Social media has become one of the keys to success when it comes to a company’s branding strategy. A crucial piece of that puzzle is the perfect social media post. The truth is if your post isn’t “doing the most”, you are not using your social media platforms to their full potential.
How can you expect your campaign and branding to be effective if you are not portraying the brand and message in the right light on a regular and consistent basis? Saying that, social media platforms have become a top priority if you want your company to sell its mission, reach your designated audience, form a connection with customers, and of course sell its products or services.
Staying “top of mind” with your customers and potential clients starts with social media and crafting the perfect post requires the right formula. While there is no silver bullet when it comes to the “perfect” social media post, there are elements to consider every time you put an update out there for your audience. In this article, I will walk you through the essential variables to consider when crafting your social posts.
Social Post Variable #1: Crafting The Message
The first question to ask is, “What kind of post is this?”
Identify if your goal is to:
- Inform or Educate
- Engage or Discuss
- Entice or Attract
- Announce or Invite
- Call to Action or Sell
This allows you to allow visualize the target audience, personas, where they are in the journey and in turn, pinpoint the crux of the post.
Purpose in copywriting is not just why you are writing the post (to inform, make conversions, etc.). There are other important considerations to make. Think about what you want the audience to do with this information and how you are portraying your brand along with its mission in mind. Try this exercise:
WHY: Select your goal from the list above
WHO: Often called a buyer persona, it’s easier to imagine ONE person who fits your audience goals demographically, than an entire swath of people. Write to him or her.
WHAT: Add what you want your audience to DO
HOW: How do you want your brand to be portrayed? (funny, serious, thought provoking)
WHEN: How likely is your desired audience to see this particular post? (early in the AM, late afternoon, middle of the night)
WHERE: What is the best channel for all of the above? Different people use different social media platforms at different times for different reasons. Once you have crystallized the above you can more easily select the correct platform to achieve your goals.
According to The Sprout Social Index, after following a brand on social media, consumers continue to engage in various ways. 91% percent visit the brand’s website or app, 89% will buy from the brand and 85% will recommend the brand to a family or friend. Use these stats to inform your purpose and sell the importance of great social media internally.
Social Post Variable #2: Engaging the Audience
Once you have established purpose in your copywriting, it’s time to start writing. A great way to catch the attention of your audience is by asking them a question.
Ask a Question
According to Zazzle Media, “Using a question at the end of a post increases engagement 15% more than when a question is used at the beginning of a post, and posts which feature ‘would’ encourage the most likes.” In addition, asking a question might persuade the audience to leave a comment or simply stop and think.
There is another, more innate reason to ask questions, particularly from your audience on social media. Human nature seeks out attention. While many informal social circles have their share of lurkers and learners, the very nature of social media is to be, well, social. Whether you are engaging with a group of peers on LinkedIn to sell a professional service, chatting on Twitter in order to share knowledge about your brand, or posting an Instagram story to help humanize your employer brand… professionally or informally, you want to interact with others. When you ask a question, you invite the opinions and thoughts of others. Because they too are on social, they are compelled to share their knowledge and advice.
Use Compelling Language
Power words are another option when you want to engage your audience quickly. Words like supercharge, secret, complete, and essential all convey power. Using them in your social media posts can catch the audience’s attention fast and help your post to stand out amongst the noise on your target’s timeline. Other examples are easy, free, kickstart, unlock, etc. Whatever power words you use, you will be sure to capture the attention of your audience. Check out our free Power Words list.
Call Me By My Name
Singling people out, either via a group (built into many social networks) or individually, is a great way to grab their attention. Whether you identify an influencer or just choose to engage with one of your followers who says something interesting, don’t forget that even B2B brands can have conversations. When you call people out by their title, name, or commonly known slang, you are capturing their attention by letting them know you see them, you value their opinion, and in the 80s ad speak “This Bud’s for You.”
Use Pop Culture and Trending Ideas
At Red Branch Media, we primarily work in the B2B realm, but that doesn’t mean we can’t tap into the cultural zeitgeist in order to draw in our desired audience. In the past year alone, huge B2B brands have written about everything from K-Pop to Squid Game, the Superbowl to politics. Pop culture can really humanize a stuffy brand, or elevate one that may seem more transactional. Proceed with caution using this approach, as many brands want to preserve their carefully crafted message, and jumping on too many bandwagons will dilute your message in the long run. Social listening tools can help you understand what your audience is talking about and listening to.
Chat it Up
Another form of newsjacking that is a bit safer for brands is jumping in on industry or interest-focused chats. While these have waxed and waned in popularity over the years, there are enough mainstay chats around industries, ideas, conferences, and annual events to keep any social media marketer busy. Chats can be a great deal of work to host and participate in, but they have a couple of elements that make them a boon for social media managers. Firstly, they happened during a prescribed time period, making them easier to plan for and schedule. Secondly, they’re around a controlled topic and often publish questions ahead of time. Both of these things make chatting both a fun and a helpful way to grow your listening audience.
Social Post Variable #3: Final Touches and Quality Check
Now it is time to move on to the next variable in your formula, the final touches. The main final touches you should focus on are the character length of your post and unintentional errors. In all social media, but especially B2B social media marketing, the goal is to be above reproach. It’s no shock that people love to correct other people on the internet, but they love to catch brands in mistakes EVEN more. So make sure you are following the rules.
Length of Post Matters
The length of your social media posts matters mostly because you didn’t spend all this time crafting the perfect social media post, only to have it cut off right before you finish. To that end, we say a social media post isn’t perfect if it’s too long. Depending on what social media platform you are posting or scheduling a post for, you need to comply with the character limit:
- Facebook: 63,206 characters max
- Instagram: 2,200 characters max
- LinkedIn: 700 characters max
- Twitter: 280 characters max
If you find yourself struggling to stay within the character limit a great tool is Bit.ly, Bit.ly is a link management tool that allows users to customize and shorten URL links. If you find your post looking like a run-on post, consider breaking up the text and removing any unnecessary “fluff”. Some fun tricks are using & instead of ‘and’ or removing unnecessary, redundant words (see what I did there?)
Another frequent error is making posts entirely too short. If you are simply retweeting all day or posting articles (your own or curated), you are not really adding value for your audience, just noise. The goal of all content used on social is…well, see above, you need a goal. Primarily you want to add value, be seen, and start a conversation. You simply can’t do that as a brand if every post is “Boom!” or “See?”. In addition to being craven attention grabs, they’re a waste of time for you and your audience. In fact, irrelevant content can cost you the followers you have worked so hard to land. The top four reasons consumers will unfollow a brand on social media are poor quality of product or support (49%), poor customer service (49%), irrelevant content (45%), and too many ads (45%).
Unintentional Errors Can Damage the Brand
Did you know you may be unintentionally damaging and “turning off” your audience? Yep, rushing posts and forgetting to check your work may cost you. Not only does it affect your brand image in the minds of the audience, but the audience is also prone to overlook the post. Meaning the potential for post engagement is lost and the potential reach is affected. If you don’t care enough to check, why should your audience?
Slip-ups from time to time are bound to happen, we are all human. But if you want to decrease your chances, consider adding spell check and Grammarly into your process. Grammarly goes beyond your typical spell check, the software is able to pick up on grammar, spelling, style, tone, and words while offering suggestions to improve your copywriting.
Last, always double-check your post.
How does the preview of it look?
Does your URL link work?
Is the image cut off?
Have you included a relevant CTA so the reader knows what to do next?
Is the time and date correct?
Is anything happening right now that would make your post insensitive or ill-timed?
Virtually all social media management platforms have some version control and approval process, but feel free to add your own processes on top of that. Simple tools like a pre-posting checklist, two-step internal approvals, and the formalization of what “client-ready” means are a few we’ve implemented in the Outreach department here at Red Branch Media. Once you have the green light, you are ready to move on to the final variable.Crafting the perfect #SocialMedia post takes the right formula. @BCollinsRBM says you need to include these variables to ensure success: Click To Tweet
Social Post #4: Sell Your Post
The final variable to your formula is selling your post.
Show Don’t Tell
Imagine you are your target persona. You’re scrolling through social media, a veritable sea of words, phrases, and hashtags. What typically catches your eye? Imagery of some kind right?
The post and its message need to be cohesive and a great way to do this is by adding an image or video to the post. The purpose behind the post will help you create or select the proper image or video.
These tools will help you create top-notch imagery:
Need another reason? Here are 6 reasons to add visuals to your posts:
- Articles with images get 94% more total views
- Including a Photo and a video in a press release increases views by over 45%
- 60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results
- In an e-commerce site, 67% of consumers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product
- In an online store, customers think that the quality of a product’s image is more important than product-specific information (63%), a long description (54%), and ratings and reviews (53%)
- Engagement rate on Facebook for photos averages 0.37% where text only is 0.27% (this translates to a 37% higher level of engagement for photos over text)
Add Some Flair
Now we get to the fun part, emojis, and hashtags.
If you want to liven up your post, boost engagement, and catch the audience’s attention, emojis are the way to go. Using emojis can help set the tone for the post, better convey the overall message, and make your brand seem well more human. For a tweet, adding emojis can increase engagement by 25.4%, for a Facebook post, adding emojis can increase the number of likes by 57% and the total number of comments and shares by 33%.
According to HubSpot, these 10 emojis are more likely to increase engagement:
Curious how emojis also affect email marketing? Check out “To Emoji Or Not To Emoji 🤔: Email Edition“ by Red Branch Media’s Anna Naumann.
The rule of thumb for hashtags is approximately 2-3 hashtags per post. Hashtags aid in the search process for the post by signaling that they are a keyword. Hashtags can also be used as a form of branding to promote the company’s products and services. Another consideration is using trending hashtags, this will increase the potential for the post to gain attention and even go viral.
One of my favorite RBM sayings is, “If you don’t tell your audience what to do, they won’t know what to do.” The call to action (CTA) can often be the most powerful part of the post. Here is an incredibly comprehensive list of CTAs from Takanomi with over 60 examples divided conveniently into social media networks.
- Click Now
- Read More
- Learn How
- Dive Deeper
- Buy Now
- Sign Up
- Strictly Limited
- Instant Access
- Get My Invite/Pass/Discount/FREE Resource
- Try It
- And more…
The key is to add context after the CTA. For example, “Learn more about X by…”. The CTA is where you will attach your URL link and tell your audience what you want them to do next.
If you have made it this far, you are on the right track, but now it is time to give credit where it is due by adding @ tags. Adding tags allows you to credit your source or simply engage with them, another way to your potential reach and network. Tags to companies or people help point your audience to more information and hopefully expand your network as well.
Hashtags abound on social media as ways to sort the seemingly endless amount of information out there. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram all offer built-in hashtag insights, but most third-party platforms will help come up with hashtags if you can’t think of any on your own. Check out The Most Popular Instagram Hashtags on the Planet.
You’re Ready to Post
No matter what platform you put your efforts into, social media plays a crucial role in your marketing strategy. It is important to remember that what works for one audience or company may not work for another, they will always need to be tailored. Another thing to consider is that not all social media platforms may be relevant to your brand and necessary to your strategy.
One thing that is for sure is that the world of social media will become a powerhouse of your company’s branding. By adding each of these variables into your social media posts, you will have the perfect formula for crafting meaningful content that’s engaging. Crafting the perfect post takes time and effort, which will not go unnoticed by your audience.
- Social Media Stats
- Power Word List
- Popular Hashtags
- Social Media Cheatsheet
- CTA Examples
- Emoji Ideas
- Email Emojis
- Post Visuals: Why and How
- 70 SocMed Tips
- Audit Your Social Media Presence
B2B social media marketing requires far more work than most people realize. If this all seems overwhelming and not your forte, our Outreach Subject Matter Experts at Red Branch Media can take your social posts to the next level.
A membership with Red Branch Media offers access to all our services for a set monthly cost. Learn more about applying to become a client member here.