Let’s launch this off with a social media writing tip worthy of its own headline:
Look at any great writer and you will see the building blocks of traditional storytelling. Character development leads to conflict, which in turn leads to the apex of the story, and finally resolution. In most other forms of writing, this is the best way to create engagement with the readers, but social media is a beast unto itself.
Epics like The Lord of The Rings, have several books to build up, create excitement, and keep the reader’s attention. In social media, you have approximately 8 seconds to tell your story before the reader moves on to the next post.
So how can you create the same type of energy and engagement with your audience in such a finite amount of time and space? You have to flip the script and ditch the conventional storytelling methodology to be successful.
When starting out, writing social media posts may seem a bit disjointed. You are likely used to the traditional story arch simply because that is what we are told is the correct way to write as soon as we are putting pen to paper. In truth, with a little practice and a solid understanding of your audience, anyone can become a skilled social media writer.
Look at any social media post and you will notice that only the top two or three lines of text are visible without clicking the post. This is by design, making that real estate incredibly valuable. Throwing text haphazardly as you try to build a story will have your prospects scrolling past in seconds.
If you were presented with this tagline, could you point out the movie it references?
“Fate Has Chosen Him. A Fellowship Will Protect Him. Evil Will Hunt Them.”
Knowing nothing more than what is presented, you likely know that this is The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.
These three simple sentences are designed to captivate the audience so that they want to learn more. This is the function of the hook in social media writing. Similar to the tagline this is where your social post begins and can, unfortunately, end if not built correctly.
Always keep in mind that your audience might not know anything about your company, product, or service, but with a well-crafted hook, you can easily create engagement. Engagement leads to interest, and interest leads to conversion.
While the reader might be pulled in by the hook, the line is there to direct the reader in a specific direction. Perhaps you have an opinion on a particular industry-related publication. Maybe you are looking to shine a light on your company’s newest product line or service. This is where the line becomes critical.
The challenge? It is incredibly easy to fill this body of text with fluff. As mentioned above, the average social media user takes 8 seconds or less to evaluate a post before deciding if they want to engage or move on.
Even if you have a dynamite hook if your content only consists of fluff afterward, the reader will seem lost and your chance to get them redirected is out the window. Keep sentences short and to the point. No one goes on Facebook to read a novel. Leverage the white space and use keywords to draw your reader’s eyes to the lines that you deem important.
Whether you are utilizing social media organically or through paid advertising the end goal is the same, to create conversions. Users will not convert if they do not have an easy path to get to the next step in the process. If you are selling golf clubs, provide a link to your sales page. If you are trying to build an audience with your blog, make sure that the reader has direct access.
Keep it simple with direct calls to action. These can be as simple as “Learn more →” followed by your website. The most important thing is that the reader knows where they need to go next, this is not a choose your own adventure book.
Social media writing is like anything else, it will take practice to master. Unlike other writing mediums, social has the added benefit of constant analytics that can help you decipher what is resonating with your audience and which posts might have fallen short. Here are two tips as you perfect your messaging.
First, make sure that you dive into the data on a regular basis to ensure that you are getting the most out of your investment. Pay attention to clicks, engagement numbers, and shares. Look back on your most successful posts and find threads of commonality. Once pinpointed, build from there.
Finally, never be afraid to try something new. Audiences are constantly shifting and trends come and go at an incredible rate. Unlike a Tolkien novel, there is minimal time invested into a social post. If it doesn’t work, use that as a lesson. The most important thing is that you are testing the water and following the breadcrumbs. Over time you will be able to put all of these pieces together and connect with your audience time and again.
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