How to Write for Corporate Social Media Channels (And Expand Social Reach)
In corporate media you must provide a steady stream of quality content that will interest, excite and, oh yes, engage your audience.
In the past, social was seen as a “nice-to-have” component to the business. But now more than ever, these social networks play a major role.
Think about this, close to half the world’s population — 3 billion + — are on some type of social media.
That number still continues to grow, so spending time and improving your corporate social media channels is essential to the overall business.
There are some very fundamental things that everyone should understand to write clearly and convincingly on social media. By following these simple tips, you can learn to avoid the pitfalls that so many still make while mastering the craft of social media writing.
1. Present only one big idea
Social media is a dynamic, cluttered space, and you cannot afford for your message to be muddled because it contains too many ideas.
Decide on the single big idea you want to get across for each piece of content you might share, and craft your piece around this big idea. Make sure the headline and teaser material also clearly convey the big idea – and only the big idea.
2. Knock off the self-promotion and “sales only” content
Social media has grown and shifted over these last few years. And no longer is your corporate accounts just for everything about your company and pushing a sales agenda.
Sure, that content is okay from time to time, but even your corporate accounts need to feel more human and genuine.
Split it between:
- Sharing third-party content, relevant industry news, what other people are saying that is related to your industry.
- Engaging with audiences, followers, customers, join or start a discussion, etc.
- Then also mix in your company content and news. But ensure it is also ultra-shareable content.
I like how Adobe smartly uses UGC to focus on “one big idea” for the month, and focus on a cause (protecting animals) instead of selling their product:
3. Always answer the “why”
When your audience is skimming social media, they’re attracted to the things that inform and delight them. But how does your audience know when a piece of content will fit that bill?
The answer is simple: It’s up to you to explain why they should click.
As humans, we’re instinctively more likely to click if we receive a clear explanation in advance about why this click will entertain and inform us.
And no, clickbait is not the answer, as people will remember they were duped when they see future social content from you.
4. Unlearn everything your English teacher taught you (sort of)
Your well-intentioned English teacher in high school taught you how to write sophisticated, academic prose that included perfectly formed sentences and elegant word choices.
This writing style helped you pass your college classes, no doubt, but it’s all wrong for social media. This doesn’t mean punctuation and grammar should be forgotten though.
Instead, you must learn to communicate in short, pithy sentences, to not be afraid to start sentences with a verb and to write sentences without a subject or object. This is the type of writing that is the most readable and attractive on social media. Look how Califia Farms communicates:
I’ve found shorter sentences and with more spacing can draw in engagement and interest.
5. Ask for responses or ask questions
If your company is quite recognizable or your brand is growing, a great way to write and get engagement is by asking questions.
People liking engaging with brands they are familiar with, so asking for their input, opinions, or just general questions can elicit some solid engagement and interest.
Think of ending your social copy with questions or asking for your audience’s opinions. Use words like why, how, what, etc. For example, you can end something with “What do you think?” or “In your opinion…”
6. Watch your timing of copy
I think we all know or have read about brands that have made some social blunders with their bad timing. Whether that is an inappropriate response, bad joke, or sharing something at a time that might invoke negativity towards your company.
Social media mistakes can easily happen, but it’s important that you understand what’s going on in the world and in the news. A poorly timed share or written copy, can easily spread like wildfire and cause a PR nightmare.
7. Create vivid imagery
When you do share something related to your company, products, or services your copy should help create an image. Good social media writing involves painting a vivid picture for your audience, so they can visualize a product or concept.
You want to explain to them what it looks, smells, sounds, feels or tastes like to be a consumer of your product or service. Especially for complex subjects and concepts, you want to use examples that your audience can relate to and visualize in their minds.
Tentsile, a company that sells tree tents, has stunning photos on their Instagram profile to sell the bigger idea of being one with nature to their target audience — outdoor/camping enthusiasts:
Sounds a bit much for social media, right? Paint a vivid image? But we can’t ignore the power social can have on business so it’s important to appeal to the senses.
8. Tell great stories
As humans, we communicate in stories. Everything that happens in our lives can be told as a story, with a beginning, middle, and end, and filled with drama and little details that help us relate to and be immersed in that story.
As you ponder what your story is, think about moments in history and how they relate to what is happening now. Frame ideas and concepts around emotions and analogies. Infuse your content pieces with drama and mystery and surprise.
If you can tell great stories on social media, you will always be able to catch your audience’s attention.
Expand Social Reach With Employee Advocates
While you might own the social media handles, you can also get your brand advocates and other employees involved in social media. This does not mean handing over the corporate accounts for chaos to ensue.
Instead, it’s about providing employees access to particular content to share via their socials.
You probably have heard the term, “employee advocacy” and many well-known brands are investing time and money into a program. Think of it as a way to expand your corporate social media reach, while driving additional brand visibility, clicks, leads, and much more.
Hopefully, the above tips provided some insight or even a reminder on how to master writing for corporate social media channels. There really is an art and strategy involved to increase engagement and get people interacting with the brand.
As you begin developing your social media voice, remember to study how some of the most respected businesses in your industry communicate on social media.
You’ll be surprised how much you can learn about how to write clearly and convincingly on social media, just by observing and imitating others.