There are formulas to social posts. You should begin with the end in mind. Social media feels so intangible and transient, it’s easy to see a lot of your content as throwaways. You may or may not know statistics about visibility that are, admittedly, discouraging. For instance, something like 6% of your IG posts get shown to your audience. While that may feel like, “no one sees it,” instead, I’d urge you to conclude, “every post counts.”
Write Social Posts That Perform
Social posts perform based on the metric of engagement. How many likes, comments, shares does it get? Conversion paths for social media posts can admittedly be squirrely little suckers. It’s hard to pin down paying customers from a wide audience of people who range from minimal to maximum social engagement. That said, your idea client is on social media somewhere. I mean, almost definitely. If you find and optimize the right platforms, the content you post to it will eventually pay off in terms of profit.
If that lukewarm endorsement doesn’t motivate you to keep reading, I don’t know what will.
6 Kinds of Social Media Content
There are six basic kinds of social media content. As you write Facebook posts, Instagram posts, Twitter posts, YouTube captions, Pinterest captions… etc. etc. ad nauseum… broadening your approach to include all of these styles will enhance engagement.
1. Informational Social Posts
If you aren’t entrenched in social media strategy, this may feel like the obvious category. But honestly, many people don’t even do this anymore. Information may include:
- Fact sheets
You may marry the copy with graphic representations like charts and graphs. Informational posts are educational and, at risk of sounding like I don’t have a thesaurus, informative.
The goal of an informational social media post is to establish your brand as an authority, invite followship and create something highly shareable.
2. Descriptive (Graphic) Social Posts
This is especially popular on a highly graphic platform (like Instagram). Descriptive social posts are simply writing copy that sets a graphic in a context. You may include:
- Description of a graphic
- A quote or piece of info that compliments the graphic
- An inspiring thought prompted by the graphic
- A reflection on the graphic
This doesn’t have to be deep or artistic (although it can be). For a platform like Instagram, this method is used to keep someone lingering on your post. The graphic should be thought or interest provoking enough that someone wants to see what you write about it. Good copy will have the outcome of enhanced engagement (length of time on post). These posts aren’t as shareable but you can include a meaningful CTA in the text that drives more engagement.
3. CTA Social Posts
The goal of CTA social posts is to call the viewer to action. They should want to react to the copy they read. A good CTA social post may be:
- Invitational (“join us”)
- Directive (“go here”)
A social post that effectively calls someone to action will illicit an immediate response. The important thing to remember is that no one agonizes over social media decisions. These are split seconds. Once they’ve scrolled on, you are gone forever. A well-written CTA social post should stop people in their tracks and get them to do something you want them to do.
4. External Linking Social Posts
Have a new blog post? New website page? An external survey? An online scheduler? A social post that focuses on an external link should be vivid, full of arrows (metaphorically or graphic) and drive someone off of the platform to do something else. These have to be compelling, because if people are just chilling on social, they need to be highly motivated to jump off and visit your site.
5. Question or Conversation Starting Social Posts
Questions are a risk with social posts, IMO. If they work, they’re super awesome and you validate your worth and obtain engagement. If they don’t work, you may look like you have no audience and you’re a loser. That could be my own insecurities speaking. Question or conversation starting social posts:
- Ask an open-ended question
- Ask a yes or no question (a poll)
- Ask and answer a question then ask: what about you?
There are some internal mechanisms—like Facebook polls, Twitter polls and Instagram polls—that can enable you to use these either on your feed or in stories.
6. Announcements and Giveaways
Pronouncing something can happen on regular rotation in your social posts. They’re a little jolt of awareness that gets people to notice you in the feed. They’re the wacky waving inflatable flailing arm tube man of posts. You may choose to post:
- Company/business announcements
- Team news
- Changes or updates
Those last three are obviously in a similar vein. People love free stuff and contests. Plain blue shirt anyone?
Great Social Media Copy
Great social media copy is just like any other copy: well-written, interesting, engaging. You need to visit the spectrum of these options if you’re going to have a well-rounded social media feed that encourages regular engagement.
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