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Recent 14 Sep 2022

Writing for Social Media

The Art of Being Brief: Writing for Social Media

by Abby Bland, Junior Copywriter

Listen. There’s some debate about the actual length of human attention spans these days. While we may not be able to agree on the length, we can all agree there’s a lot more competition for our time and attention, especially on the internet.

Social media content is a key part of marketing strategies for most businesses navigating the digital landscape. How can you make sure that those efforts stand out from the crowd?

Two words: word economy

Less is often more when it comes to getting people’s attention. This is particularly true when writing for social media, where being brief leads to bigger returns for your business.

Why does word economy matter when writing for social media?

You have very little time to get someone’s attention when they’re scrolling socials. The visual content is really key for engaging social media posts, which is why having well designed assets or quality photos is important. The copy is really just there to support the visuals and tell the user what to do.

Let’s take Instagram for example. The ideal length of an Instagram post is about 150 characters. Instagram allows for a much longer caption, but anything longer than 150 characters gets cut off and requires a click to read the whole thing.

How long is that? About 21 to 38 words. If you’re following best SEO practices for readability that’s only about 1 to 2 sentences.

That’s not to say you can’t write longer captions, but you still only have those first couple of lines to get them to read the rest.

Word economy creates more engaging social posts

Here’s a silly example:

Word economy means fewer words.

Now, that’s short and to the point. But it lacks clarity. Let’s try again:

Word economy is about using fewer words more effectively.

To be honest, that sentence could still use a little more context. But, hey, it’s already in a long form blog about writing and word economy. (The irony is not lost on me.) 

Ultimately, word economy is about using the fewest words possible without losing your meaning. There can be caveats for your specific brand voice and tone, but for the most part, less will always be more.

How to improve your word economy in social posts

When you’re writing for social media, there are 3 simple things you can do to increase your word economy.

Be direct

For socials, this means front load your content. Grab their attention and have a clear purpose for your post. Are you advertising your specials? Do you want them to RSVP for an event or read a blog? They should know what you’re talking about within those first couple sentences. 

One way to increase directness in your social posts is to focus on one thing. Don’t try to advertise your specials, a blog, and an event all in one post. Break them in separate posts and work smarter not harder. Consistent content is important, so by limiting yourself to one subject per post, you easily create opportunities for more posts.

Use emojis 😃

They’re cute. They make people happy. They increase engagement. What’s not to love? It’s important to note that even if emojis fit your brand, you should use them sparingly, with intention, and also consider whether your audience responds well to them. 

Have a clear call to action

The most important part of any content you put out is your call to action (CTA); it’s why you’re writing for social media in the first place. What are you hoping your audience will do?

Some examples:

  • rsvp for an event
  • book a service
  • read a blog
  • sign up for newsletter
  • learn something
  • leave a comment

Getting engagement on your social media posts directly can be good on its own. People love brands that feel authentic and that aren’t just constantly selling them things. At the end of the day, however, engagement won’t necessarily convert to revenue for your business. It’s all about striking the balance.

One Last Example

To wrap up, let’s consider a hypothetical caption for a social post. 

Non-economical caption (227 characters):

At Our Medspa we love fall because all the leaves are starting to change and the weather is getting cooler. It’s also a great time to start scheduling your laser appointments. Call our office to schedule your appointment today!

Economical caption (117 characters):

With the cooler weather, fall is a great time to schedule your laser appointments. Call the Our Medspa office today! 

The differences:

The first post gives too much information. It’s also repetitive, with 2 variations of “schedule” and “appointment.” The CTA isn’t until the third sentence, which means it’s beyond the 150 character limit and will not be seen immediately.

The second post is only 2 sentences and still provides most of the same information. Leaves changing gets left out because it doesn’t really have to do with why fall is the best time for laser appointments.

Writing for social media is always about driving traffic to your website.

Our owner, Adam, loves to remind companies: you can’t pay the bills in Facebook likes. We tell most of our clients this: social media engagement is hard to measure and rarely converts to actual leads for your business. There are definite pros and cons to using social media as a business, but leads are your source of revenue.

It doesn’t actually benefit platforms like Facebook and Instagram if their users leave their platform to come to your website. So you’re already up against the odds when you’re marketing on social media, on top of trying to navigate each social media platform and their unique algorithms to make sure your content is seen.

Even still, conversion rates are much higher for users who found you through organic search methods like Google than those who found you on social media. The people who actually visit your website, not your social profile, are more likely to actually turn into customers. This is why consistent SEO content is a cornerstone of marketing strategy in the digital world.

This isn’t to say social media is a lost cause, it’s definitely not when a majority of the population is on social media platforms. But it’s important to utilize it well; this means using those posts to drive traffic to your website.

Understanding word economy can help you create more engaging social media posts.

Just like your website, social media is a tool for your business. Learning to use it productively is important and can improve your overall SEO too!

As a bunch of nerds in love with the web, of course, we pay attention to social media strategy. We use it to help our ongoing marketing clients continue to grow their business.

Got questions about how to create more engaging social media posts? Slide into our dms and we’d be happy to help you brainstorm.


About the Author

Abby Bland, Junior Copywriter

A Junior Copywriter, and the Program Director for the Kansas City Poetry Slam, Abby brings unmatched structural and narrative expertise to Lifted Logic's marketing clients. If you've ready content on our site and thought, "oh, that's lovely," chances are she was involved.