As a business using social media to connect with your customers, there are unwritten rules you must follow if you want your content to be successful.
For marketing teams with limited resources, the reality may be frustrating, but it's fact. You cannot create content for other channels, then publish it on social media and expect users to engage with it.
There are specific approaches you must take in terms of copywriting, graphic design, and overall creative strategy when creating content for social media platforms.
Thankfully, it is often possible to take the content you've created for other channels and successfully adapt and edit it for social media.
Here are a couple of quick fixes you can make to your existing social media content to improve the odds that your posts will grab attention.
Think of it as design and copywriting for the social media age.
1. Keep YOUR COPY simple and concise.
If you want to be successful on social media, you must focus on making the text of your posts brief and to-the-point. A good rule of thumb is to keep your text to 1-2 lines, max.
Too much text on social media will cause eyes to glaze over, the brain to go, "this looks like work," and thumbs to keep on scrolling.
Think about it: even in blog posts, you rarely see long paragraphs anymore. (My own are usually 1-2 sentences!) Our attention spans are shorter than ever before, and the way you write copy can influence whether someone decides to keep reading.
This also means you need to kill the jargon. If your copy sounds overly technical, look for ways to trim and simplify. This advice applies even if your audience is highly educated and has the vocabulary to completely grasp what you're saying.
Just because they can, doesn't mean they'll bother to.
- Can I say this in fewer words? (The answer is almost always yes.)
- Can I swap any 'fluffy' words for higher-impact ones?
- Am I using any overly technical words or jargon?
- Can I add more line breaks to make this less of a word wall?
Keeping it short and punchy will ensure more people stop scrolling on their phones long enough to actually see what you've got to say.
2. Pack a punch right away.
With social media feeds, you can't afford a long build-up. Get to the point right away, or include an emotional hook or surprise in the first few words or seconds.
Remember: you have 0.5-2 seconds to capture attention on social media, depending on the platform.
Most people pick up their phones in stolen moments while bored at work, commuting, or sitting around the house. They're scrolling at breakneck pace in search of entertainment or inspiration. What's going to make them stop scrolling and pay attention to your content?
This goes for all aspects of social media creative: text and headlines, images, and videos.
And it's one of the reasons why video created for other channels often doesn't perform well on social media. Professionally shot and edited video created for other corporate initiatives will often have 7 or 8 seconds of intro, usually in the form of an art card with the logo or title.
This will kill your engagement on social! Real talk: would you actually sit through those 7-8 seconds, or would you keep on scrolling? Don't let social media be an afterthought when you're creating new content - plan for it from the very beginning.
- Does this capture my attention in the first few words or seconds?
- Do I immediately understand what this is about, or at least why I might want to stop and watch?
3. Increase the font size of text in your images.
One of the biggest (and easiest to fix) mistakes I still frequently see brands make is posting graphics with text that's too small to read on mobile devices. Most social media images are created using software on a desktop computer. But if you don't test it out on a mobile device, you could end up creating something you need binoculars to read.
Remember: social is mobile.
Don't let mobile become an afterthought. How your images look and read on tiny screens should become the first thing you consider when designing new social media graphics.
Tip: Even if you're designing organic content, use a free ad mockup tool to see what your post will look like across multiple device types. My favorite is AdParlor's Ad Mockup Generator (free).
Want more step-by-step guidance? You've got 2 good options:
1. Download my free social media strategy framework. I designed this framework and use it with all of my strategy clients. Now, you can get your own free copy to map out a strategy that will deliver true value and ROI from your social media marketing. Download your free copy here.
2. Hire me to help you 1-on-1. To learn a little more about how I can help your business and how I work with my clients, click here. Or you can get in touch with me to schedule an initial consult here.