Guest post by Kayleigh Alexandra
Writing as a small business for social media is undoubtedly fun, but there are also a few things that can go wrong with social media copywriting. How many times have you inwardly sighed or rolled your eyes at another brand’s desperate attempt to ‘slay’ on social media and stay relevant? Or seen a brand crash and burn because of an ill-timed tweet or Instagram post?
Words matter — especially on social. Here are some social media writing pitfalls and mistakes that you will want to avoid in order to make a success of your 2020 social media strategy.
1. Being too wordy with your social posts
Lengthy copy can also be good on social, but most social posts could do with an edit to make them shorter and snappier.
The main issue that small businesses have on social media is trying to do too much in one single social post. Before you post something, stop and think whether your post is really coherent enough. (Sage also found that consistency is another issue small business social media creators face — shorter and more focused posts can help you fix that).
- Focus on one idea or value proposition at a time — don’t try to do too many things at once.
- Edit your post to include less passive voice — favor direct action.
- Make the most of emojis — they can help you say more with less.
2. Incorrect hashtag usage on social media networks
Using the wrong hashtag or using hashtags wrong is a common social media fail. Make sure you research the best hashtags to use and make the most of hashtag opportunities. Use them for effect, humor, and in order to connect with your audience and tell a story.
Hashtags are a great vehicle for branding and marketing when used right, but when misused they can really devalue a brand. Bad hashtags can make your posts seem amateurish, and can backfire on vocal social platforms like Instagram and Twitter.
- On Instagram, 11 or more hashtags is a sweet spot — but you can use hashtags in comments rather than in a post in order to make it look better.
- This blog from Shopify has some good tips on how brands can leverage hashtags in Instagram bios — try out one of these hashtag generators recommended by Influencer Marketing Hub.
- On Twitter, limit your hashtag usage — but use them liberally when covering events.
3. Posting too many brand-centric posts
This is a common problem with ecommerce brands and smaller businesses who haven’t had as much time to strategize yet.
Even with a great product, social post after social post about a brand’s product (especially a brand with a smaller inventory) becomes unbearably boring and one-sided.
It’s really hard to find interesting things to say about the same products over and over again.
- Promoting a lifestyle or a cause, not just a product, can help you widen things out and find more interesting themes to post about. Think about what else your audience are going to be interested in.
- Integrating customer stories and posts into your social strategy is one of the easiest ways to lighten up your brand’s social networks. Encourage people to share content and tag your brand.
4. Not thinking strategically enough
Sure, let loose on social from time to time if you feel like it — but social media shouldn’t be a loose canon or an opportunity for management to ‘do what they like’.
Social is answerable to many things — including marketing, content strategy, and employer branding.
You need a coherent social strategy and guidelines — even if you’re just starting out. Social media is easier to outsource and scale if you set things up right from day one.
- Create a loose social media schedule and stick to a consistent routine.
- Spend some time on engagement and community management — it’s called social media for a reason….
5. Trying to be too ‘trendy’ on social
Sometimes it’s just not OK to use words like ‘fleek’ — and trying too hard to be trendy and using inappropriate slang words can make your brand sound desperate and inauthentic. (At worst, you can get accused of cynical appropriation).
Remember, you are writing with purpose and strategic insight. Don’t get caught up in the frenzy of being cool on social (unless you have the brand to back it up).
Witty asides and remarks can work — but be wary of overdoing it. You can always test the waters with a post and see what kind of engagement you’re getting.
- You should be conscious of leaning on overdone formulas that can make your brand seem unoriginal.
- Seasonal formulas and trends can be fun, but don’t get caught up in it all. Think before you click send — is this really something we should be posting?
- Use slang with cautions. A GIF might be a more appropriate than committing to using a term.
Social media writing doesn’t have to be hard and scary — now you know some of the common mistakes to avoid — you can go ahead and create even better content for your small business.
This guest post was by Kayleigh Alexandra of Microstartups.org. Contact Kayleigh at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in writing a guest post for this blog, please email email@example.com.
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