The Metigy How to Guide to writing great social channel specific copy and how to get started

21st October 2019

Writing great social copy is a skill, but one most people can manage or even master, with some guidance. It does’nt matter whether you are a novice social marketer or blogger, or even very experienced, there is a lot you can do to improve the impact of your copy.

The key is to have a very clear set of objectives, identifying who your audience really is, where the conversation is taking place, and how to speak to that audience on each specific channel.

There are some specific overarching principles for great marketing copy:

  1. know who your tribe is and how they speak, and speak to them in a style that will ensure they feel you understand them
  2. have a tone of voice and always apply that consistently. If your brand wants to be friendly or fun, then a formal tone is not relevant. If you want to inject authority on a subject, don’t seem irreverent
  3. naturally, always be concise. Cover the essential message, but don’t be verbose
  4. make sure the message offers value. You can’t skim over a meaningless message with clever copy
  5. seek to entertain. If you find copywriting hard, then this may be the most challenging skill, but practice and measure and A/B test your messages until you work out what works. (A/B testing refers to the practice of trying different ways to deliver the same message, and measuring which options works best and replicating that) NB if you are not A/B testing everything, then you are ignoring the opportunity of science as the data will teach even a novice how to get marketing right!
  6. be specific to the channel you are writing for, and I am going to cover that in this guide following
  7. Finally, if you just can’t master it, or you are too busy, then get some help. There is no substitute for good copy and with so many cost-effective ways to get help, there is no excuse. As a suggestion, start with one of the great freelancer sites. Try UpWork, Fiverr or Airtasker.

Let’s get specific for each channel

You may well feel out of your depth when it comes to recognising the strengths and personality of each platform, and therefore what kind of content is going to be most effective for each one.

Just an important note on that issue: some content is good for replication across all channels. Simple updates, special offers, event announcements, customer updates, hot news, all of these are going to follow a specific format, perhaps with a little customisation. Don’t be afraid to save time where you can.

But when it comes to important content, which the bulk of your program should be, then it is time to get specific. Not only so your content makes sense to the audience on that channel, but very often and most importantly, so more people can find it.

We are going to take a look at four different social media channels – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram – and what kind of content works best on each one.


Who uses it?

It makes sense to start where the most people are, so that is why we have chosen to begin with Facebook. Nearly 80% of online adults use Facebook, and also has the highest number of over 65’s using it out of all the channels on our list. If you are targeting an older audience, this is your best bet when it comes to social media. However, whatever the age of your market, we recommend posting initially to Facebook to reach as many people as possible and then re-working your content for the other channels.

What kind of Content?

Facebook provides the opportunity for great variety when it comes to content, including text, photos, videos, polls and more. It is also a great vehicle to promote external content, whether it is a video or a hyperlink to your website. No matter what – quality counts. The Facebook algorithm basically ensures that your content impact is determined by how your audience engages with it. Low engagement means you get penalised with fewer views, which significantly impacts your reach. While high engagement means better reach so even more people will see it. So no matter what, don’t just publish for the sake of being seen, because you won’t be.

What works best?

When people are browsing Facebook, they are in exploratory mode looking for something eye-catching and interesting. Make your content short and snappy, with an image to grab the reader’s attention. Visual content goes down very well on Facebook, over twice as well as text alone. That being said, don’t just post a link with no explanation. Make use of a short caption to let your users know what to expect, and to entice them to click. When using video, be sure to post natively straight to Facebook, rather than share from another source. Facebook prioritises native video views, and it will generally outperform 3x just by posting natively.

Also. don’t be afraid to brand your content. Amongst the busy stream of messages we all consume on Facebook each day, there is value in having your content easily recognisable. That consistency, just like consistency in managing your brand everywhere else, has high long-term value.


Who uses it?

LinkedIn has a very different vibe to Facebook. 29% of all adults online use it, so it is certainly worth utilising as a channel. But is going to be more effective for B2B brands because it is primarily used for business-related purposes, and while it has broadened over time, it still retains a professional, business-related focus.

What kind of Content?

LinkedIn content has a title with a limit of around 100 characters and a body copy limit of circa 400. LinkedIn also lends itself to sharing content that has been posted elsewhere, such as blog posts. This often allows you to reach more people than you can with your personal blog alone, and you should be using it as a channel to promote your brand specific content.

What works best?

Using the perks of sharing existing content on LinkedIn is a great idea. Whereas other websites would limit the content shown, this one allows you to share all the text, images and authors. This way, the articles you are posting on a corporate blog can reach a greater audience, and be delivered with more context.


Who uses it?

Twitter demographics are quite varied and it rates well with different groups, but for different purposes. It rates well with an urban youth audience in the 18-29 yr demographic who use it for staying up to date with pop culture, celebrity news, sports and entertainment. And then there is an older demographic who use it for social context and staying up to date with news cycles. And then there is the technical community and you will find deep detailed discussions occurring across Twitter around highly specific topics in very tight windows during the week and dropping into these conversations using the accepted hashtag can have a very significant impact if your message resonates with the group discussion.

What kind of Content?

Tweets are limited to 280 characters of text. However, you are also able to include polls, images or videos as part of a post. Hashtags (# like this) are common on Twitter and a means by which someone can search for and filter content. There is a whole spectrum of hashtag usage

What works best?

Even though hashtags are a great way to personalise your content and make it available for search, always make sure that your text content outweighs the hash tags considerably. Statistics show that posts with 1 or 2 hashtags have higher engagement than those with more. Because of the short text limit, it is difficult to get a lot of information across on Twitter. However, it can be a good place to gather an audience and then direct them to your other channels, such as Facebook, where they can find more information about your company updates.


Who uses it?

Instagram is used more by females than males, and, similarly to Twitter, the 18-29 demographic is booming. High school and college students use Instagram regularly, and as such, it is a great way for businesses to reach this generation.

What kind of Content?

Like Snapchat, Instagram is all about visual content. Photos or videos make up the largest and most prominent part of each post, but there is also space for a limited amount of text and hashtags. The content on Instagram does not tend to be long, as many people are swiftly browsing for eye-catching images.

What works best?

Stunning visuals are the key element in successful Instagram content. However, it is also important to provide a brief amount of context for your audience too. You are limited to about three lines of copy – the rest will be cut off – so use it well, and include all your important engaging information or calls to action here. You can use the rest of your copy to include hashtags which will allow users to find your content in searches, and don’t be afraid to use a few more than you would for Twitter.

Quality content generates better results

While managing your company’s presence on social media is a little more complex than it would appear, it is certainly possible, even if you don’t have lots of experience with the channels.

A great way to stay motivated is to learn more about each platform, and try different things. Remember that many of the channels will also have the opportunity for paid advertising, allowing you to reach a greater number of people and also tailor the demographics that your post is exposed to. MetigyIQ has w series of paid social guides coming soon to help you get started and then progressively master the complex options.With 23% of all digital ad spend in the US market, now focused on Facebook, you can’t afford to ignore it.

By using several different social media channels in your marketing mix, you can see how the size of your audience compares across them, and tailor your content accordingly. Bringing in new customers is always going to be critical for company growth and profitability, so make sure you are using social media to take your brand forward.

At what point do you know if the content has worked?

The most important engagement occurs in the first hour after posting. This is time, from a data science perspective, that your conversation nodes have formed, or not. Our research and with some incredible data volumes to support that, make it quite clear that viral success is linked to the action of 6-10 key engagements, in the first hour. Key people of influence have engaged with your content and created a conversation node of significant potential, based on their networks.

(I am sure you believe me, but just in case, here is a reference I wrote in 2015 around some very similar research done by the good people at Reddit, that substantiate these results) The Burning Question – what really drove Virality

Look out for our Best Practice guides for each social channel, coming soon. These will take the simple ideas included in this guide, to a whole new level as we examine success on each channel, in much more detail.