When creating written content for social media, it’s important to sound “authentic”. With the rise of social media, traditional advertising has changed. Social media is awash with consumers, who no longer wish to receive a “hard-sell”. Instead, consumers demand an accessible brand that speaks to them in a conversational way they can relate to.
Basically, you should be treating every bit of copy you write as a casual conversation with your target audience. The easiest way to do this is to speak out loud while you’re writing. Obviously exclude all the um’s and ah’s, but keep it as authentic as you can (emoji’s help with this!). BUT… there is a difference between being authentic and being a Hot Mess. So how do you avoid that?
- Use Prompts
I find the times I’m most tempted to completely break down on social media is when I haven’t planned what I’m going to write. There’s plenty of places you can take prompts from and it’ll depend on your industry. I like to respond to the latest digital news, whether that’s about social media or content writing. Or I’ll draw inspiration from other captions I’ve read recently (but don't plagiarise someone else’s ideas!). Re-purpose blog posts into “bite size” instructionals or keep a list of topics in a notebook to refer to later.
- Mix it up
If you’ve written a few captions that are more personal mix it up with one that’s more informative. You can absolutely keep people up to date with your life, but don’t forget you’re running a business too. Have you heard about the 5:3:2 rule? The idea is to avoid being that guy who only talks about himself. You do this by prioritising sharing content from external sources over sharing content created by you and content that will humanise your brand in some way. This works well for larger corporate businesses, and is a good rule of thumb for Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest. Instagram is a slightly different ballgame of course, where sharing unoriginal content is more frowned upon. But, the principle remains the same: don't only talk about yourself.
- Add value
When writing my “talk about me” captions, where possible I’ll try to make a lesson out of it or make it inspiring in some way. Overcoming adversity, no matter how minor (even just a bad day) can evoke empathy in your readers. Perhaps they’re having a bad day too and totally get where you’re coming from. Now neither of you feel alone in the world! Or, they’re having a good day but can relate in a way that builds a bond, and leaves you open to support them later down the track. Even better, is if you had a bad day and then learnt something from it which you can then impart to your followers. This might be the importance of saying “no” sometimes, how to balance conflicting commitments, and even how to spot a bad client!
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- Don’t ramble
Again, this comes down to planning, but also a bit of self-editing. Speaking out loud while writing can help you with this. Before you hit post, take a few minutes to read it out to yourself again while trying to be objective. Are you just carrying on with no real point? Does it have any purpose other than blowing off steam? Or will you be better off sending that as a text to a trusted confidante and switching off social media for a day?
- Keep it relevant
If you know who your target audience is, keeping your captions relevant should be fairly straight forward. If your target audience is new mums, absolutely talk about the baby spit up, the sleepless night you had, and the battle over dinner time. This will be less relevant however, if your target audience is male teenagers. If you’re targeting small work from home businesses, by all means, talk about how you lost 5 hours of the day in that new Netflix series (hello, it’s me!). But again, if your target audience is a more corporate vibe, then that really won’t fly.
What do you think? Are you managing that line between authenticity and hot mess? Let me know!