So you have a website, a social media account, and followers - congratulations! These are two of the most important elements in an online marketing strategy. However, all that time you spend writing and scheduling posts won’t make a difference unless users actually read them. And getting them to pay attention can be a challenge.
After using social media for a while, most brands will notice a pattern: some posts are popular, and some are not. Simply put, writing for social media is fundamentally different from any other kind of writing, and a consistent pattern of low performance can suggest quality issues.
In this article, we’ll share nine elements of an impactful social media post that wins attention and earns engagement.
No matter the genre, relevance is the fundamental key to all persuasive writing: simply put, a good social media post should be relevant to your audience and relevant to your business.
In practice, this includes:
- News that directly bears on your industry
- Product and company announcements
- Content targeting your audience demographic
Some brands confuse “relevance” for “popularity,” sharing memes, commenting on pop culture and riding trends. While this approach can be combined with good branding, care must always be taken to connect posts with your industry and readers.
In order for a social post to be impactful, it must be “timely” in two senses: first, the information must be fresh, and second, the post should be shared when users are most likely to see it.
Timeliness of Information
- Check the dates on any shared articles, and make sure the story is still circulating. Do not share information that isn’t recent.
- Company announcements – events, updates and product releases – should be planned and delivered long in advance of the date so the information has time to propagate
Timeliness of Posting
Every social network has periods of peak activity when followers are most likely to be active. Mid-week (Wednesday) is universally the best day for engagement, at different times:
- LinkedIn: From 8:00 A.M to 2:00 P.M local time
- Facebook: From 9:00 A.M to 3:00 P.M
- Instagram: From 10:00 A.M to 3:00 P.M
- Twitter: From noon to 1:00 P.M
While these rules generally hold true, they vary across subgroups. Check your own analytics to determine when your followers are most active and use this information to plan posts ahead of time.
Every social network has a “sweet spot” for post frequency; post too often, and engagement will drop. Post too little, and opportunities for engagement will be missed.
Facebook & LinkedIn
- No more than: two posts per day.
- Optimal frequency: one post per day.
- No less than: five tweets per day.
- Optimal frequency: fifteen per day.
Relative to other social networks, Instagram behaves unusually. As posting frequency scales, the reach of individual posts decreases, while overall reach increases to an arbitrary number. As such, there is no “ideal frequency” for Instagram, and brands should post as often as they have content.
The vast majority of Internet users do not actually “read” web content – they skim. Social media, where your post will be mixed with dozens of others, is certainly no exception. Avoid complex or redundant language wherever possible and consider using the Flesch–Kincaid readability test to ensure that your posts are optimized for readability.
Except where social media platforms have specific publishing features (LinkedIn articles), long-form content should be published to a brand’s website, not directly to its social accounts.
The average American reads for 16.8 minutes each day, while being exposed to around 5,000 advertisements. As such, they have limited bandwidth for promotional content: regular posts should be brief and to the point.
Every brand has a unique voice that should be adapted to its audience. For instance, legal firms may adopt an academic tone, while a fashion magazine may aim for “quirky” and “offbeat”.
However, there are a few rules of voice that apply to any brand on social media:
- Active language: avoid the passive voice; say “we will launch this Saturday” instead of “we will be launching this Saturday”
- Authoritative statements: customers are unsure of brands that are unsure of themselves. Don’t say you will “try” to solve their problem – say you “guarantee” it
- Professionalism: no matter the industry, a business is a business, and professionalism inspires confidence. Avoid overly casual lingo, too many contractions and use proper titles.
Shares, comments and reactions boost the visibility of a post. When writing one, keep engagement in mind: use open-ended language, avoid an argumentative posture and adopt a tone of collaboration.
- Use trending hashtags when possible and where appropriate
- Prepare special offers, contests and giveaways in exchange for engagement
- Employ an active social media team to field questions and leave responses on user feedback
A brand should remember that social media is a two-way medium: it should start conversations, encourage engagement and avoid “talking at” its users.
Fast-food chain Arby’s had great success when its marketing team began using store materials to create art based on popular films and video game franchises. Obviously, this method was not drawn from a book or social media guide.
When first starting out on social media, it’s normal to observe other brands and follow their example. But don’t get stuck in a rut: the most successful marketers try new ideas until they find one that differentiates their brand and sticks.
After discovering a post format that works, its easy to use it again and again. However, this is a mistake: after a while, users will know what to expect from you, and engagement will drop.
A brand should diversify both the types of content that it shares, and the style of post (engagement, special offer, news article, image, etc.). Reserve certain days of the week for certain kinds of posts and follow this pattern consistently.
Knowing Your Platform
Every social media marketer will have a unique experience, because no two brands or audiences are exactly alike. For this reason, fashioning a good post means observing your own success over time and learning what works best.
If you haven’t already, consider investing in a social media tool like Hubspot or Sprout Social to keep tabs on your best performing content and view data in real-time. When you treat marketing like a learning experience, continual improvement is inevitable.
Conveyance Marketing Group is a team of bright, innovative and talented veteran marketers dedicated to big ideas, fresh insights and measurable results. We pride ourselves on taking challenging marketing issues and turning them into opportunities for our clients, on pointing brands in the right direction, and on getting our customers noticed both online and off. From branding to websites to digital marketing, and public relations, we handle all your marketing communication needs! Web Design and Development | Brand Strategy | Inbound Marketing | Social Media | SEO | PR