Social Media Copywriting Masterclass: Professional Tips for Profiles and Posts | Ruth Clowes | Skillshare

Social Media Copywriting Masterclass: Professional Tips for Profiles and Posts

Ruth Clowes, Professional Copywriter

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11 Lessons (52m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:09
    • 2. Class and Project Overview

      3:25
    • 3. Prepare for Success

      6:13
    • 4. Profiles and Bios

      6:02
    • 5. Writing for Twitter

      5:46
    • 6. Writing for LinkedIn

      5:04
    • 7. Writing for Facebook

      5:13
    • 8. Writing for Instagram

      5:32
    • 9. Conversations

      4:19
    • 10. Common Mistakes

      5:26
    • 11. Next Steps

      3:08
127 students are watching this class

About This Class

If you want to improve your writing for social media, from profiles and bios to posts and pages, this class is for you.

I’ll show you how to craft effective social copy for your business that’s tailored to each individual platform while remaining true to your brand voice.

The copywriting skills you’ll learn will make your social media marketing communications more effective, helping you reach your conversion targets and sales goals.

You’ll learn:

  • An actionable three-point plan to set you up for social media success
  • Copywriting techniques to help you write perfect social media bios and profiles
  • Top tips for writing for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
  • Professional insights into making your copy more attention-grabbing and persuasive
  • Simple, practical ways of handling replies that will save you time
  • Common mistakes people make on social and how to avoid them.

These skills will make your social media copywriting more effective, less time-consuming and will help you reach your engagement and conversion targets.

This class is for you if you:

  • Write social media posts as part of your role
  • Work in a communications, marketing, PR or customer service team
  • Are looking for ways to streamline your social media workflow
  • Want to maintain a consistent voice across different platforms.

The skills you’ll learn in this class are highly transferable. You’ll find them useful outside of work too - whether you have your own business, you’re a blogger or even if you only use social media on a personal level.

No sound needed! Give your headphones a break and enjoy accurate captions and fully visual walkthroughs.

TOOLS AND RESOURCES

Here are the various free online tools and resources I recommend in the different lessons. Do you have your own recommendation? Let me know in the ‘Discussion’ tab.

Social Copy in Action Cheat Sheet (to help you with your class project)

Prepare for Success - MindTools Comms Planner
Profiles and Bios - Hootsuite Bio Templates
Writing for Twitter - Character Counter
Writing for LinkedIn - LinkedIn Post Guide
Writing for Facebook - Title Case Converter
Writing for Instagram - Instagram Line Break
Conversations - Customer Service on Social
Common Mistakes (and how to avoid them) - Hemingway Editor
Next Steps - Buffer Marketing Personas Guide

Connect with me: Website |  Twitter |  LinkedIn | Facebook

Theme music by The Clarendons

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Welcome! Hello, my name is Ruth. Welcome to my class on writing for social media. I'm drawing on decades of professional copywriting experience to show you how to write for social - from profiles and bios to posts and pages. The copywriting skills you'll learn in this class will make your social media marketing communications more effective, helping you reach your conversion targets and sales goals. This is the perfect class for you if you write organic social media content for a business. Perhaps you're just starting out as a marketing assistant, and writing for social is a big part of your job. Or maybe you're an experienced marketing professional, looking to hone your skills and pick up some tips and tricks to make your job easier and your social posts more effective. Well you're in the right place. The skills you'll learn in this class are also highly transferable. You'll find them useful outside of work too, whether you have your own business, you're a blogger, or even if you only use social media on a personal level. I'm a member of ProCopywriters, and I've trained with the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Google. I write for social media every single day, both for my corporate clients and for my own freelance business. I'm especially excited to be teaching this class because I know from my own experience that writing for social media can be incredibly time consuming, and it's also easy to get stuck in a rut repeating the same old formats and phrases. That's why, in this class, I'm going to teach you 24 simple and powerful steps, take a deep dive into 12 helpful real-world examples, and share nine quality resources and tools that will help you create varied, engaging posts quickly and easily. This is an intermediate copywriting class. You should have a good grasp of English and some marketing knowledge, but you don't need to know technical language terms, like what a preposition is for example. What you're about to learn will take your social media copywriting to the next level. Let's go. 2. Class and Project Overview: Class and Project Overview. Before we get started, I'm going to quickly talk you through how the lessons in this class are organised, and also introduce you to the class project. We'll kick off by outlining the fundamental things you must have in place before you start posting, and touching on a few universal principles that apply to all social media platforms. In the next lesson, we'll look at how to write your profiles or bios for social media. The next four lessons explore each of the four most popular social media platforms, and how to write for them. Even if there are platforms you don't write for in here, please do watch all of them because the techniques and tips in them are transferable, not just to other platforms, but also to other marketing channels. Later in the class, we'll take a look at conversations on social media: How to craft responses that encourage positive engagement and minimise conflict. In the penultimate lesson, I'll share some common mistakes I see people make when writing for social media, and how you can avoid them. Throughout, we'll explore real-world examples of brands using each of the techniques we'll learn. I'll show you exactly how to put them into action yourself with step-by-step tutorials. That's where your class project comes in. I'd like you to pick a message or some content you want to promote on social media, it could be a landing page you want people to visit, a product you want them to buy, or a story you want to tell to increase engagement or brand loyalty. Whatever it is, it should be representative of the kind of content you regularly promote on social. In the course of the class, you'll hone your message and create a series of social media posts to promote it that are tailored to each platform. At the end of the class, you'll have a suite of posts, one for each of the major platforms, and you'll have learned how to tweak your message to suit each different platform while also maintaining brand consistency. You can work on your copy as we go along, you'll be amazed at how much it improves with each lesson. Using an existing piece of content like this is a great starting point because you'll be able to see first-hand the difference each of the techniques you'll learn can make. It also means you can concentrate on the copywriting side of things, and not get bogged down in broader issues of content marketing or strategy. To help you with your project, there's a PDF cheat sheet you can download from the class description. It lists all the techniques we'll cover in the class, so you can follow along during the lessons, and use it as a checklist for future writing. You can either bookmark a link to the cheat sheet or download it or print it out. It's up to you. I mentioned that I'll use real life brands as examples throughout the class. Well, links to the brands I'll talk about are in the class description. Also in the class description are links to the different free online tools and resources I'll introduce you to throughout the class. Well, if you've identified the content you're looking to promote and you've got the cheat sheet at hand, we're ready to go. In our first lesson, you'll find out the essential groundwork you need to do before you start posting. Don't even think about skipping this one. The tips you'll learn will save you so much time later on, and prepare you for social media success. Let's get started. 3. Prepare for Success: Prepare for Success. In this lesson, I'll outline the building blocks you must have in place before you start posting. And I'll touch on a few fundamental principles that apply to writing for all social media platforms. In many ways, writing for social is similar to writing for any other marketing channel. You need to be clear on your audience, your brand voice, and your objective. But on social media, these things are even more vital, and that's because of the way people consume your social content compared to other marketing channels like your websites, e-mails, or direct mail. Most of us access social media on our phones, and we fly through our feeds half-distracted, not even registering a lot of what's there. When you write for social, you're writing for these casual scrollers and skimmers, not highly engaged readers. You've got to stand out on a crowded feed and any uncertainty on your part will result in a less than punchy post. One that your target is going to skim straight past. If there's one principle that's central to great copywriting is to always write with your reader in mind. This is even more important when you're writing for social, because you're writing for that barely engaged audience. Unless your followers care deeply about your brand, (and there are very few brands that inspire that sort of loyalty), they're not going to stop scrolling to read a post about your business. What will stop them in their tracks is a post that's about them and that addresses their problems, their needs, and their desires. Forrester is a company that helps B2C brands provide better customer service. It's a pretty dry subject. But scroll through their feed and you can see that they are crystal clear on who their target audience is and what those people need. One way they get their target audience's attention is by addressing them directly in their posts: "IT and business leaders", "sales ops leaders", "B2C marketers". If you work in one of those roles, you're going to stop scrolling when you see it on your feed, and if the post goes on to address a problem or need you have, like understanding customer behaviours, there's a good chance you're going to engage with it. Before you even start writing, when you're planning your content, keep front of mind that the focus of your businesses' social activity shouldn't be your business, it should be your customers. Writing on social media tends to be more casual than in other sorts of business communication. That's mainly because people use social media to connect with friends, socialise, catch up on the news, and for a whole host of other non-work related things. A more informal, less business-like tone is expected and appropriate. Another reason is that space is at a premium on social media. You have to get your message across quickly if it's going to be effective. Using abbreviations and breaking a few grammar rules are useful and acceptable ways to achieve that. The other thing you'll need to keep in mind when choosing how casual to go on social is your brand tone of voice. Your brand voice should be consistent and recognisable across all your marketing channels. Achieving that is about choosing the right language to reflect your brand. Look at this tweet by Forrester. If their brand voice was more formal, they could have avoided the contraction "don't", and instead used the more formal "do not". Or, for a more casual brand voice, they could have chosen more informal synonyms in place of "advanced" and "emerging". There's no right or wrong here. It's just about reflecting your brand effectively and being consistent. If you're interested in learning more about tone of voice, my class, Master Tone of Voice for Brand Messaging Consistency, will show you how to reflect your brand voice confidently and consistently, as well as how to adapt it to different audiences and platforms. For your social media copywriting to be successful, you need to have clear objectives in mind. Now when it comes to your social media activity generally, you probably have a number of objectives and targets around engagement levels, click-throughs, and conversions. Assuming that overall strategy is clear, the next thing to make sure you have is one simple defined objective for each post. Your objective will probably be linked to a call to action, (a CTA), but not necessarily. Sometimes the objective of a post is just to make followers aware of something or remind them of a key message. But usually you want them to do something like click through to a landing page, buy a product, or engage with the post by liking or commenting. Here's the important thing. A post should only ever have one call to action. Remember those skimmers and scrollers? Remember the limited time and space you have to get your message across? Well, unless you're absolutely clear what one action you want your reader to take after reading your post, your message will come across as confused and will probably be ignored. This is such a simple thing. It takes seconds to decide your post's objective and craft a simple CTA, and yet so many people get it wrong. Don't be one of them. Look at Forrester's feed again. "Register now", "download now", "learn more". Now it may well be there are additional CTAs once I click through here, which are going to encourage me further down Forrester's marketing funnel, but the CTA attached to each post is singular and straightforward. The most important takeaway from this lesson is that while writing copy for social has a lot in common with writing other marketing copy, people consume it differently. Because people skim and scroll on social, you need to build solid foundations for social media success by knowing your audience, by using more casual language as appropriate for your brand, and by sticking to one simple CTA per post. Before you move on, take a close look at the message or content you've chosen to promote for your class project. If you need help defining your audience or message, there's a link in the class description to this excellent communications planning guide and template by Mind Tools. In the next lesson, we'll look at how to write social media profiles and bios. 4. Profiles and Bios: Profiles and Bios. In this lesson, we'll look at how to write social media bios. Bios are the snippets of text people see when they click through to your profile from their feed. They're so important because for many people they'll be the first impression they get of your brand. You need them to be accurate and engaging. We'll also touch on a couple of other areas of your profile on specific platforms where you can add longer copy, including one sneaky little tip for Facebook that a lot of people don't know exists. Let's start at the beginning with your businesses title or name. This isn't the handle, (the bit that comes after the at symbol), but the name of your businesses in bigger text at the top of your bio. I'm using the brand Naked as an example here because on its Instagram account, it's taken advantage of the fact that the name field doesn't have to exactly match the business name. "Naked" is an ambiguous business name that isn't unique and doesn't describe what the company do. By including the words "Home Body Scanner" in their Instagram name, Naked have made sure that anyone searching for them on Instagram can find them easily. More than that, it also means that anyone searching more generally for "home body scanner" will see Naked on their search feed and potentially click-through. If your brand is very well known, like Apple, or has a unique name, like Zoopla, or has a name that describes what it does or sells, like Carpet Warehouse, you'll probably want to stick to using just your company name here. But for brands like Naked, being able to add a more descriptive word to your name on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter can make you more quickly discoverable by people who were searching for both your company and your product or service. Let's move on to the bio itself. On Twitter and Instagram, the text needs to be very short, at 150 and a 160 characters respectively. In that short space, you need to engage your target audience and persuade them to take action. So, you need to be organised about it. There's no space for fluff or fillers. That's why, when I'm writing social media bios for my clients, I like to start by using a formula. I've used this formula for dozens of social media bios, for all sorts of clients from restaurants to banks. It's very flexible and it's very effective, and I think it can work for you too. Here it is. Starts off by saying who you help and how you help them, and notice that we're focusing on the reader here and not ourselves, just like we learned in the previous lesson. Next, explain what makes you unique, how are you different to other companies in your sector? Then offer some proof, something that builds your credibility. This could be membership of a professional body. It could be an award you've won or an impressive statistic, like the number of years you've been in business or the number of customers you've served. Finally, end with a CTA. But more than this, attach it to a benefit. Give your reader a great reason why they want to take the action you're proposing. Let's have a look what this formula looks like in action. This is my client, Urban Barista. Let's start by directly addressing our target audience: People who consider themselves discerning coffee drinkers, and explaining exactly what we have to offer them: Specialty coffee blends. Next, what makes Urban Barista unique? Well, the location is important. The other thing that sets this coffee shop apart is that it's dog friendly. Next up, we'll add a bit of credibility with the company's membership of a respected industry association. Finally, the CTA. At this point, Urban Barista just wants people who've landed on its profile to hit the "Follow" button. Once they are followers, they'll start seeing the company's posts in their feed and in those posts they'll be drawn further down the marketing funnel to visit the shop, buy products or join the mailing list. But we can't just tell them to follow us. We need to give them a reason to do it. Including special offers in our feed is a good way to reward our followers. If you're struggling to perfect your company social media bio, try starting with this simple tried and tested formula. On Facebook and LinkedIn, the character limit for your bio is longer, but that doesn't mean you should use all those characters. In fact, I strongly advise you not to. Banishing bloat and keeping all your social bios to the simple formula I showed you earlier will make your message clear and your CTA more persuasive than if you try to stuff in too much information this early in your relationship with your reader. This is Naked Lab's Facebook page. You can see they've expanded a little on their Instagram bio, but they still kept it short. They are, however, failing to take advantage of a little trick on Facebook that means you can space out your bio, making it both easier to read and allowing you to fit more characters in this "About" section. This is my Facebook business page. You can see I've split my bio text into two sections. I've done that by adding the second section in this "Additional information" field. Even if you don't need the extra space, by simply cutting your CTA out of the "About" section and pasting it into the "Additional information" section, you're making it more likely that people will see it and act on it. I've shown you one template you can use to write your social media bios, but if you fancy having 24 more, I highly recommend this Hootsuite guide. It's really comprehensive and there are examples of lots of different bios to inspire you. The next four lessons explore each of the four most popular social media platforms and how to write for them. Even if there are platforms you don't write for here, please do watch all of them because the techniques and tips are transferable, not just to other social platforms, but to other marketing channels too. We're going to start with Twitter. 5. Writing for Twitter: Writing for Twitter. The next four lessons explore each of the four most popular social media platforms and how to write for them. In this lesson, we'll cover writing for Twitter. You'll learn three techniques to help you make your Twitter posts more concise, that will also help you create short and sweet posts on all your social platforms. Let's start with a really quick overview. We can best describe Twitter users as 'news seekers'. They're looking for topical information, fresh content, and insights into what's happening right now. In terms of ideal post length, multiple studies show that short posts between 71 and 100 characters get most engagement. Finally, when it comes to hashtags, less is more. One or two hashtags per post will help you jump on current trends and highlight important content without interfering with readability. Keeping your posts short is vital on Twitter. Let's look at three simple ways we can do that. First up, we need to condense our message into its shortest possible form. Here's a post I've written for my client, Urban Barista. It's promoting a new product and the CTA involves taking advantage of a limited-time special offer. It should work well on this platform. It's already under the 280-character limit, but I really want to get it down below 100 characters because that's going to get better engagement. A great way of starting with this is to cut out some of the descriptive words: the adverbs and adjectives that modify the nouns. Let's go through them. I want to keep "new" because that's important to the message. I think we can lose "hand-picked", but I quite like "seductively", so I'm going to keep that for now. "Deliciously" is a boring word that doesn't add anything to the message. Let's get rid of that. Likewise, I think this phrase would actually be stronger without the word "powerful". We've already got ourselves a punchier post. Next, I'm going to encourage you to be a bit rebellious and break a few grammar rules. Many rules around writing are important because they aid clarity and make sure that you get your message across effectively. But certain rules are outdated and breaking them can help make your writing more characterful and snappier. One writing rule that you can break on social media, that's really effective and often makes your post shorter, is to split long sentences into multiple shorter ones. Look what I've done here with the Urban Barista post. The original post had three sentences. This version has seven. Now, you wouldn't want to write your company's long-form content in this style, but here on social, it's punchy, it's a little disruptive, and it's a very effective way to keep your posts concise, because you can cut out some of your connecting words like 'and', 'but', and 'is'. Speaking of connecting words, have you spotted the other old-fashioned grammar rule I've broken? I've started a sentence with "And". Now, this is an outdated rule that I DO suggest you break everywhere, not just social, but it's particularly useful in this context. A quick tip now that involves hashtags, but it's not about hashtag strategy. It's a way of using hashtags to highlight important bits of text. It can also help you shorten your posts. On Twitter, and most other platforms, there's no easy way of making your text bold or italic or underlined. That's a challenge, because it robs us of three really useful ways to highlight bits of text and make them stand out. But there is a way around it. That's to make a keyword or phrase into a hashtag. When you do that, the hashtag is formatted in a different colour and hey presto, it stands out from the rest. In this case, by hash-tagging "this week only", I've not only drawn attention to the time-limited nature of my offer, I've also shortened my post even further. Just one piece of advice. If you do use hashtags in this way, always click on them and see what comes up just in case it's something your company doesn't want to be associated with. I want to show you a super handy tool now from Sprout Social. Firstly, there's a guide that tells you the optimum length for all the major social media platforms. Secondly, there's the tool itself where you can paste your post and get feedback on its length and number of hashtags. Tools like these should only be used as guides. For example, it's good to mix longer and shorter post together on your feed, both for variety and because you're more engaged readers will appreciate the more in-depth content. But on this occasion, I'm really keen to cut my message down so it hits that sweet spot under 100 characters where I'm going to maximise engagement. I've got a bit more work to do. I'm going to switch things around a little and lose this whole section. That's better - short, punchy, and we're still getting our message across. If you need a bit of inspiration to help you craft short tweets, I can recommend visiting Samsung Mobile's, Twitter feed. They are masters of keeping things concise. The most important takeaway from this lesson is that brevity is key on social media. When it comes to engagement, the optimum post length on every platform is likely to be far shorter than you'd expect. On the one hand, this puts some of the heavy lifting firmly on the shoulders of your visual content. On the other, it shows just how important it is to be able to create short, sharp, attention-grabbing posts that hook your reader in and persuade them to take action. Before you move on, write a tweet using the techniques we've covered in this lesson. Start with a longer message like I did, then ditch the drivel, break some rules and use a hashtag or two to shorten it even more and highlight a key word or phrase. In the next lesson, we're going to explore how to write for LinkedIn. 6. Writing for LinkedIn: Writing for LinkedIn. In this lesson, we'll talk about writing for LinkedIn. You'll learn three techniques to help you make your LinkedIn posts more persuasive, that will also help you create persuasive posts that convert on ALL your social platforms. First, a few basics. People generally use LinkedIn for more professional purposes than other social media. Your target audience is as likely to be prospective employees as it is customers, and there's also a lot of B2B activity. Your posts on LinkedIn can be much longer than your tweets, but maybe surprisingly, the ones that get most engagement tend to be similar length to that optimum tweet length, between just 50 and 100 characters. But while the posts themselves may be short, they generally link to blogs or videos that contain more in-depth information. It's a similar story to Twitter with hashtags too. Sticking to one or two per post is best. With so much competition on social media, it's extremely important that your posts are persuasive, Let's look at how we can harness the power of persuasion in our posts and make our readers more likely to take us upon our call-to-action. Here's Urban Barista on LinkedIn. This time, I'm promoting their new blend to trade customers. The call-to-action is to get readers to click on the link to read a blog post on Urban Barista's website. This is an important point, especially if you're intimidated by the very short posts I'm encouraging you to write for social. All your post copy needs to do is encourage readers to take the call-to-action. Once they've clicked through to your website or they're watching your video, the post itself has done its job and your focus turns to the next action you want your target to take. That's the marketing funnel approach we talked about earlier. One way to make a connection with your reader to persuade them to take you up on your CTA is to ask them a question. As human beings, we're hard-wired to respond to questions. We find them difficult to ignore. Maybe it's something to do with our problem-solving nature that we don't like to leave them unanswered. One brand that uses questions effectively on LinkedIn is Templafy. Just look at their feed. "How can?" "What now?" "Did you know?" "Are you wondering?" "How do you manage?" "Have you considered?" Something like 80 percent of their posts start with a question. It obviously works really well for them as a conversion tool. Let's copy some of Templafy's question formats and adapt them to our own post. "Your customers love your coffee, but they're keen to try new artisan blends. What now?" "Did you know there's any one coffee blend in the UK that combines Brazilian and Indonesian beans?" "Are you wondering what the benefits are of blending coffee beans from either side of the globe?" You get the idea. By varying your question posts like this and alternating between open and closed questions, you can work out what works best for your audience and what leads to most engagement. Here's a little something you can add to your posts to make them more persuasive and it's so quick and easy to do. It's about making your post more specific by really zoning in on your target audience. Urban Barista's main audience is independent coffee shops in Leicester. By adding those keywords to our post, we're going to make it really jump out to that target group and stand out from all the other posts on their feed that's a less tailored and more general. As always, it's all about writing with your reader in mind and making your posts more about them and less about your business. With this kind of post on LinkedIn and most other platforms, when you're linking out to another destination online, the title of that content appears underneath or alongside your post. If you're linking to your own content, you can of course, choose that title. Now, when you're writing and titling a blog post or web page, how it looks when it's shared on social media might not be front of mind. But if a lot of your traffic comes from social media sources, it really should be. That's because if you're following my advice and keeping your post short, this title should actually make up around 50 percent of your post's copy. So it's important that those two pieces of copy work well together, and that the content title follows on smoothly from the post. The most important takeaway from this lesson is that writing persuasive post copy on LinkedIn is all about connecting with your reader and gently leading them into your marketing funnel. Before you move on, write your own LinkedIn post and experiment with using questions, being more specific, and writing copy that compliments the title of the content you're linking out to. For more help with LinkedIn, I've included a link in the class description to this article by the brilliant Neil Patel, that gives a hugely detailed data-driven breakdown of what makes a successful post. In the next lesson, we'll explore how to write for Facebook. and nowhere is this more true than on LinkedIn. 7. Writing for Facebook: Writing for Facebook. In this lesson, we'll cover writing for Facebook. You'll learn three techniques to make your Facebook posts more attention-grabbing, that will also help you create posts that stand out from the crowd on all your social platforms. Here's the fact file. The average Facebook user is older than on other social media, and they're likely to be less web savvy. Important points to bear in mind when you're writing for this platform. When it comes to getting engagement on your post, you might be surprised to learn that Facebook users have the lowest attention span of all. Posts that perform best are between just 40 and 80 characters. Hashtags aren't that big of a deal on Facebook if you do want to use them, just use one per post. There's another important point about Facebook; it doesn't like you linking out to content outside the platform. The exact algorithms are shrouded in mystery, but it's clear that unless you pay for an ad, if your post includes a link, it's less likely to be seen by your followers than if it includes content that keeps them on the platform. For that reason, Urban Barista has made a video about their new coffee blend. The initial CTA for this post is to encourage people to watch the video. This is going to build awareness of both the brand and their new product and lead to engagement and more visits to both the shop and the Urban Barista website. Getting your audience's attention is vital if you're going to get them to even read your post, never mind act on it. It's especially important on Facebook where attention spans seem to be even shorter than elsewhere, and you really need to stand out if you're going to make an impression. Let's explore some ways to do just that. When you know that the best performing Facebook posts are between 40 and 80 characters each, it can make it easier to write them if you think of them as headlines. They're about the same length after all and have a similar job to do; get the reader's attention and encourage them to spend time with our content. Headlines are usually written in title case with the main words in them capitalised. This is a technique that can work brilliantly on social posts too, because sentences written in title case are more attention-grabbing than those written in sentence case. I'm going to start by writing a super short and punchy post for Urban Barista that's just 78 characters long and encourages people to watch the video. Now I'm going to use a tool called Title Case Converter that does exactly what it says. It converts your text, whether it's written in sentence case or all caps, into title case. It's really quick and easy and incredibly accurate. It's just another one of those handy little tools that you can tuck into your writers toolkit and it will make your life that bit easier. Now we have our title case post, and I think you'll agree that the title case version is more attention-grabbing and bolder than the sentence case version. Just one thing to mention, and that's PLEASE DON'T DO THIS. Capitalising all your text makes you look shouty and desperate and it's more likely to put your readers off than engage them. But you knew that already. What exactly are magic numbers? Well, the good news is that any number is magic when it's used in a short post like this. Human beings, for some reason, seem to be naturally drawn to numbers, and including one or two (or any other number) in your post is such a cheap and easy way to boost its engagement. There's one caveat though; you need to write the numbers as numerals rather than words. So, not like this, but like this. Another piece of good news, writing numbers as numerals also keeps your character count down, so it's a win-win situation. Our next technique comes courtesy of Sprout Social. They're a company that help people connect with customers on social media, so they know what they're doing. Let's look at their Facebook feed. "Learn how to develop an influencer marketing strategy for your company." "To understand UX, you must step into your customer's shoes," "challenge and strengthen your ideas, then prepare for leadership buy-in." "Repeat after us, your worth is not measured by the decisions your brand makes." What do all these posts have in common? It's the word "you", the vast majority of Sprout Social's posts take the reader at their starting point. They're not talking about themselves, or about customers generally, or stating general opinions, they're making it very clear what that concept means for their user and why should they engage with it. The most important takeaway from this lesson is that your Facebook posts have to be attention-grabbing for them to make an impact. Three really straightforward ways you can make your post standout are by using title case, tapping into the power of magic numbers, and making your posts all about the reader. Before you move on, write your own post for Facebook using the techniques we've just learned. Remember if you're struggling to get your post down below 100 characters, imagine instead that you're writing a headline, it's a helpful way to get into that short, sharp, impactful writing mindset. The next lesson is the last platform-specific lesson. In it, we're going to look at writing for Instagram. 8. Writing for Instagram: Writing for Instagram. In this lesson, we'll cover writing for Instagram, and you'll learn three techniques to help you make your Insta captions more engaging that will also help you create compelling posts on all your social platforms. First, some facts. Instagram users or a positive bunch. They're looking for upbeat interactions and good news stories. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that Instagram is a very visual platform, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a place for great copywriting. The perfect caption length on Instagram is a little longer than elsewhere, but don't get carried away. It's still just between 138 and 150 characters. Having said that, Instagram is a platform where many users post longer captions, almost like mini blogs in some cases, and they're very successful with it. So if you do want to experiment with longer native social media content, this is probably the place to do it. Instagram is the place to really let loose with hashtags too, around 10 or 11 is optimum. You can use them to highlight words, tap into trends, and make sure you show up on users search results when they're searching for the topics you're posting about. It's preferable to separate your hashtags from your main caption on Instagram. They're almost like an additional list of keywords rather than being part of your post. Instagram (and social media more generally) is all about engagement. Let's explore three techniques we can use to make our Instagram captions more compelling. These are tips that will help us drive engagement on all our social profiles. It's surprising how often on Instagram you see images with a caption that's either unrelated or contradictory. It's like the copy and the images have been picked by different people and stuck together at the last minute, or, more often, the caption just tells us what we can already see without adding anything new, which basically makes it pointless. Your image and your caption must work hand-in-hand. One brand that knows how to do this brilliantly is Innocent. It's feed is full of bright and beautiful photos of its products. What I particularly love is the way the images and captions work together. The images themselves often include copy either on the bottles or printed out, which gets your attention and creates a sense of intrigue, prompting you to read the caption. Look at this post. Not only I'm intrigued by the colour of Innocent's fancy new smoothie, I'm also keen to find out what the blue card is, and the caption follows up on that intrigue by answering my questions. The image I'm working with for Urban Barista's post has an element of intrigue to it too. Coffee lovers seeing this image on our Instagram feed are likely to wonder what that special coffee in the fancy carafe is. If we include a tiny bit of text on that too, we're going to ramp up the intrigue and make it more likely that they'll read the caption to find out more about the new brew. Storytelling is such a powerful marketing tool. Instagram is the perfect platform for it because it's so visual and because your posts can be that little bit longer. Not that stories have to be long-winded. Look at Specsavers Instagram feed. It's devoted to Specsavers customers wearing Specsavers glasses, and each caption is a mini insight into their lives and the products. If you want to introduce storytelling into your marketing, my number one tip would be to do what Specsavers have done; focus on your customers. It's such a clever way of showcasing your product or service without making it all about you. There are any number of ways we could ramp up the storytelling element of our Urban Barista caption. We could talk more about the origins of the beans and the people who pick them. We could talk to the barista serving it, or about the philosophy behind it, or we could feature testimonials and quotes from customers who've tried it. Think about how you might dive into the stories behind your brand and product. As long as you make it all about the people, you really can't go wrong. Let's head back to our Urban Barista post, and a little tip for formatting your text to make it more readable and inviting. This big block of text is a bit boring. Look how much more accessible it becomes when we add a few line breaks. Now, I know what you're thinking. You can't add line breaks on Instagram captions, but you can, if you use this sneaky little tool, Instagram Line Break Generator is another one of those apps that does exactly what it says. With a bit of copy and pasting, you can add line breaks to your caption that space it out, and in doing so, make it more readable. It's a much cleaner and more elegant solution than using dashes or full stops on each line, which can look a bit amateurish. The most important takeaway from this lesson is that Instagram may be all about images, but that does not mean you can neglect your copy. In fact, with its positive vibe and trend for slightly longer posts, Instagram is an excellent place to play around with more experimental captions and storytelling techniques. Before you move on, write an Instagram post based on your own content. Take some inspiration from Innocent and Specsavers and get playful with your captioning. Just make sure that your image and caption work together effectively. That's the last of our platform-specific lessons. I hope you're enjoying the class so far. In the next lesson, we'll take a look at replies on social media; how to craft responses that encourage positive engagement and minimise conflict. 9. Conversations: Conversations. In this lesson, we'll explore the subject of conversations on social media. How to craft responses to replies and mentions that encourage positive engagement and minimise conflict. When it comes to interacting with your followers, particularly when it relates to answering queries and handling complaints, the skills you need go beyond the copywriting tips we'll talk about here; you'll need customer service skills too. So for this lesson's free resource, I've picked this Business News Daily article, which explores the subject of customer service on social media and contains loads of tips and inspiration from successful brands. If you tend to get a lot of people interacting with your social media posts with similar questions or responses, it can be tempting to reply using the same copy and paste reply to save time. The problem with this is that it's really obvious to anyone looking through your feed that that's what you're doing and it makes you look insincere. People might even assume you're using an automated service and that there isn't a human being behind your feed at all. The challenge is, and I know this from experience, starting from scratch every time is not only really time-consuming, it also means that typos are more likely to creep in, and that you are at greater risk of going accidentally off message, which can be especially risky if you're handling complaints. I've got a tried and tested solution for you that will keep your replies varied, while also making replying quick and free from errors. Here's a message that a business might find themselves having to send regularly. Here's a variation, and here's another, and some more for good measure. All I've done here is slightly varied the wording of the message while keeping the meaning the same. You can use an online thesaurus to help you with this. Once you get going, it really is quite quick and easy to do. This is a bit sad, but to be honest, I actually find writing these variations quite therapeutic, like doing a crossword, or Sudoku or something, but then I'm a bit weird. Anyway, once you have these alternatives in the bank (and you can get them signed off by a manager before you start using them if you need to), you can pick and choose from them for your replies. Perhaps you could have more or less formal versions of the same message and pick the one that best matches the style used by your customer. It's such a quick and easy way to make your reply more tailored and less robotic. Here's another... If someone messages you and it's apparent from their username what their first name is, it can be a nice personal touch to include their name in your response. It just makes it that little bit more tailored. You might also consider using "I" instead of "we", and/or adding your own first name or initials at the end of your tweet. These small personal touches remind the person you are interacting with that you're a human being, which sounds a bit silly, but it's amazing how many people forget that businesses are run by other people when they're interacting with them on social media. JetBlue is an airline that's won awards for their amazing customer service on social media. They have up to 3,000 people everyday either tweeting them directly or mentioning them in Twitter posts. Despite this, they still managed to respond with conversations that feel organic and natural. They look for opportunities to add value and connect with their customers, not just respond to every single mention that comes their way. When you have a moment, take a browse through JetBlue's Twitter feed for inspiration on how to interact with customers efficiently and effectively. The most important takeaway from this lesson is that responding to replies and mentions on social media is as much about customer service as it is about copywriting. But by varying your own replies, adding a personal touch, and emulating the successful tactics of the best in the business, you can save yourself writing time and make your dialogue with audiences more effective. In the next lesson, I'll share the three most common mistakes I see people make when writing for social media and how you can avoid them. 10. Common Mistakes: Welcome back. Thank you for the time you've taken out of your day to watch this class so far. I feel very privileged to have joined you at this point on your copywriting journey and I hope you're finding this class useful. We've only got a couple of lessons left, but there are some unmissable tips and techniques yet to come, so please do stay with me until the end. In this lesson, I'll share some common mistakes I see people make when writing for social media and how you can avoid them. We've talked about how writing for social media should be more casual than for other channels, and how you can get away with using more abbreviations and breaking a few traditional grammar rules. However, nothing interferes with clarity like a confusing or funny typo. Unfortunately, on social a mistake can be shared with thousands of people before you even realise you've made it. The secret to spotting these tricky little errors is proper proofreading. Here are my three top tips for proofreading your social media copy. Check usernames and hashtags especially carefully. These are the places where errors are most likely to creep in, and of course these won't be picked up by spellchecker. Click on them, check they link to whatever you're expecting them to, and give them a final once-over before you hit publish. Getting a second opinion isn't always possible, but if you plan a lot of your posts ahead of time, maybe using a scheduling tool, you should be able to set up a process whereby each post is checked and signed off by another member of your team. It may sound time consuming, but it could save you a lot of stress in the long run. Finally, for picking up good old-fashioned spelling mistakes, I can highly recommend Hemingway. Have this free online tool open on a tab on your browser and quickly copy and paste your posts in for a quick check. By the way, I love this tool and I use it for, honestly, pretty much everything I write. Going beyond spelling, it checks your grammar more generally, some of these categories on the right will look familiar from our earlier lessons, and it gives you tips to make your writing clearer and more concise. I can't recommend it highly enough for all your copywriting, including longer-form copy. Cross-posting is where you share exactly the same post on different social media platforms. It's tempting to do this because it keeps your accounts active, it saves time, and it makes it easy to share your content widely. But it's a terrible idea in the long-term and it has the potential to really devalue your brand. In this class, we have seen how elements like audience, caption length, and vocabulary differ by platform. Sharing exactly the same post on all of them means you might accidentally end up inviting your followers to retweet you on Facebook, or you could lose half your caption or tag a handle from one platform that doesn't exist on another. More importantly, cross-posting is really obvious to your followers, it looks like you don't really care, and at its worst, it can even look spammy. The good news is that crafting variations of your posts for the different platforms really doesn't need to be time-consuming. In fact, we've basically done it in the course of this class. Remember how we prepared for successful posting by clarifying our message, audiences, brand voice, and call to action. Use that information to create your Twitter post, keeping it short and sweet, then tweak your message for your different audiences on the different channels, taking into account the differences in caption length and hashtags, and the like. In most cases, 90 percent of your post copy will be the same, so it's not like you have to start from scratch. But the difference in how it comes across will be huge. Emojis. They're all over social media, all your followers are using them. They add colour and fun to your posts. You smile at your customers in person, don't you? Why wouldn't you smile at them online? :-) Well, you might have guessed that I'm a bit biased on this point, and I realise that for some products and services, emojis are less appropriate. But if you're writing them off for no good reason, you're missing a trick. We've talked a lot during this class about connecting with your audience and about tweaking your language to match the more casual, informal language they're using on social. Incorporating emojis can work as an extension of that. Have a browse through DiGiorno's social feeds. They use emojis in a really simple but effective way to add colour and humour to their social content. Their copy also shows how emojis can be a very handy tool for keeping your posts concise because they can be used as shorthand for emotions or instructions. In the end, whether and how you use emojis comes down to your brand voice and (as ever) consistency, and audience focus is key. All I ask is that you don't dismiss them out of hand. Before you move on, take a look at the posts you've written for your class project for Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Do they need spell checking? Are they tailored enough to the individual platforms? Can you experiment with emojis to add a bit of pizzazz? In the next lesson, we'll recap what we've learned and talk about our class project. I've also got one final brilliant free resource for you, so don't even think about skipping it. 11. Next Steps: Congratulations! Thank you for joining me for this class on copywriting for social media, and congratulations on finishing the class. In the last 60 minutes, you've learned a total of 24 practical, actionable steps you can put to work straight away to improve your copy and make it more concise, persuasive, attention-grabbing, and engaging. You've explored 12 helpful real-world examples from top brands who are totally acing writing for social. And you've added nine quality writing resources to your toolkit for a bit of extra help when you need it. I think you should congratulate yourself on an hour well spent. You've learned the fundamental principles that apply to all social media platforms as well as how to write your profiles or bios for social media. You've explored each of the four most popular social media platforms and how to write for them. You now know how to craft responses that encourage positive engagement and minimise conflict, and you've learned how to avoid some of the most common mistakes I see people make when writing for social media. I promised you one extra copywriting resource, didn't I? Well, here it is. We've talked a lot in this class about the importance of understanding your target audience and writing with your reader in mind. This is a resource that's going to help you do just that. It's a blueprint for making marketing personas that drive real results for your business brand and marketing efforts. It calls itself a beginner's guide, but it's actually really comprehensive, but very accessible and easy to use. If you want to get to know your audience a bit better so that you can write for them more effectively, I highly recommend it. There's a link to it in the class description. Now, have you started your class project yet? Maybe you've been editing your text as we've gone along. If not, well, now is the time to start. Pick a message or some content you want to promote on social media. It could be a landing page you want people to visit, a product you want them to buy, or a story you want to tell to increase engagement or brand loyalty. Whatever it is, it should be representative of the kind of content you regularly promote on social. Download the Social Copy in Action cheat sheet. There's a link in the class description. You can either bookmark a link to the cheat sheet or download it to your computer or print it out. It's up to you. Use the cheat sheet to help you create a series of social media posts to promote your content that are tailored to each platform. When you're done, share your new copy as a project. I'd love to see how you've used the techniques we've explored during the class. If you're unsure what image to use for your project, (this is a writing task after all), I've uploaded three royalty-free stock images to the project description for you to choose from. If you get stuck or if you have any questions, let me now. Get in touch using the Discussions tab and I'll help you work things out. I'd love to hear your feedback about this class, and I'd love to hear about the positive feedback you get about your improved social media copy. Thank you again for joining this class. Enjoy the rest of your day.