Writing our own Facebook and Instagram posts can be as silly, cryptic, personal or crazy as we like. A happy snap of the holidays, a funny kid anecdote, a brag moment or even the occasional whinge are perfectly acceptable social media fodder for everyday entertainment.
However, when it comes to business, we all know we need to be a little more discerning with our social media content. We need to showcase our professionalism and expertise in the most flattering light, but at the same time juggle this with still being ‘human’. Tricky!
On a previous Facebook post, I asked the question; what do you want to know about content writing? Social media posting came up as an answer, and I am so glad it did.
For many of us – myself included – knowing what and how to post to a professional social media page is one of the most challenging day-to-day aspects of owning a business. It is relentless; you get all organised and plan a few scheduled posts, then before you know it, a week has gone by and nothing has gone up on the page. This affects your business views, frequency of likes and overall appearance of the page, so it is crucial to get right.
The number one priority for any social media post is engagement. The more people who like, comment or share, the wider your post will reach organically (unpaid) – it is as simple as that. Facebook and Instagram are focused on building community and strengthening personal relationships, so keep this in mind as you work through your posting schedule.
So, here are some tips I hope will help you and your business on social media. These ideas will help you get more engagement, boost your page views and build your following.
What is the optimal number of words in a social media post? In general, the shorter, the better. Once you get over about 420 characters, you will start losing some of the content to the ‘see more’ abbreviation, which you want to avoid if possible. If people need to work hard(er) to read your content, they are likely to skip over it.
That said, sometimes you need to write more to make a point or adequately showcase a new product, service or incentive. If you are going to write long posts, the first line needs to be exceptional and attention-grabbing, so your audience won’t think twice about moving their finger to ‘see more’. Start with something positive, use strategically placed capital letters (without shouting at your reader) and the odd exclamation mark. As cheesy as they are, emojis are also very effective at catching attention and encouraging a reader to stay with you – but, just like the capital letters, don’t overdo it.
Use an image
Visuals also catch people’s attention – this is pretty self-explanatory but worth mentioning in this list. Posts with images score up to 40 per cent more engagement than text-only, so it is certainly worthy of a little extra time creating or sourcing a graphic. Try using design programs such as Canva, which offers a host of free templates to customise as well as many additional elements, backgrounds, images and fancy stuff to bring your graphic to life. Best of all, Canva is super easy and quick to use – even for the non-designer like me! Try making an infographic for something a little different. This gives your audience value-adding information at a glance and can increase your standing as an expert in your field.
For the more laid-back approach, sprinkle in a happy snap of your workplace, your desk, your staff or some work you have recently completed. For the brave, how about a selfie? Faces are always the gold-standard in social media imagery. Using personal images is an excellent opportunity to showcase who you are and what you are capable of.
The stats keep telling us that video is the way of the future, reaching up to 15 times more people than text-only. Facebook live is highly effective at gaining engagement where there is an event or interactive opportunity. If you aren’t into live videos, a short pre-filmed piece posted to your timeline will be seen by many more people than a static image alone. The ideal length is around 45-90 seconds, which isn’t too taxing to script. The best way to have your video widely seen is to upload it directly to the social media platform rather than through a third party such as YouTube or a link to your website. What could you take a video of?
Use simple language
Sad but true; functional illiteracy is more common than we care to think. This means that someone can read ok, but their comprehension skills aren’t all that crash hot.
When writing your social media posts, aim to appeal to as many people as possible. Avoid long words, complicated or industry-specific terms and keep sentences short. The age you want to write to is around ten years old – so if your child/niece/neighbour’s kid can understand it, you are good to go.
Before you post your information, think about the emotion behind it. Ask yourself, why does my audience want to know this? What value is it bringing to their day? Use these answers to write with heart, drawing on the emotion you want your reader to feel. Try to avoid negative emotions but instead focus on positive feelings of wonder, amusement, excitement and joy. People spend time on social media to connect with others and escape the mundane – so aim to inspire, lift and energise your audience. Not only will they feel better in the moment, but over time will also resonate positively with your brand.
Put the most important words first
As your reader scrolls through their feed, you have seconds (or less!) to get their thumb to stop moving. Avoid the standard narrative-type writing in a social media post. Instead, get straight to the point and hook them in, halt that scroll and make them want to keep reading. This ups your visibility as well as increases the chance the reader will go on to the next step of clicking a link to your website or contacting you for more information.
Some effective ways to begin a post include:
· Great news!
· New offer!
· From now on…
· We are launching…
· Guess what?
These are a must for Instagram but are surprisingly important for Facebook too. These little groupings of letters help categorise your content and make it searchable for the platform users. They can also be highly entertaining!
Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post and ten on a story. You don’t need to use this many, often around 8-10 is plenty, but make sure they are all relevant – don’t just hashtag for the sake of it because you will get caught out and really, you want to be seen by the right people. You can add hashtags to the actual post or the comments, or both.
If you are curious as to how your hashtags are performing on Instagram, you can get some neat stats by clicking on the ‘view insights’ link in the bottom corner of a post and then swiping up.
On Facebook, limit your use of hashtags to just one or two per post. Think about a few that may be commonly searched for and incorporate them now and then. Practical location or service tags may work well to drive traffic to your page, such as #busseltonsmallbusiness, #massagetherapist or #localhairdresser. Getting creative with your hashtags can be great for engagement too! #hastagscanbefunny.
A great marketing strategy is to come up with your business hashtag that you use across all your campaigns. This will gradually gain traction, and before you know it, other people will be spreading your message by using the hashtag in their posts! Your business hashtag also helps create cohesion through your messaging and strengthens your business identity online.
Ask a question
Asking a question has been by far the most effective way of boosting engagement on my business page. People love to answer questions such as who they would take on a holiday, where they would rather be, or what famous person they would take to dinner. These questions are unrelated to the business, but they are a breath of fresh air to the page, a way to quickly and effectively get people talking and tagging, and consequently, they do wonders for the statistics!
Questions are also a great way to garner support and feedback for your business from which you can grow and evolve. For example, when I asked what my followers would like help on, the result was this article! Asking questions gives you a chance to get to know your audience, rather than always pushing for them to get to know you. The beauty of this kind of post is that once one person comments, others are more likely to see it and want to answer too.
Call to action
No matter what type of post you put up, a call to action is always a good idea. This can be a way to contact you, a link for more information, or a request to like, share or comment on the post. It doesn’t have to be salesy or pushy, just encouragement to engage in some way.
Facebook makes business CTA’s easy as you can opt to put a button with your images, such as message or shop now. Alternatively, include your website URL, phone number or email address for people to easily contact you.
I hope that has been helpful in your quest for regular, quality social media posts for your business page. You don’t need to be adding content every day, but aim to at least be consistent. If you are stuck for ideas, leave it for another day until you are inspired – posting for the sake of it is not going to help.
Here are some quick and easy social media post ideas to get you started:
· Photo of your workspace
· Question of the day
· Customer testimonial
· Showcase a new product or service
· Promote a blog post or website page
· Did you know….
· Fun fact
· Staff profile
· FAQ answer
· Time-saving tip
· Recent work
· Recent travel photo
BONUS: For more social media post ideas and graphics done for you, check out Angie Gensler’s social media calendar. You can now get the 2020 calendar for USD$48, which includes the 2019 calendar as a bonus (even though we are at the end of the year, you get all those additional ideas to use later!).
The 2020 calendar includes 366 days of content planned out, with 52 questions and 52 quotes to sprinkle through your page. For a small extra charge, you can also get 305 customisable images to accompany your posts – all the work has been done for you!
As a special bonus for Copy That clients and friends, click ,this affiliate link to purchase the calendar and enter the code 7b9ca6ed47 at checkout for 10 per cent off the total cost.
*Yes, I do earn a small commission from sales via this link, but I genuinely use and love this resource. It has saved me so much time!