How to craft social copy
When you hear the term copy, what first comes to mind? It may come as no surprise that copy is everything, ingrained in almost everything we do on a day-to-day basis.
You might hear some refer to ‘good’ copy, and harp on about its importance in marketing materials. This is because put simply, good copy sells. It tells the reader a story, pulls on their emotions and inspires them.
Copy is more than just a tool to accompany products, it is a vehicle to evoke action. Brands need to engage audiences with content to drive recall, make a mark and stand out. This can be done by creating succinct, informative and topical copy that speaks to the target audience, steering clear from clickbait tactics and convoluted language, which can leave the reader confused and uninspired.
Over time, copy also allows you to build a brand personality. This clear brand voice provides a sense of authenticity and builds long-lasting relationships with your following, driving brand loyalty.
We’ve pulled together some key tips on how to make copy sing whether you’re writing for your own LinkedIn to stand out in the market, or building a brand on social media.
4 tips for writing better social copy
- Write within length guidelines
In social copy, less is more. Just because the maximum character limit on Twitter is 280, doesn’t mean you have to use every single one of them up. Typically, the ideal character limit for each platform is the amount of text you can get away with without your copy becoming truncated (ie. having to click on ‘see more’). Why go to all the effort of crafting some great copy when your audience might not even see half of it if it’s too long? If you’re stuck on what the ideal character limit is for the platform you’re creating on, a quick google goes a long way.
2. Write for your platform and audience
Each platform has its own unique audience that influences how you should speak to them – for example, your tone should be much more professional and informative on LinkedIn, compared to being conversational and cheeky on Instagram.
Writing for your audience is also important because how you speak to them influences their relationship with your brand. If your key audience is 18–25-year-old males and the tone in your copy is that of an authoritative (and dare I say, boring) old person, the audience won’t respond well to your message. If your copy sounded as if you really were an 18–25-year-old then the messaging would generally be received much better.
3. Be topical
Social media never stays still. It ebbs and flows, which is why your subject matter and copy need to move along with it.
One trick to sounding relevant but being prepared is starting by planning content around the reoccurring ‘International X Day’s relevant to your brand. Here you can pre-plan and join the conversation.
Another way of being topical is to always have your radar up on what people are saying. There are a range of social tools that enable you to look at the conversations happening online so you can jump in before the moment is gone. Twitter’s trending feed or looking at hashtags are other great ways to do this.
4. Maintain a consistent tone of voice
Your audience’s relationship with your brand is built on trust – trust that your brand is what you say it is. If you’re a new-age tech start-up and you want to differentiate yourself from the big and serious players in tech, then having a light-hearted and even cheeky tone of voice can work in your favour. The key is maintaining that tone of voice over time. If you’re posting memes in one post and then in the next, you’re having a serious discussion about regulation then that will only confuse your readers.
And that’s it. There’s no one way to write good social copy – but practice does make perfect. The more you write for different platforms and audiences, the better you’ll be – so get writing!
Three trends to watch on social media
There are few things evolving and changing as fast as social media. We take a look at three trends it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Social community driving Social commerce
Pre pandemic, social commerce was simply a new opportunity only being tested out by some of the biggest and most innovative retail companies.
But as we plunged into lockdowns, shopping online and on social quickly became a way of life. In Australia alone, we saw a 700% increase in social media shopping, with social media platforms becoming the most important platform for brand discovery.
According to one publisher, Instagram and Snapchat are taking the lead in generating sales from Gen Z, as they are spending 2x more shopping on social channels than an average consumer. Gen X, on the other hand, is inclined to Facebook.
As a result we have seen some new and exciting shopping tools emerge including Livestream shopping, Instagram Drops and Tiktok Shopping.
For brands and companies, the key to nailing this trend is identifying the functions and tools available on the platforms on which you operate. Experiment and learn what works best for your audience and what they are most receptive to in order to create a seamless online shopping experience.
Consumers crave snackable content
Possibly one of the biggest social trends that we will expect to see this year is the desire for short form, “snackable content.”
As social media attention spans continue to shrink and digital fatigue becomes even more prevalent, snackable content is increasingly becoming a more important format for storytelling in digital communications.
By far one of the most important things for brands is learning how to leverage short form video to tell your story. Whether it be TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, Pinterest Idea Pins, or even Google Web Stories, being able to create engaging short-form videos that last between 15 to 60 seconds will be critical to obtaining visibility in the news feeds of almost every social network.
AR and the Metaverse
We couldn’t talk about the biggest trends of the year, without mentioning AR and the Metaverse. 2022 will see the increase of AR used, particularly in the social commerce space, whilst the metaverse will become more concrete as it pushes the boundaries on innovative experiences.
Seamlessly integrated augmented reality is already a part of many social media users’ online experiences; however, we now see AR technology being used more frequently to enhance and bring to life more immersive shopping experiences. From visualising how a pair of sunglasses look through a Snapchat filter, to seeing how an outfit suits a Prada handbag on Instagram, AR is quickly becoming the future of shopping. From Nike to Ikea, Urban Decay and Lancome, these brands are quickly paving the way for the future of the online shopping experience and connecting and engaging earlier with their younger target audience through the use of AR on social media. More info HERE
Facebook –> Meta quickly became one of the biggest memes of 2021, however in 2022, the notion of the Metaverse is going to become more tangible as innovative companies and organisations look for ways to enhance digital experiences. The Metaverse promises to create more realistic and therefore more productive, immersive meetings made possible with 3D virtual reality headsets.
In the consumer space Fortnite has long operated within this digital space, hosting live concerts and experiences which could be enjoyed virtually from the comfort of your home. We are now seeing more traditional retailers are following suit, with Nike, Gucci, Balenciaga and Luis Vuitton exploring commerce within this space.
The biggest things to consider to excel in this space is how AR can be utilised within social commerce and how events and experiences can pivot into this digital world.
How brands can leverage digital communities
When you picture a digital community maybe Sims comes up or some other digital avatar style community where you get to be the sickest, baddest version of yourself.
That’s not what we’re talking about.
Digital communities offer huge opportunities for brands wanting to drive influence through audience segments, perhaps to launch a product, change a perception or drive sales. And they’re not virtual.
Most of us are members of a digital community – if you’re a fan of Peloton you might be one of their 460,000 Official Peloton Facebook group members, if you like surfing you might be part of the 25,000 strong OMBE Surf Hacks movement on Facebook.
These digital communities bring people together with a common interest and have never been more active or more impactful on our daily lives than they are now. And nowhere are these communities being created—and catered to—more than on social media.
They present opportunities for brands to partner with influencers within these already established groups and sometimes quite niche groups, rather than having to establish them from the ground up on their own.
The keys to nailing this are threefold:
- Find the platform your community is most active on and understand how they communicate with one another
- Find the influencers/ambassadors within these communities and identify how you can use their voice and content format to align with your brand message
- BE AUTHENTIC! At the end of the day this is key: consumers respond best to authentic content. Find ambassadors that embody your brands values and have your product or service fit authentically into their everyday life.
Social media in 2022
Over the past couple of weeks, a lot of publishers have started promoting their trends, findings and forecasts for the coming year. Off the back of this, a lot of interesting articles are being published about how people are using social media, and how we can look to capitalise on some trends to get the most out of some channels.
Below are some of the best insights and articles we’ve seen in our travels.
Video remains king
Video definitely killed the radio star and now perhaps the TV star too. A new study conducted by the Consumer Technology Association has found that consumers now spend almost as much time streaming videos on social platforms as they do watching traditional TV. Smart TV shows are getting ahead of this and streaming episodic productions on socials.
For brands it highlights the need to invest in video to reach your audience. And it offers hope for brands that can’t afford big ATL campaigns – smart social video just could do the trick.
More info HERE.
Sound and visual matter on TikTok
TikTok has recently published its findings on how sound and creative influences its user base. Sound or visual alone across social creative has meaning, but when paired together they can create something truly special. Through the combination of both sound and visuals on TikTok, brands cannot just become part of a current trend, but also create a brand new one.
Turn up the volume!
On Facebook, it is usual for 75% of video plays occurring with sound off. As a result, it is has become common practice to build for sound off viewing, utilising call to actions to get users to listen with sound or using subtitles to vocally driven videos. However, on TikTok sound is not only essential, but also expected, with 9 out of 10 users of the platform saying it is essential to the TikTok experience.
On the platform sound can take a series of forms, with one option being music. Music on TikTok is totally unique to any other social media platform, with a variety of music labels using the platform to gain awareness for their artists, and in some cases, those artists entering the Billboard charts off the back of a successful introduction on TikTok.
With 50% of users finding content with music more energising, uplifting and engaging, this trend encourages advertisers to utilise music. In fact, ads that use music experiencing up to 120% more awareness lift than silent ads, it’s hard to see why more brands do not utilise it more.
Another way brands can utilise sound is through brand linkage. A study last year found that ad recall increased by over eight times when distinctive brand sounds are leveraged in ads, when compared to other elements like slogans and logos. One successful example is Singapore Airlines, which created a 30 minute audio suite to simulate the sounds passengers would hear from their services, including lounge music, boarding, fight and landing audio. This has been rolled out across TikTok, where their brand is now heavily associated with any airline focused content that now appears on the channel.
More info HERE
Pinterest Shares New Insights into How Brands Can Enhance Appeal Among Gen Z Consumers
Pinterest is a platform that many brand bypass, however, it does have a lot of potential when used the right way to target the right people. Pinterest’s recent report into Gen Z users (people born after 1997) has brought up some interesting trends as to how they make purchase decisions online and how they use the platform as a whole. For anyone with an upcoming campaign for younger audiences this is a must read.
More info HERE.
Influencer marketing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
For better or worse, the impact of COVID-19 has been felt widely – within our industry, marketing budgets are under scrutiny, campaigns are in limbo and brands are doing their best to navigate through these unprecedented times by pivoting, pausing, or in some case cancelling campaigns altogether.
Among this uncertainty it has become evident that digital marketing is on the increase, as consumers spend more time on devices, get more comfortable buying online and marketers look for efficient ways to move inventory.
It begs the question as to where influencer marketing sits in all of this?
While most of the world has come to a halt, the collective craving for community and authenticity has only increased. Social influencers have become more relatable. Just like the rest of us, they are self-isolating and sharing very personal experiences – directly from their loungerooms to ours. As marketers, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of this.
Influencers doing it well are building stronger, deeper connections with their audiences, making their endorsement more valuable than ever before. For brands, this presents an opportunity to grow their share of voice online and connect with consumers in a more meaningful and impactful way. If done right, the connections made now will last well after the crisis has passed.
However, it is important to consider your approach to messaging with influencers. Sales based campaigns aren’t quite right for now. Consumers are increasingly looking for helpful and hopeful content and seeking out a sense of “community” to help satisfy their longing for personal interactions – be it with friends, family, colleagues and even influencers. They are hungry to know more and eager to find ways to cope. In fact industry research shows 70% of influencers’ audiences are turning to them for guidance during the crisis.
While the basic Do’s and Don’ts of influencer marketing remain, brands do need to navigate through this carefully. Below are a few key considerations marketers need to keep in mind when looking to implement a successful influencer marketing campaign amidst the current environment.
Understand your customer’s mindset
Influencer marketing is about understanding your customer’s mindset – what drives them – and being able to generate a positive message and feeling while delivering content that is unquestionably genuine and not generated purely by self-interest. Timely, purpose-led and empathetic storytelling is key.
Influencers’ reach does not trump relevance and authenticity
You need to re-evaluate your mindset in terms of what metrics are most important to you and what authenticity and relevance means to your brand. Don’t be blinded by the number of followers an influencer has as this doesn’t necessarily translate to authenticity and credibility. First and foremost, you need to foster relationships with influencers who have a natural brand alignment and shared ethics.
Brands need to put a higher focus on social responsibility
While brands are in the business to sell, social responsibility has never been more important than now. Brands are responsible for supplying consumers with content in a moral, conscientious and transparent manner. It’s important you re-think the way your brand would traditionally work with influencers to seed product and messaging, because transparency is critical in times of uncertainty.
Consider your messaging and tone of voice
Don’t be silent or tone deaf through all of this and avoid using language that can be perceived as negative or scary. Instead, provide context to the situation and work with influencers to offer solutions and inspirations – this can really help “humanise” your brand. You can acknowledge the situation at hand by using hashtags like #StaySafe and #StayHomeWith[insertbrand] and stickers that raise awareness, for example Instagram’s “Stay at Home” sticker.
Continue to reassess, always
Just as the Coronavirus situation is evolving rapidly, so should your brand’s influencer strategy, creative and messaging. Don’t be left behind – what was relevant one week ago might not be appropriate today. When engaging influencers, do your due diligence upfront and keep the brief flexible to allow for any necessary amends.
No doubt, the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak will last for a long time. Through this, influencer marketing shouldn’t come to a standstill, but rather, brands should embrace this as an opportunity to harness authentic relationships and connect with consumers through purpose-led content – whether it’s educating or bringing them laughter, joy or inspiration. After all, we are all humans, full of emotions and desire to form meaningful connections, even in times of crisis.
Value, not silence, is where the ‘stay home’ opportunity is for brands on social
Should brands stay quiet on social media during COVID-19? And if not, what should they say? Our Head of Social Shirley Tat weighs in.
“Stay Home” – an instruction from the government turned Instagram sticker turned aggregator of ‘in iso’ Stories. It’s a command that has us very much disconnected from the outside world, but at the same time very much connected within the digital world. We’re on Zoom calls, Teams meetings, Google Hangouts, you name it and our media consumption is reflecting this.
In recent studies, Nielsen predicted a 60 per cent rise in media consumption within the US during COVID-19, while Whatsapp is showing a 40 per cent increase since the early days of the virus and Facebook Messenger has experienced a 50 per cent increase in the last month. Usage on infamous Chinese social media apps Weibo and WeChat has climbed by 37 per cent recently and time spent across the Facebook family (Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp) has significantly increased by a whopping 70 per cent.
Now let’s pause for a second, because you might argue that’s just millennials or something. But, if we consider how much time we all already spend on our devices, it’s a significant increase we can all relate to and in amongst this changing behaviour is the upside for brands.
Despite the challenges COVID-19 presents, many brands are moving from surviving to thriving. We know gyms have closed, but home fitness brands are surging. We know restaurants have closed, but food delivery services are booming. We know in-person events have been cancelled, but live streaming has taken over. What’s the common thread? Social and digital.
Now, more than ever, is the time for brands to build their equity and create demand for when confidence returns. People are indoors, they’re socially distanced with a need to kill time, find solace and stay in touch with their friends and family. Consumers are on the frontline, ready for brands to communicate with them by adding value to their lives. Brands shouldn’t be thinking about whether they should post on social or not, but rather what they should be posting about – this is where the opportunity lies.
Interestingly, a study by Social Bakers showed paid media spend is on the decline as numerous brands are pulling their campaigns. What this tells us indirectly is that there is a clear opportunity for brands to cut through the clutter (and the coined ‘infodemic’ by the WHO) – wisely and cost effectively.
Whether your content is designed to inform, entertain or inspire; keep communicating. Remaining silent is only creating more distance between brands and consumers. Consumers are craving connectivity – be it with friends, family, colleagues, influencers, or brands.
To put simply: our needs have dramatically changed and herein lies the challenge for brands. Rather than spending too much time on sympathy messages, businesses should consider and find new ways to engage consumers through content that demonstrates their brand values and purpose. Essentially, this is what creates meaning for consumers and drives a range of benefits from consideration to conversion.
Often, more than half of the social content pushed out by brands is considered as ‘clutter’. It’s time to throw away the pre-COVID-19 content calendar and start creating valuable content. Here’s a four-step framework that can define what ‘valuable content’ looks like for brands as a ‘TRUE’ model:
Truthful: the content must be accurate and feel authentic, staying true to the brand’s values
Reactive: the content relates and responds to the current situation in a timely manner, earning attention through instant relevance
Utilitarian: the content offers a helpful balance of being informative and practical, providing consumers with a user benefit based on individual needs
Empathic: the content is designed for social – a two-way conversational channel – with a strong focus on showing compassion and being human
With all this said, there’s been no shortage of brands around the world that have been successfully communicating and connecting with their consumers. It has broadened their global awareness, enhanced their reputation and demonstrated their purpose. Amongst a plethora of very generous healthcare donations including newly-innovated ventilators and face masks to big dollar commitments, we’ve seen other creative initiatives such as modern furniture company West Elm offering free virtual backgrounds, Nike empowering people to stay home and remain active, Colgate bringing our community together by keeping everyone smiling, through to iconic logos being changed to remind people about social distancing.
It doesn’t just stop here. Smaller businesses and local brands are also creatively coming up with TRUE content, where chefs are providing in-home cooking meals on IGTV, food brands are sharing easy-to-make recipes, DIY brands are using Stories to provide parents with arts and craft hacks at home, retail in-store experiences are being turned into virtual shopping experiences, fitness brands are offering free in-home workouts on YouTube and much, much more.
Whatever your brand’s purpose and offering is, now is a highly relevant time to keep communicating through social media. Provided your content follows the TRUE model, what you’ll garner are measurable results that are far greater than what you would have achieved by remaining silent.
What the TikTok?
It might be the hottest new social app since Snapchat, but TikTok isn’t new to the social media scene. Launched as Duoyin in China in 2016, TikTok has more than 500 million users today. Our Social Media Manager, Matt Donn shares the history and future of TikTok, along with ways brands can use this popular social media platform.
The Old Duoyin Days
In the late 2010s, no one thought that there was enough space for a new player in social media. From Vine shutting down in 2017, Bebo going bankrupt in 2013 and Google admitting that Google+ was a failure in 2019 – there were signs the world wouldn’t allow another player in.
Then Duoyin started in China in 2016…the app had a basic interface and principle: shooting and sharing 15-second videos. Users were also allowed to use the app’s song library for background music and, as it grew, artists started submitting their songs. It became so huge, so fast that in 2017 the founder, Zhang Yiming, decided to rebrand it app TikTok and go global.
In its first three years, TikTok hit 500 million users and ever since brands have been piling on board to show off their quirky side and speak to Gen Z. But that wasn’t the case at first…
Brands on board
Even though some marketing professionals still feel uneasy about joining TikTok, some well-known global brands are engaging with audiences through the platform, like these guys:
Washington Post: Yep, the paper that broke Watergate and won 47 Pulitzer Prizes joined TikTok in April 2019. Their first post? Zelda, their office pup.The Washington Post uses TikTok to show a fun side to their brand, allowing this storied newspaper to engage with their target audience in a very relatable way. Just check out the newsroom team arguing over The Bachelorette as democratic debates is the #1 trend on Twitter (US).
Michael Kors: This fashion brand built a partnership with the platform, creating a “city catwalk” hashtag challenge, which drove users to do a catwalk wearing Michael Kors apparel. They launched it by partnering with three fashion influencers (with a combined total of 4 million followers) who catwalked at a Michael Kors event. The “city catwalk” challenge generated massive hype, with videos watched over 5 million times and more than 30,000 users posting their own “catwalk” videos.
TikTok down under
TikTok is taking baby steps in Australia – by mid 2019 it had 1.5 million users here, and according to this article, an Australian TikTok user opens the app an average of eight times a day.
Samsung Australia is a brand using the platform well – it created the challenge #SubtlySponsoredPost to take the mickey out of influencers. Launching with a funny music video it asked users to post their own #SubtlySponsoredPost videos on TikTok to win a Samsung Galaxy A70. The users were obliged to use the song created by Aunty Donna (the influencer Samsung used for the video) in their videos as well.
How your brand can use TikTok
Join! As TikTok is still a fairly new app, there is not a structured strategy around it. Experimenting and tinkering is the way to go. If your target audience is predominantly aged between 15 to 25, joining the app and starting to experiment sooner than later is a bright idea.
Be fun and don’t sell! Keep your content fun and lighthearted. Ease off promoting your products, company news, launches or events. Instead, let fans see you having fun. TikTok is a platform that deliberately goes against the principles of traditional advertising. Your audience on TikTok will likely to fall away from your brand if you keep it sales and advertising focused.
Influencers. TikTok influencers in Australia are excited to work on projects as this is a whole new thing for them as well. Definitely find the right influencers to start collaborating.
Ads. We know you still want to sell, so here are the four ad spaces you can use:
Infeed Native Content: Pretty similar to the sponsored content you see between the stories of people you follow on Instagram, it allows users to ‘swipe up to see more’ and direct them to a web page or an app download
Brand Takeovers: This collaboration lets the brand take over TikTok for a day. Brands can create content for landing pages and hashtag challenges
Hashtag Challenges: Promoted hashtags (just like the trending topics on Twitter) allow you to sponsor your hashtag for more users to discover and engage with your content
Branded Lenses: This ad space lets the brand create their 2D/3D filter and masks for photos and videos users can post
Bear in mind that TikTok has targeting features like your typical Facebook and Instagram as well.
It’s always evolving! The introduction of new features for end users and marketing tools for marketing professionals to promote their brands are happening all the time. Considering the fact that TikTok is actively used by 7 per cent of the global population suggests we will keep hearing about it!
If you want to TikTok, come chat!
Lessons from a social laggard
Our self-confessed social media dinosaur and Group Account Director Kathryn Newland shares some lessons for those of us who are also decidedly not digitally native.
It’s beginning to dawn on me that the old adage, “practice what you preach,” is easier said than done.
I say this from the perspective of a fairly seasoned professional who has been advising her clients on all aspects of PR, marketing and communication for some 15-plus years.
In most cases, what I recommend to my clients, I adhere to myself. I think and write in key messages. I know the importance of storytelling and can bring people with me. I believe in the power of personal brands and have been chipping away at my own.
But of late, I have found myself saying one thing, and doing another. And that ‘thing’ is social media.
Don’t get me wrong – I understand social media principles and platforms. I can put together content pillars and plan calendars of activity. On a good day, I can even talk to social media strategy.
However, that’s where it ends. My personal interest in social media is pretty low and my participation even lower. I’d describe myself as a ‘passive observer’ – happy to sit on the sidelines, checking in on other people’s lives, but not necessarily sharing my own.
Which would be fine – in almost any other profession.
In comms though, it’s one thing to know what to do (or say), and another to know how to do it. For me, there’s a disconnect between social media theory and practice – a gap that needs closing if I don’t want to go the way of the dinosaurs, it would seem!
So – how to reconcile what I’m personally interested in with what I need to be professionally accomplished at?
Here, I am taking inspiration from my clients. Time and again, I sit opposite business people who have little to zero interest in social media but are smart enough to know it needs to be incorporated into their marketing plan.
They just need to be convinced of the ‘why’.
And don’t we all? After all, understanding the ‘why’ is the first step in being motivated to do anything. Perhaps my lack of social media engagement simply stems from not really knowing what’s in it for me…
I need to look at this strategically.
If I’m to stay current in a socially-connected world; if I want to market myself and the place I work; and if I want to provide best-possible advice, based on experience – then there’s really only one conclusion.
It’s time to get social! Step one: write blog to be shared on LinkedIn.
Consider this missive of sorts one small step toward shaking-off my laggard ways and embracing change. My first genuine attempt at not just talking the talk but walking the walk.
It’s also a call-to-action to those of you who might be feeling hesitant about dipping your toe into the social media waters…if I can do it, so can you.
And hopefully now, I’ll be able to show you – not just tell you – how.
Kathryn is a self-confessed social media dinosaur and definitely not a digital native. But she is eager to learn and pretty good at old school communication strategy. Look her up for a coffee if you’re craving a face-to-face conversation.
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