Writing for social media and why each channel is different

In the business world, writing for social media can be intimidating — you’re one misspelled word or badly timed phrase away from being fed to the lions (or tigers if you work for Carole Baskin).

That’s why it’s no big surprise to us when brands choose to use the same word-for-word social media post copy across every platform. It’s easy and fast, and hey — at least you’re getting posts up, right? But, you know who does care? Your followers. In fact, they’re bored to death of it, and to be honest, they deserve more.

If you’re one of these social media offenders (don’t worry, you’re not alone), we’re here to give you guidelines on content strategy for four top-used social platforms.

Writing for social media on Facebook

Fast fact: Facebook’s average daily active users reached 1.66 billion at the end of 2019.

User description: In the U.S., 75% of women and 63% of men use Facebook; teens prefer YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat.

Content style: Quotes, Q&As, tips, memes, trends

Facebook post tips:

  • Make posts fun and positive. Positivity = higher engagement rates.
  • Keep it casual in tone. Facebook content isn’t meant to be too stuffy. Try adding a question to drive engagement or an emoji to grab attention. 😉
  • Always include images or a video. Facebook users love visuals.
  • Be sure to tag accounts correctly (Facebook is a little tricky). For example, @ symbols don’t automatically tag accounts on Facebook like they do on Twitter and Instagram. You’ll need to manually tag any account you want to mention within your post.
  • Keep copy short — go for the click through. Generally, people don’t visit Facebook to consume long-form text. Most experts suggest keeping your character count to a 40-80 range with a link to click through to your website to view more.
  • Leave hashtags out — Twitter and Instagram are hashtag royalty, not Facebook.
  • Test for the most optimal posting time. Some audiences are morning birds, while some are night owls.
  • Don’t over post. Start with three posts per week and increase or decrease from there.

Are you a fan of Lessing-Flynn on Facebook? It’s about time you were.

Writing for social media on Twitter

Fast fact: Around 7 in 10 adult Twitter users in the U.S. get their news on Twitter.

User description: This audience is generally younger, but Twitter also attracts older users for timely news content.

Content style: News, culturally inclusive content

Social post tips:

  • Get your profile verified if you can as it adds credibility.
  • Remember that news-style content and tips will perform much better than promotional content.
  • Tweets should be 140-240 characters.
  • It’s ok to be clever and add personality, but don’t try to use “hip” catchphrases that don’t align with your brand voice.
  • Make sure you research a trending hashtag before using it to avoid any embarrassing confusion.
  • Add 1-2 relevant hashtags — anything more looks spammy.
  • If you’re just starting an account, Tweet early and often. You won’t know the best time to reach your audience until you experiment.
  • Don’t be afraid to engage with followers. Answer questions, retweet relevant content and add mentions when you can. Your audience will appreciate the extra attention.

You bet we Tweet! Check out Lessing-Flynn’s Twitter page.

Writing for social media on Instagram

Fast fact: In 2019, 37% of adults reported using Instagram.

User description: Instagram is a favorite social network for many — not just teens and millennials.

Content style: Visual storytelling, influencers

Social post tips:

  • There are currently no clickable link options for posts, so make sure you have a URL within your profile for followers to go to for more information.
  • Hashtags are important on Instagram. We recommend using up to 10 relevant hashtags, anything more will look spammy. Research popular hashtags using tools such as Hashtagify.
  • Add hashtags to the end of posts or post them immediately into the first comment instead to keep things tidy.
  • Encourage engagement by offering promotions, tagging friends, posting polls, asking questions — and of course responding to any comments.
  • Don’t skip the “Stories” option, but don’t double post to your stories and your regular feed. Try creating a teaser story to alert followers you’ve posted something new!

Our office shenanigans and fun stuff is captured on LF’s Instagram.

Writing for social media on LinkedIn

Fast fact: Over 146 million workers in the U.S. have LinkedIn profiles.

User description: The LinkedIn audience is comprised of networking professionals, so the tone should be professional.

Content style: Brand awareness, articles, networking

Social post tips:

  • Keep post copy professional yet conversational in tone.
  • Share blog articles, news stories that mention your brand, job openings within your company and industry-related content from reliable resources.
  • Highlight your company culture and values with images and stories of volunteerism, lunch and learns, in-house promotions and new hires.
  • Tag employees with their professional profiles when you’re celebrating accomplishments.
  • Ask thought-provoking questions about industry trends to start a conversation.
  • Share completed product or service case studies.

Visit Lessing-Flynn’s LinkedIn for more blogs, case studies and insights.

Choosing a social media platform

Haven’t started a new social media channel yet? Or looking to refresh your brand’s content strategy for social media on existing pages? Pick the social media platform that best fits your target audience. This will help determine content, format and tone. Here are some factors to consider when defining your target audience and choosing which social media platform to use:

  • Demographics, such as age, gender, income and location
  • Where these groups hang out online
  • The pain points and problems they face
  • Types of non-branded content they consume

Feeling stuck on where to start? We highly recommend Sprout’s 2020 Social Media Demographics blog to help you decide where you should focus your efforts.

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