point A to point B.

According to Buffer’s Kevan Lee,

“Open loops are rooted in psychology. We need closure in our lives, and when we don’t get this closure, we feel anxiety, which spurs us to get closure, to find out more, to keep reading.”

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55 Fill-in-the-Blank Social Media Writing Templates

We’ve covered the technical considerations for each network, and provided some simple formulas you can follow.

Next, let’s move onto to some easy-to-use templates you can use to write actual social media posts. Given that these are templates, they’re not wildly creative, and may require some tweaking to fit your messaging.

However, they should give you a decent starting point for crafting your own copy. They might even help get your own creative gears turning, too.

10 Facebook Post Templates

10 Facebook Post Templates

With organic reach declining, strong writing skills are more important than ever on Facebook. Your posts need to inspire action and motivate audiences to click, comment, and share, but without sounding overly promotional (more on that last point in our next section).

  1. How can [YOUR AUDIENCE] do [ACTION] better with [YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE]?
  2. [INSERT PROBLEM]? We’ve got your solution.
  3. Do [INSERT TASK] better.
  4. [INSERT PROBLEM] sucks. [INSERT YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE ] doesn’t.
  5. What’s your favorite [INSERT PRODUCT] feature?
  6. How can [INSERT PRODUCT] make [INSERT TASK] easier?
  7. What’s your top [INSERT TASK] tip?
  8. [INSERT ACHIEVEMENT] in just [INSERT LENGTH OF TIME]?
  9. The best [INSERT TECHNIQUE] for [INSERT TASK] isn’t what you think.
  10. Your [INSERT TASK] could be this easy, too. [INCLUDE PHOTO OF COMPLETED TASK].

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10 Twitter Tweet Templates (Say That Ten Times Fast)

10 Twitter Tweet Templates

When you only have 140 characters to work with, then every word counts. Keep your Twitter copy brief, punchy, and entertaining.

  1. That feeling when [INSERT ACTION]. #[INSERT HASHTAG]
  2. How we increased our [INSERT METRIC] by [INSERT PERCENTAGE] with [INSERT SOMETHING UNEXPECTED].
  3. Time’s running out! Sign up for [INSERT EVENT] by [INSERT DATE]. #[INSERT HASHTAG]
  4. Here’s how we [INSERT ACHIEVEMENT] (and you can too). #[INSERT HASHTAG]
  5. Here’s what [INSERT CREDIBLE SOURCE] uses to [INSERT TASK] by [INSERT PERCENTAGE].
  6. Great news! You can now [INSERT ACTION] with [INSERT PRODUCT].
  7. Could using [INSERT PRODUCT] to #[INSERT TASK] improve [INSERT METRIC]?
  8. [INSERT PERCENTAGE] of [INSERT AUDIENCE] use [INSERT PRODUCT] to [INSERT TASK] more [INSERT BENEFIT]. Be one of them.
  9. Still doing [INSERT TASK] the old way?
  10. No more [INSERT PROBLEM]. Say hello to [INSERT PRODUCT/SERVICE/FEATURE].

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10 LinkedIn Post Templates

10 LinkedIn Post Templates

LinkedIn is a professional network. So, make sure your posts reflect this. Keep your content free from fluff and stay focused on appealing to professionals in your industry.

  1. What makes [INSERT YOUR COMPANY] the best [INSERT COMPANY TYPE] in the [INSERT INDUSTRY]?
  2. How did [INSERT YOUR COMPANY] achieve [INSERT ACHIEVEMENT] with [INSERT SOMETHING UNEXPECTED]?
  3. Be the best at [INSERT TASK] with this [INSERT CONTENT TYPE] from [INSERT SOURCE].
  4. The best [INSERT AUDIENCE] need the best [INSERT PRODUCT/SERVICE].
  5. We had a problem with [INSERT PROBLEM]. So, we solved it with [INSERT PRODUCT/SERVICE]. Could this work for you, too?
  6. [INSERT AUDIENCE] often struggle with [INSERT TASK]. Here’s how [INSERT PRODUCT/SERVICE] turns [INSERT TASK] from failure to success.
  7. The old way: doing [INSERT TASK] by [INSERT ACTION]. The new way? [INSERT PRODUCT/SERVICE].
  8. Stop struggling. Start succeeding. This post will show you how. [INSERT LINK]
  9. [INSERT TASK] + [YOUR PRODUCT] = results.
  10. What makes [YOUR COMPANY] the best place to work? Ask [INSERT EMPLOYEE]: [INSERT TESTIMONIAL]

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10 Instagram Caption Templates

10 Instagram Post Templates

Instagram is a highly visual platform. However, captions present an opportunity to give context for your images. You’ll need to use your own best judgment to match these up with relevant images (and if you need image stock to work with, we’ve got 80+ for you in this post).

  1. That Friday feeling. [INSERT PHOTO] [INSERT HASHTAGS]
  2. Shout out to [INSERT FOLLOWER’S HANDLE] for this awesome pic! [INSERT PHOTO]
  3. Love [INSERT PRODUCT/HOBBY/TREND/ETC]? Then you’ll love this. [INSERT PHOTO]
  4. [INSERT CUSTOMER TESTIMONIAL] [INSERT CUSTOMER PHOTO]
  5. Later, [INSERT PROBLEM]. [INSERT PHOTO]
  6. Wish you were here? [INSERT PHOTO OF LOCATION]
  7. Here’s one way to get the job done. [INSERT PHOTO]
  8. We spotted [INSERT YOUR PRODUCT] in the wild! [INSERT PHOTO]
  9. If you worked here, this could be you [INSERT OFFICE PHOTO]
  10. What’s going on at [INSERT YOUR COMPANY] today?

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15 General Social Media Post Templates

15 General Social Media Post Templates

Here are some bonus templates we’ve pulled together without any specific network in mind. Try using them as a base for your posts with our Social Message Optimizer and see how you do.

  1. How you’ll feel when you [do something].
  2. Are you [doing something] like you should be?
  3. Here’s why you don’t need a [commonly held belief].
  4. Want to [get something desirable]?
  5. {#} reasons your [something a majority of your audience typically has] sucks (and how to make it the best)
  6. Nothing is [commonly held belief].
  7. The secret to [someone desirable] lies in [unexpected advice].
  8. [Influencer] said, [quote]. Here’s how to do it.
  9. What if you could [get something desirable] while [getting something desirable]?
  10. [Do something] to [get something desirable].
  11. Let’s be honest: No one has enough time to [do something]. Smart {audience} do this.
  12. Want to [experience something desirable]? Here is the [way to get it].
  13. Turns out [something desirable] is actually [something humorous].
  14. There’s bound to be a [something desirable] for you.
  15. Have you noticed anything different about [something audience commonly does]?

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5 Brands Writing Well on Social Media

BMW

Did you know BMW has more Facebook fans than any other brand? Strong writing plays a part in that. Check out this post for an example:

A natural beauty.
The new BMW 4 Series Coupé.

 

Posted by BMW on Monday, April 10, 2017

It’s punchy, clever, and promotes their 4 Series Coupe without being pushy. In other words, it’s a perfect Facebook post for a retail or automotive brand.

Microsoft

Microsoft has undergone a remarkable branding transformation over the past several years. More than just the company that makes your office software, they’re now showing they want to be exciting and forward-thinking. Let’s take a look at this tweet for an example:

It’s clear, concise, and includes an appropriate call-to-action. The image and link headline also help provide additional context to compel users to click.

Gary Vaynerchuk

You don’t have to be a marketer to know and respect Gary Vaynerchuk. He does an incredible job at creating inspirational content that, well, is actually inspirational (here’s a writing tip: stop slapping quotes from famous people on irrelevant nature photos). Instead, do what Vaynerchuk does and write your own motivational messaging. This example is great because it’s fill-in-the-blank format naturally encourages engagement:

Fill in the blank

A post shared by Gary Vay-Ner-Chuk (@garyvee) on

Arby’s

Few brands are on Arby’s level. The company digs deep to create creative posts narrowly targeted at specific interests (in this case, weightlifting):

The post is short, clever, and entertaining. It feels like something people would naturally want to like, share, and comment on. There’s no hard sell pushing people to go to Arby’s, either, and it works 1,000%* (*not a real statistic) better because of it. Their marketing research page for franchisees also includes some background information on how infusing humor into their social media presence has accelerated their results.

SB Nation

What if you’re a publisher or media company, rather than a brand or service company? SB Nation, Vox Media’s popular sports vertical, shows how to weave strong storytelling skills into less than 140 characters. Here’s an example that creates intrigue by using an unusual fact to generate interest:

3 Social Media Writing Traps to Avoid

Marketers often get stuck in some common writing pitfalls on social media. Follow these tips to make sure you avoid undermining all your hard work.

Ditch Promotional Posts on Facebook

In late 2014, Facebook cracked down on promotional posts. This means organic posts that sound too much like ads (or worse, outright SPAM) will be demoted in the newsfeed. Break this rule, and you can expect your organic reach to drop precipitously.

Here’s an example of a promotional post from Facebook:

Everything about this example feels like an ad, and not the sort of content people want organically in their newsfeeds. Notice this post directly pushes users toward a link to buy a product, too.

Here’s another example:

This example is similar, pushing users to download an app. As an advertisement, there’s nothing interesting or engaging about it.

Don’t Cross-Post

Under some circumstances, you might be able to reuse post copy from one network, on another. In general, though, we’d advise against this. That’s because best practices and audience expectations differ on each network. Your short and punchy Facebook post might not do as well on LinkedIn, for example, and your hashtag-loaded tweet certainly won’t play well on Facebook.

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Instead, craft each post for one specific network. If you’re promoting one piece of content across multiple networks, then adjust each social post for each one accordingly. This may take more time, but if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

Make Sure Your Copy Aligns With Your Images

It’s easy to just slap some copy together with whatever image, and call it a day. It’s also lazy and leads to weird-looking results.

3 Extra Writing Resources to Check Out

If you’re looking to do some further reading, here are some resources we recommend looking into.

Sin and Syntax by Constance Hale

Style books are often boring. This one isn’t, and that’s what makes it a great guide for digitally-minded copywriters (a crowd that typically shuns all things dry and boring). It isn’t written specifically with social media in mind, but it remains a great resource for any writer to have in their library. You can find it on Amazon here.

MailChimp’s Writing for Social Media Style Guide

MailChimp has developed a robust public style guide you can lean on for inspiration. It covers all areas of content writing for MailChimp, and includes a section on social media.

Blog-Ben-SocialMediaCopywriting-8

How to Write for Social Media to Create the Best Posts

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this post. However, if you’re looking for more concrete examples of how to write well on social media, our post on writing for social media digs deep into specific details we haven’t covered in this post.

Now, Start Writing Better Social Media Posts

If you were neglecting your writing chops on social media before, we sincerely hope you won’t any longer. Now that you know how and why to write your best on every network, we’d bet you’ll see better performance from each post. Crisp copy that cuts through the crap will get you noticed.

Do you have any tips to add? Leave us a comment!