twitter 280 characters

Is Twitter Changing Up the Web with 280 Characters?

Twitter is all about brevity. It’s been this way since… well, always.

It’s kind of Twitter’s calling-card.

Pretty soon, all that may be changing.

If this makes you immediately confused, I don’t blame you. Twitter has only ever been about those famed (and infamous) 140-characters – no more, no less. You have to mold your words to this limit, get creative with a succession of tweets, or simply not tweet at all if you can’t be concise.

Now, Twitter wants to experiment with doubling the character limit.

Yes – they want to give 280-character tweets a whirl.

So, what will this mean for the Twitter-verse?

As NPR puts it, “…more words, less wit.”

How Are People Reacting to the Twitter Change-Up Around the Web?

Of course, the Twitter news has been circulating the web.

There are some good points to think about in the scope of the matter.

Twitter Chats Won’t Look the Same

Madalyn Sklar, a top influencer on the platform, recently shared her thoughts on the doubled character limit.

A great point she made is the fact that Twitter’s original limits are what made it so cool. An example she gives is Twitter chats. Often, chats accumulate hundreds of tweets in lightning-quick fashion. They’re fast-moving, but that’s part of the reason they work.

You can easily blip through 140 characters and move on to the next when hundreds of tweets are flying in. Now, imagine trying to sift through tweets in a Twitter chat that are double the length.

All of a sudden, we have a problem, and one of the best parts of Twitter is compromised. Instead of participating in a lightning-round talk, you’ll get bogged down in meandering posts. It will be like you’re in a bloated discussion thread with people posting novels instead of comments.

(…That situation sounds familiar. Facebook, anyone?)

Madalyn addresses that point, too. She says, “Twitter doesn’t need to be another Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram.”

She couldn’t be more on-target. The way it is now, Twitter is unique, and this is one of the reasons lots of people make it their social network of choice.

I personally agree, especially since we at EW have a Twitter chat, #ContentWritingChat. What will that chat look like with 280-character tweets? Probably nothing like it does now, which is concerning.

Our Community at #ContentWritingChat Says “Don’t Do It, Twitter”

We asked the question as an icebreaker in yesterday’s #ContentWritingChat:

Most of the people who answered voted the change down.

contentwritingchat twitter characters

280 Characters = Less Creativity?

I have spent six years molding my writing to Twitter’s limitations.

Guess what? It’s not a roadblock or a hurdle. It’s a creative challenge, and it’s made me a better writer.

You want proof of how the 140-character limit forces you to get to the meat of what you want to say, and say it well? Look at this fantastic example. Somebody took Jack’s initial announcement and cut out all the unnecessary wording:

The result is brilliant (AND it’s 140 characters!). It really showcases how Twitter’s brevity is an asset.

Why Is Twitter Testing the Waters for Longer Tweets?

All this chatter around Twitter’s announcement brings us back to the question of why. Why is Twitter doing this? Haven’t they ever heard the cliché, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”

Nah. As with most other things, this is about money.

According to NPR, Twitter has discovered through research that people tend to tweet more when they have extra space to write. Of course, when people tweet more, the company makes more money.

Meanwhile, Twitter’s stocks have been on a downward slope for quite a while. You do the math. Suddenly, this whole issue seems to be less about improving the user experience, especially since the platform has been ignoring a bigger user plea for quite some time: Let us edit tweets!

Or, as this Twitter user sums it up:

The Other Side: How Are 280 Characters a Good Thing?

Twitter, of course, says that the update is about helping people “more easily express themselves.”

They say that English users regularly run into the problem of trying to “cram” their thoughts into a tweet. The solution is to edit it down rigorously, omit a word that’s important to the overall meaning, or abandon the effort altogether.

Meanwhile, users in other countries like Japan (where they can fit more information in a tweet because of language differences), seem to have it easy-breezy. They type out their thoughts with “room to spare” and no stress.

Twitter also presents this graph, which is supposed to mean something and explain why they’re excited about the change-up:

Apparently, it’s better for more users not to constantly hit the character limit (I think).

The Atlantic has gone on the defensive for the change, too. They say users have gone beyond Twitter’s original boundaries anyway, forcing the platform to shift (for instance, adding the ability to attach pictures to tweets). People have found ways to work around the limitations, too (posting screenshots of longer texts, numbering their tweets, etc.).

Less stress is great, no question. And it’s absolutely true that increasing the 140-character limit will make a lot of users’ lives easier.

(If you’re in this camp – more intrigued than dismayed – you can test the broader limits with this clever workaround.)

Still, my initial objections remain. Twitter is losing a piece of its identity with this change. In the process, it’s inching closer to being like the other social media networks.

For those of us who respect the current character limit for what it is and use it to say what we mean (and mean what we say), it’s not particularly good news.

However, change is always inevitable. We’ll adjust.

We’ll just miss the “character” and flavor the old Twitter limitations gave our posts and conversations.

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brand social media presence

How to Build a Valuable, Strong Social Media Presence For Your Brand that Earns Leads and Return

Social media is your ticket to a broader following, more exposure, and improved online ROI for your brand.

Your content marketing strategy can really get a boost from a strong social presence, in particular.

In fact, BrandWatch calls social media + content marketing “the dynamic duo.”

For example, the more engaged and the bigger your social following, the more readers you can draw in with every new content piece you put out and promote.

That’s exactly what you want from this powerful combo.

You want social media to serve your content marketing, and your content marketing to enhance your social platform.

Of course, for the partnership of social + content to work this way, you have to build up each on their own.

That’s why we’re going to tackle how to build a strong social media presence today on the blog.

Ready? Grab a latte, coffee or tea and join me. Let’s start with the first steps.

how to build a brand social media presence

The First Steps for Scoring on Social: Know Your Audience, Choose Platforms, Set Goals

Ready to get going with a content marketing strategy that includes a strong social presence? Ask yourself key questions and begin with these steps:

1. Go Where Your People Are

“Where does my audience live?” is the first question you should ask yourself when you’re ready to start building up your social media presence.

Of course, to answer it, you have to know your audience. You need to understand who they are, what they do, and where they hang out online. Thus, at this point, you should be relying on your audience personas, or those imaginary human beings who are composites of your target audience.

Here’s a sample persona from Hubspot:persona-template-demographicsBased on what you know about them, which social network(s) do your personas use the most? Go there.

Have you signed up for my FREE course, Turbocharge Your Content Marketing in 5 Days? I teach the basics of persona building in this course.

2. Choose Your Platforms Judiciously

Maybe your personas are social media gurus who have accounts on nearly every channel. In this case, where should you go?

Do you create accounts for your brand on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest? Do you set up an account on that new network that hasn’t gained much traction yet (these come and go, but there’s always one out there)?

The answer is no, you shouldn’t. Instead, ask yourself this question:

“Where can I reach my audience effectively?

If you sign up for every social media account you can, you’ll just spread yourself too thin. Instead, choose a select few, ones where you can have a demonstrable impact on your audience.

According to Inc., quality is better than quantity for social media, especially if you don’t have the funds for a dedicated social media manager. So, stick to one or two platforms, and get the hang of them before you add any more.

Choose platforms that will support the kind of posts you plan on doing, too. For instance, if your posts are going to be image-centric, Instagram could be better for you than Twitter.

Once you figure all this out, go ahead and secure your accounts (using your brand name as your handle) on your chosen platforms.

3. Set Goals to Stand Out

Here’s the final question you need to ask yourself on this quest for social media victory.

How can I stand out above everyone else while reaching them?

For one, plan the content you will post on each platform, and optimize that content for ultimate success.

Don’t just share links to your other content on the web. Create content just for social media, too. Think video, images, interactive content, and more.

Don’t just regurgitate links. Give your followers a little more reason to stay connected to your feed.

Finally, plan that content with a posting calendar, and set goals for yourself. Will you try to add X number of new followers per week? Will you aim for a base level of likes on each post? Will you try to engage with others X times a day?

Planning and setting goals can help push you toward success on social. It’s just that simple.

3 More Tips to Rock It Out on Social Media

So, you’ve got the basics of how to grow your social media presence on lock. Now you may be wondering: How can you go the extra mile?? (like Forrest Gump?)

1. Go Live

Going live means pushing “record” and rolling with it. It’s just you and your audience – no script, no text, just your face and your voice, talking to them.

It sounds scary because it is. I tried it myself for the FIRST time ever recently, and I’ve been in content marketing for six years!

To get myself comfortable, I went ahead and say “yes” to going live two days in a row in the middle of September. Once I got past the nerves of “going live,” I really enjoyed it.

I went live on Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang’s show, Classroom Without Walls, speaking SEO content tactics. She is a social media professor that holds a FB Live every Wednesday at 5 PM.

The NEXT day, I was live on Madalyn Sklar’s awesome #TwitterSmarter afterchat, sharing Twitter strategies to earn more business.

Each appearance racked up over 500 views, and, my Facebook page went from 600-odd page likes to over 800 that week. Wow! It was well worth it.

The fear, of course, is tied to the “live” part of the deal, and it understandably holds many people back.

However, it can be HUGELY valuable for your brand’s reach on social media, because platforms serve live content first – just like I found out!

Look at Facebook, for instance. They know that people are more likely to stop and watch a live video, or watch it longer, so they serve that content to you first. Crazy, right?

To get a taste of the difference between live and standard video posts, think about some stats. On average, people watch Facebook Live videos 3x longer than other types of video. Users also comment on them at a 10x higher rate.

Going live can be a powerful way to build a stronger presence on social media. You just have to work up the nerve to hit “record.”

2. Creatively Engage Your Followers

If you want to boost your presence, another strategy is to creatively engage your followers. Give them opportunities to interact with you and the community you’re targeting.

Here at Express Writers, we went the extra mile on Twitter to engage our followers and created a Twitter chat, #ContentWritingChat.

People have really taken this chat and run with it. I have been shocked at the amount of engagement each of our chats gets! (In a really, really good way.)

Along with running the chat itself, we also post weekly recaps that condense all of the great ideas shared, featuring fantastic community responses to the questions we throw out each week.

contentwritingchat2

Engaging our followers through a Twitter chat has really been fun – for both us and them.

Why not try creatively engaging your own followers with a similar idea?

You could start your own chat around a topic relevant to your brand. You could create your own hashtag and encourage followers to post with it, hold contests and giveaways through your accounts, and more. The only limit is how far your imagination can go.

TDLR; – A “Worth It” Social Presence Requires Elbow Grease

If you want traction on social media, you can’t just post a couple of links once in a while and expect anything good to happen.

Instead, you need to plan, set goals, do your research, and implement it all.

Once you start growing your presence on social, your content promotion and marketing will grow, too. The relationship is symbiotic – content marketing and social media can help each other out, and that’s ideal.

It’s also so, so worth it.

If you’re looking to take your social media presence to the next level, Express Writers can help you rock it out with expertly crafted social media posts and visuals. Get yours right here.

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how to write facebook ads

Your Nutshell Guide on How to Write Facebook Ad Copy

Ads on social media are hot, hot stuff right now.

I think it all started when “organic” reach on social media declined to scarily low ground.

A steep  50% + organic decline in Facebook page reach, identified across a short time span in 2014, was an eyeopener for a lot of marketers (benchmark study from social@Ogilvy):

Ogilvy said in the same study:

“Organic reach of the content brands publish in Facebook is destined to hit zero. It’s only a matter of time.

In 2012, Facebook famously restricted organic reach of content published from brand pages to about 16 percent. In December 2013, another round of changes reduced it even more.

By February 2014, according to a Social@Ogilvy analysis of more than 100 brand pages, organic reach hovered at 6 percent, a decline of 49 percent from peak levels in October. For large pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach hit 2 percent in February.”

That’s rough.

So, what can marketers do?

The answer: pay a small sum and start doing ads on the platform. Facebook ads are, according to Wordstream, one of the most cost-effective advertising platforms. Check out their CPC (cost per click) study. $1.72 is an extremely low advertising cost – but that’s the “average” cost!

And there have been incredible, inspirational success stories from marketers making BIG income using Facebook ads:

And there are tons more stories like these.

critical element to the success of a Facebook ad is the copy in that ad.

Double whammy: it can also be the hardest task on your list.

Writing ad copy is a different animal from writing blogs, articles, or other content.

how to write facebook ad copy

It’s not a predictable, plodding cow. It’s a wily horse.

Meanwhile, Facebook ad copy is like a zebra in a herd of wild horses.

Don’t be fooled. It looks like a horse, but it’s not.

It’s something else, a totally unique task. To learn how to write Facebook ads that work, you have to know how to approach the zebra so you don’t make it shy away. You have to use a strategy separate from what you’d use for other types of ads.

Let’s start with a basic question…

How Important is Ad Copy on Facebook Ads?

Rule of thumb: ad copy is nothing without great visuals. (The same can be said vice versa: you need great ad copy for a great ad visual.)

The proof is in the stats.

Take this oft-cited BuzzSumo finding, for starters: Facebook posts with an image get 2.3 times the engagement as posts without an image.

On Facebook, ads show up in the news feed and look like posts. Ergo, if your ad has no image, not even a placeholder, we have an issue.

facebook_adplacement

The image takes up the most real estate, and has the most impact, in a Facebook ad.

facebookads_format

Facebook Ads Manager has a variety of ad formats to choose from, but note that all of them are image-centric.

Okay… So, What Role Does Ad Copy Play?

You may be wondering why we’re worrying about ad copy at all in the face of the facts.

Here’s why:

The ad copy supports the image. The two play off of each other.

The image is what draws the eye, but the ad copy is what seals the deal for the click.

Facebook says as much on their Ad Copy Cheat Sheet:

facebookadcopycheatsheet_copyandimage

Without the ad copy, your ad will be much more confusing. Users won’t know what to do with it. Users won’t have a reason why they should stop and pay full attention.

With the ad copy, you provide that reason. You provide the essential why. You answer the customer’s dearest question: “How does this benefit me?”

How to Write Facebook Ads, Step-by-Step

Knowing the rules is the first step to complete knowledge.

Picasso, for instance, didn’t begin his foray into abstract art without first intimately knowing the rules of drawing from life.

In the same way, to write great Facebook ads, you have to understand the basic rules first.

Know your limitations, then stretch them with your imaginative, creative, effective copy.

Step #1: Begin with the Image

Before we dig in, we need to qualify something. Steps one and two are interchangeable.

Sometimes, you’ll start with a great image and can pull inspiration for the copy from that. Other times, you start with a great idea. This means you flesh out a catchy concept and find the perfect image afterward.

If you’re beginning with the image, think about three things:

  • Use as little image text as possible, if at all. Facebook only allows text to occupy 20% or less of your image. Images with more text get less exposure. (Check that your image fits this rule with this little tool.)
  • The headline needs to match up with or echo the on-image text (if you’re including any).
  • If you use on-image text, make sure it’s a value proposition, according to SEMrush. In other words, what will viewers get out of the deal? (A discount? A freebie? A better life?)
  • Users will see your image first, your copy second. Make sure your image is relevant to your entire ad message.

Here’s an example of an Amazon ad that uses image text properly:

amazon_ad

Step #2: Move to the Headline

In Facebook Ads Manager, you may notice that you’re presented with one text box to enter your ad copy. Don’t start there, though.

Instead, check the box underneath that says “Add a website URL” to access more options. You’ll see something like this:

facebookads_text

The text box for entering your headline is further down the page. Don’t worry about doing things out of order – you’ll want to create your headline first to give your copy a general direction.

The headline is most likely what a user will see second, after the image. As such, this becomes a huge focus for your copy creation.

Here are some keys for a great headline on a Facebook ad:

  • Make it actionable – It should serve as an underscore to your actual call-to-action. To encourage action tenfold, start with a present-tense verb. I.e. get, do, go, look, save, shop, buy, etc.
  • Think about formulas for great headlines – You probably are aware of the different formulas and power words you can use to craft a great blog headline. The same principles work here, too. Two can’t-fail techniques are to use numbers or ask a question.
  • Keep it short and snappy – Kissmetrics recommends keeping your headlines down to five words or less. (That’s… not a lot of words.) If you’re struggling with this limit, you can give yourself a bit more wiggle-room as long as your message is still clear and concise.

Another tip from the Ad Copy Cheat Sheet.

Step #3: Add Supporting Text (the Body Copy)

Annnnd we’ve returned to that first text box. (“Text” on Facebook is essentially your body copy.)

facebookads_textbox

Since you’re only saying one thing in your Facebook ad, use the body copy to reiterate your headline. That’s right: Echo your headline and image, but say it in a different, compelling way.

Need an example?

Let’s say your headline is “Shop for Groceries the Easy Way” for an online grocery service.

Your aim for the ad is to grow brand awareness. You want to tell people what you do succinctly.

Now what?

Think of the audience you’re targeting. In Facebook Ads, you have to choose this audience before you can get to the ad-writing part.

For instance, are you targeting midwestern moms in their late 30s? Think about the problems your service solves for them. Think about what they have to deal with while grocery shopping – rowdy kids, a long list to get through, not a lot of extra time, tiredness after a long work day, etc.

Boom.

There’s what your copy can address. It answers the question, “Why will this make my life easier?” It focuses on the benefits of using the service, not the features – a proven sales technique.

Here’s the resulting body copy:

“Skip the errand-running hassle. Shop for groceries from the comfort of your home.”

You can have as many as 90 characters in your body copy, but a 40-character limit is regularly touted as best-practice for good results. In general, shoot for short and sweet.

Step #4: Include a Call-to-Action

Always include a call-to-action with your ads. Always.

You need to tell the customer what to do with the information you’re giving them. You have to direct them, let them know where to go from here.

Just make sure your call-to-action is simple and direct. It should also match up with your headline.

For example, if my headline is “Shop for Groceries the Easy Way,” my call-to-action should be “Shop Now.” Too many directives, like if I used “Learn More” as a CTA in addition to “Shop” in my headline, is just confusing.

Facebook gives you the option to include a call-to-action button on your ad. You choose the appropriate text:

facebookads_calltoaction

Definitely include this feature! People love the satisfaction of clicking a good button. Don’t deprive them of that on your ad.

Step #5: Write a Supporting Link Description

Don’t skip this next part in our lesson on how to write Facebook ads.

It’s the ominous box called “News Feed Link Description.”

You may be thinking, “What does that even mean?”

Really, you should think of it as more supporting copy for your ad. Here’s where it shows up when you choose to run news feed ads:

amazon_ad_linkdesc

Think of it as secondary body copy that can lead your viewer to your CTA. As such, you need to use it to keep driving your message home.

For reference, our example ad so far has the headline “Shop for Groceries the Easy Way” with body copy that reads “Skip the errand-running hassle. Shop for groceries from the comfort of your home.”

What else can we say that supports the assertion that this will make life easier for moms in their 30s?

The best strategy is to continue espousing the benefits of your product/service/what-have-you.

The news feed link description line can be up to 200 characters long. But, for accommodating smaller screens, Facebook recommends keeping it to a brief 30 characters. However long you go, that’s valuable extra space to help sell your message.

For instance, we might write, “No need to hop in the car, schlep the kids, or waste gas. Shop from home and get everything you need – fast.”

If we wanted to keep it under 30 characters, we could go with, “Check off your list – fast.”

Step #6: Double-Check the Ad Preview

Nothing is worse than spending eons of time writing a great ad, only to realize you made a stupid error after hitting “publish.”

That’s why the ad preview feature is a lifesaver. You can check that everything is the right size, length, and category. (Like if you accidentally mixed up the “Text” section with the “News Feed Link Description.”)

If you’re blanking on character limits and what section goes where, bookmark or save a handy cheat sheet that breaks everything down at a glance. Facebook provides quick recommendations for image sizes and character limits. Refer to these so your ad looks good no matter where it appears on the site:

facebookads_designrecs

4 Extra Tips for How to Write Facebook Ads with Punch and Pizazz

The general gist of writing ad copy isn’t too hard. Once you know your boundaries, often that can spark more creativity than if you’re working without rules.

So, you get how to write Facebook ads. You’ve got the basics. Now you might want a few extra pieces of wisdom to help take your copy over the top.

1. Know Exactly Who You’re Writing For

We can’t stress this point enough. Once you’ve figured out exactly who you’re writing for, you’re halfway to a fantastic, conversion-generating, wow-worthy, absolute machine of an ad.

Let’s reiterate for good measure: It will make your life 100,000,000,000 times easier to have this specific person in your mind while writing the ad copy.

If you don’t know who they are, stop reading this and start researching.

2. Pretend You’re Writing to One Person in Your Audience

Targeting a specific audience helps keep your writing honed, focused, pointed, and deeply relevant for the reader.

When you pretend you’re speaking to one person, you increase all that. Their concerns, needs, hopes, and wants become immediate. You’re not talking to an auditorium full of people whose faces you can’t see; you’re sitting across from someone and making eye contact.

The difference is huge, and it matters for writing good ad copy.

3. Don’t Be Shy

You’re writing an ad. You have zero time to hedge. You have to say what you mean, and mean what you say.

Your length and space restraints will help you be more to-the-point, but you have to also figure out the best way to say what you need to say.

Don’t provide useless facts, don’t waste time bragging about features, and don’t get too descriptive and lose your audience. Simple and bold is better for memorable ads that stop a mindless scroller in their tracks.

4. Listen to Facebook!

Facebook provides recommendations and guidelines to help you create the best ads possible. It would be foolish to overlook them. Here are a couple more worthy tips from the Ad Copy Cheat Sheet for good measure:

facebookadcopycheatsheet_extras

How to Write Facebook Ads Like a Pro: Done

It’s a lot of information to take in, but, like we said, Facebook ads are in their own category for copywriting. They need a special approach.

Of course, the only way to get good at any task is to get in there and get your hands dirty. Jump onto Facebook Ads Manager and start playing around. Practice your approach for different campaign goals like brand awareness, conversions, or lead generation. You can always test out different ads to see what lands and what flops.

When you write your own Facebook ads, you may even come to relish the unique creative challenge they pose.

Hey, stranger things have happened!

If Facebook ad copy is still giving you grief, don’t despair. Our copywriting experts here at Express Writers can take the reins and make ad magic. See our ad copywriting services here.

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social media posts

A Handy Dandy Guide on How to Write Social Media Posts: Best Practices, Length, & More

Imagine this:

You’re standing at a crossroads.

Facebook is open.

You’re ready to write a social media post for your brand, but you don’t know how to write social media posts strategically.

What do you do?

It’s not as easy as it looks. Writing and posting on social media is a whole different story when you’re a business versus an individual.

You have to know posting practices to get the most out of social: the way you write your posts can affect your authority, reach, and more.

Don’t just compose a post and call it done. You need to conform to best practices to get the most rewards for your efforts. To fit into each social network niche, you have to post in expected ways.

Follow the below formula for creatively (and correctly) posting to each social outlet, and people are more likely to see and discover your posts. Let’s delve in!

a guide to social media posts

How to Write Social Media Posts That Hit the Mark, Every Time

Stick to proven best practices when thinking about how to write social media posts. Stay true to the best structure for each different network. Then, get creative within that post content and use your own ideas, content, and visuals.

Here’s a rundown of best practices on how to write your social posts for each network, from Facebook to Pinterest.

1. How to Write Engaging Facebook Posts

Facebook can be tricky, as lots of different posting techniques work. Here are some general guidelines. Play around with them until you find a method that works for you.

Post Length

In general, shorter posts are better for social media. However, when it comes to Facebook, you can go a little longer with no worries. For twice the engagement, 80 words is a good sweet spot to shoot for, but you can get as lengthy as 120 words.

Best Practices

A good best practice for Facebook is to include a visual with every single post. Even if your post is a text post, add a graphic or photo to increase engagement. Videos are good complements, too.

You can also boost engagement by ending your post with an exclamation mark. Positive sentiments do well for Facebook posts. Similarly, ask your audience a question to get more reader involvement, like comments.

Hashtags

Using hashtags on Facebook is a good way to connect your post to a larger discussion. It may also get more notice if you choose hashtags wisely.

That said, hashtags aren’t huge on Facebook, so limit yourself to one or two. You can create your own brand-related hashtags and use those, as well. For instance, a marketing campaign with its own hashtag is excellent for getting engagement.

 facebook_innocentdrinks

Example: Innocent Drinks

The British juice makers behind Innocent Drinks post stuff that’s short-but-sweet. Yet, it still falls in line with their trademark “innocent” humor.

They keep their average post length pretty short, use photos in every other post, and occasionally use hashtags. Their engagement level on every post speaks for itself.

2. The Best Way to Tweet on Twitter

Twitter is notoriously harder to get right because of its length requirements, but when you do nail it, you can really soar.

Post Length

Twitter only allows you to post up to 140 characters at a time. Obviously, your tweets need to be short and to-the-point. Twitter itself recommends only posting about one topic at a time. You won’t be able to fully address multiple topics.

A good length to shoot for is 120-130 characters. This way, there will be room for your Twitter handle at the end if anyone retweets your post.

Best Practices

If you have more to say than what Twitter allows, include a link to a blog post or article. TinyURL can shorten long web addresses so they don’t hog your writing space.

Another good practice for Twitter posts is including compelling images with your tweets. These types of posts get more engagement than other kinds.

Finally, did you know you can tag up to 10 people in a photo on Twitter? This is great for directing their gaze to your post, but make sure the tag is relevant to both the post and the photo. Tagging somebody as a random grab for attention will not win you any favors.

Hashtags

You don’t have much space in Twitter posts, so use hashtags wisely. This does not, under any circumstances, mean you can hashtag every other word. For example, this type of hashtag usage should make you cringe:

I love #coffee! My #favorite #coffeedrink is a #hazelnutcappuccino from the #localcoffeeshop.

Instead, go for one or two hashtags that are relevant.

Example: Disney/Pixar

Disney/Pixar did a few things right, here. They used one hashtag to participate in a fun holiday, they posted a relevant joke, and they included a playful visual that’s their own content. Win, win, win.

Learn the best practices for creating amazing #socialmedia content via @ExpWriters!Click To Tweet

3. How to Write Instagram Captions That Complement Your Photos

Posting photos on Instagram is one thing, but what about the other half of the equation, the caption? Turns out, a good caption can do a lot of work for your post and get it noticed! Here’s how.

Post Length

On Instagram, your caption length doesn’t matter too much. However, there is a character limit, so you can’t write a novel.
As for what to write, feel free to describe your photo and put it in context. Or, ask your followers questions to increase engagement and encourage comments. In fact, any call-to-action in your Instagram caption is a great idea.

Best Practices

If you like longer captions, hit the “return” key a couple times after each point to make them easier to read. You can also use emojis creatively to break up your caption.

Emojis work great in Instagram posts, as they mesh well with the general lighthearted nature of the platform. You can even use related emojis as hashtags.

Hashtags

You can go wild with hashtags on Instagram – up to 30 are allowed with each post. Add them in a new comment on the post to keep things cleaner.

When using emojis as hashtags, as always, keep it relevant. For instance, a post about Earth Day could include a hashtag with the globe emoji, or a hashtag with a plant or tree emoji. This is the best way to help interested people find your posts, discover your account, and, by extension, discover your brand.

Planning perfection! Get more @BritandCo cuteness via link in bio.

A post shared by Target (@target) on

Example #1: @Target

Target has a super short caption, but they have all the right elements. Their post includes a catchy description, relevant emojis, a tag to a related/featured brand, and a call-to-action.

Example #2: Obvious State

Bookish goods and stationery sellers Obvious State get everything right in this post featuring one of their products. Note how they posted their hashtags in a new comment and kept their caption engaging.

4. How to Write Good LinkedIn Posts

For a business, LinkedIn is a good platform for sharing news and insights from your industry. Here’s how.

Post Length

LinkedIn is a good platform for longer posts. Try posting company updates, new ideas, and insider experiences. Any other enlightening topics about your work will do. Don’t forget to post about company events, either.

Link-sharing related to your business will work well, too. Describe your link and add a few insights of your own. Or, ask your followers a question about a trending topic.

Best Practices

Format your long-form posts like blog posts. Include a headline and subheaders, and generally make sure you organize your ideas so the post is readable. Stay professional and avoid rants or casual posts. For more engagement on your posts, include related images.

Hashtags

LinkedIn posts benefit from 3-5 related hashtags plugged in at the end unobtrusively. This will help you contribute to larger professional conversations as well as get you more notice.

Example: TED Conferences

5. Tips for Posting Original Pins on Pinterest

Yes, there is a formula for writing pin descriptions/captions on Pinterest, too. Follow them for best results!

Post Length

Much like Instagram, the picture is the focus of the post on Pinterest. However, you can boost your post with the right description.

Don’t be afraid to use detail when describing your pin. 150-300 words is a good standard, depending on the pin. Make sure you include relevant keywords in the description. Provide more information about the pin and make users want to click on it to learn more.

Best Practices

When posting for your brand, Pinterest is not the place for internet slang, acronyms, or text-speak. For all descriptions, use correct punctuation and grammar, and keep your tone informational. Strictly avoid salesy language or anything that sounds inauthentic.

Hashtags

Don’t use hashtags. Pinterest doesn’t recommend it, and it’s not a common practice. In fact, pins with hashtags look strange and out of place.

Ancestry.com describes their pins naturally and with minimal fuss.

ancestry

Example: Ancestry.com

Note how the pin description asks the reader an interesting question. Intriguing!

Now that we’ve covered the right formula for writing for various social networks, let’s get into some general do’s and don’ts.

How to Write Social Media Posts: 3 General Best Practices

Keep to these general best practices for writing on social media and you’ll stand head and shoulders above the competition.

1. When in Doubt, Keep It Short

If you’re ever waffling about how long your post should be for Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other platform that allows length, go shorter.

Shorter posts always do better than longer ones in terms of engagement. If your post does get on the long side, include an image to draw in your audience.

2. Be Authentic

Don’t ever be salesy or overly promotional in your social media posts. Quite frankly, nobody wants to listen to your sales pitch. Instead, practice authenticity. Be a real human with opinions, emotions, and ideas.

3. Consider Evergreen Posts

The lifespan of a social media post is brief. You only have a limited amount of time to catch people’s fancy before the post gets lost in the endless scroll.

Try posting content on social that will stand the test of time to combat this. If a post ever misses out on notice for some reason, you can also try posting it again. Try a different time of day, try different hashtags, or reword your description. You’ll quickly find out what lands – and what doesn’t.

What are the three best practices for #socialmedia content? Find out via @ExpWriters!Click To Tweet

Your Social Media Posts Can Be Better

If you’re scratching your head wondering how to write social media posts that stand out, you’re not alone. Social media is one of the hardest avenues to cruise down without speed bumps.

Follow this guide to help you get your outline down, then branch out and find the best way to fill in the blanks.

If you need a cheat sheet, download our Quick Handy Guide on How to Write Social Media Posts below!

how to boost your business on social media

Engage! How to Get Customers and Boost Your Business on Social Media

Social media is the popular kid on today’s marketing block.

For your business, it’s one of the most integral tools at your disposal.

Social media helps get you noticed – and stand out, if you’re creative enough to do your own thing, and mix in a little bit of social media platform knowledge on top of it.

It’s useful for promotion, engagement, and building a following.

The one key benefit social media does better than any other tool, for a business?

It humanizes your brand. It puts a face and a voice to a name. It makes you approachable, relatable, and trustworthy.

However, this is only possible if you’re using social media the right way.

Let’s talk social media & a nutshell guide on boosting your business for more ROI, customers, and action from your time there.

how to boost your business on social media and get customers

A Nutshell Guide to Boosting Your Social Media Presence for More Business & Return

If you want your business to have a voice and a presence, you’ve got to jump into social media and get going. Here’s how.

1. Engage and Be Human

My number one tip for mastering social media is this: engage.

You’re a human being, and your audience wants to see evidence of that. If you don’t personally engage, you’re not providing that evidence.

Of course, you can’t engage without being approachable and friendly. Don’t keep yourself at a distance from your followers. Be real and be human!

This ties in nicely with my next tip…

2. Get Your Hands Dirty

To engage and be human, you have to get in there.

In short: do some work to build that relationship.

Get your hands dirty.

Start conversations yourself. Ask your followers questions, comment on others’ posts, and follow up personally.

A great example of this in action is the Twitter chat we host weekly, Tuesdays at 10 a.m. CST. It’s called #ContentWritingChat and it’s a fantastic way to talk to people about a topic we’re passionate about. Rachel, our Content Specialist/Social Media Manager, even writes weekly recaps on our site about the live chat hour.

It’s a favorite method of mine to nurture a lively, active community around a single social media event. Anybody can join in and give their opinions, advice, or insight.

To get conversations going, start your own Twitter chats surrounding a relevant topic. Engage industry voices as well as customers. The interaction that comes out of it will surprise and delight you.

Search #ContentWritingChat on Twitter, and you’ll see some highlights of our conversations.

From the 7/25 #ContentWritingChat, here’s a top tweet (I love the point Nicole makes – social media CAN get you out of your shell, in a great way!) —

Other ways to engage on social media:

  • Tag people in your posts – Tagging people in your posts is a good way to respond to their content and keep the conversation going. On Twitter, this is how you stay engaged.
  • Don’t forget to log in, yourself – Don’t let a “tool” be YOU. Don’t fall back on your scheduled posts via software, and let that be it. Remember to manually log in to your accounts, check your notifications, and respond to people.
  • Comment – Respond to people through comments, and start conversations through engaging with comments.
Get more customers + boost your business on social media with these tips from @ExpWriters!Click To Tweet

3. Set Goals for Interactions

If you find yourself forgetting to log-in or neglecting your business accounts for social media, start setting goals.

For instance, you might create a simple objective to have at least five interactions on social media each day of the work week. This forces you to pay attention to how you’re engaging and how much. You’ll understand where you need to improve and what you need to do it.

As you get better and more consistent about engaging, you can up your ante. Make your goals harder and keep track of your progress. Pretty soon, you won’t need goals to stay active and interactive on social.

4. Start Talking

It can feel intimidating to jump into social media and put yourself out there. This is especially true if you’re introverted or haven’t done much interacting online.

Don’t worry, though – you just need a place to begin.

To start engaging, you have to start talking. Here are some ideas:

Jump in on Trending Topics

If you want to get in on a larger conversation, post about trends and use hashtags. More importantly, tie together the trends with topics in your industry.

Take a look at how Denny’s used the Kentucky Derby to post and poke a little fun at the trending event at the same time. Plus, they reinforced their main draw: They have really good breakfast and really good pancakes.

Celebrate and Create Events

Along with casual events like Twitter chats, you can also host and celebrate any other event or holiday you like.

For instance, celebrate your business anniversary with a themed post and a coupon code for your online store. Or, honor a noted figure relevant to your industry with a post.

Out of Print did something like this in celebration of Cormac McCarthy’s birthday. They didn’t use the opportunity to self-promote. Instead, they created a graphic quote that appeals to their book-loving audience. It’s an interesting one that invites conversation. Plus, it’s totally shareable:

out of print instagram

For the Best Social Media Conversations, Don’t Overthink It – Just Genuinely Be Yourself, & Be Present

All these social media tactics have one thing in common…

They’re fun.

If you’re not having fun chatting, sharing, and conversing on social media, you’re missing the point.

The point is to build relationships and enjoy interactions.

Be yourself – and be present!

If you don’t interact with a healthy bit of this friendliness and lighthearted attitude, it’s going to be harder for you to build trust. This means you won’t be using social media to its full potential, and that’s a shame.

And, if you don’t show up consistently, you won’t get anything real from it – just like in a real relationship.

In short, don’t overthink social media. If you go at it with the intention of enjoying the interactive elements, you’ll pull your audience in naturally. This means lots of interesting conversations, engagement, and time well spent for your business.

If you need a new playbook for your social media game, Express Writers can help. Check out our social media services that can lay the foundation for better engagement.

fly cta express writers

pinterest seo

Pinterest SEO: How to Optimize Your Content For Pinterest

Today, Pinterest is one of the hottest social platforms out there.

Valued at more than $11 billion, Pinterest is home to more than 75 billion ideas and more than 5% of total referral traffic to websites.

As if that weren’t enough, Pinterest’s recent addition of the “rich pin” feature has made it a powerful purchasing platform, as well.

As it stands now, upwards of 2 million people purchase “rich pin” products daily.

As you can imagine, these things make Pinterest a POWERFUL weapon for e-commerce companies.

While there’s no doubt that Pinterest is a valuable platform on its own, brands that want to use it effectively still need to learn to optimize their content for best results.

Here’s your complete guide.

pinterest seo

Pinterest SEO: Why Optimization on the Pinning Platform Matters

While Pinterest offers huge potential for e-commerce companies, it also features the same challenges as any other social media platform: it’s easy to get lost in the fray.

According to some estimates, Pinterest users create roughly 5 million pins per day.

That’s a massive amount of content, and it’s more than enough to drown out anything that’s not high-quality or relevant.

Even content that is high-quality needs optimization to feature as prominently as possible on the platform. Better Pinterest SEO optimization means more views, more interaction and engagement, and, potentially, more sales.

Pinterest is an intensely visual platform, and it stands out as one of the top social channels for visual material. (Stat below from Shareaholic)

Pinterest is the #2 website referral traffic driver #social platform, coming in only behind Facebook. #statsClick To Tweet

pinterest statistics

As such, brands that know how to optimize their content for Pinterest are in a better position to take advantage of the perks the platform offers, and grow their presence as a result.

How to Optimize Your Blog and Content for Pinterest

Recently, Kissmetrics published a post called “How I Got 1.7 Million Pin Views To My E-Commerce Pinterest Account In 2015.”

The article breaks down how Brian Lang, founder of the Small Business Ideas blog and prominent e-commerce developer, managed to build more than 1 million views and 10,000 followers for his Pinterest account, not to mention ranking in the top two results places for competitive terms.

Intrigued? You should be!

If you want to drive the same results, follow these tips:

1. First, Pin Consistently

Pinning consistently is the basis for all your optimization practices. If you’re not creating consistent content, it’s impossible to optimize it accordingly. And even the best optimization doesn’t count for much if you’re only posting a single pin every three months.

With this in mind, make your first commitment pinning frequently. Not only does this keep your followers engaged, but it provides an optimization boost by upping your long-tail SEO value and views.

While the ideal pinning frequency will depend on your brand and focus, CoSchedule recommends pinning at least 11 times each day, between 2:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. For a healthy mix of original and curated content, 80% of these pins should come directly from your own blog, while 20% should be outside content from third-party sources.

2. Do Your (Keyword) Research

Keyword research is essential in blogging and digital marketing as a whole, so why not Pinterest? Because people search Pinterest using search terms, optimizing your pins with your target head terms and keyword phrases can help ensure your pins pop up where they’re supposed to.

If you’ve already done some keyword research using a tool like Google Keyword Planner, you have a head start. If not, now is the time to begin. To get an idea of which keywords you should be targeting, type your target keywords into the Pinterest search bar.

The head (broad) term “recipes,” for example, renders several suggested long-tail keywords, such as “recipes for dinner” and “recipes with ground beef.”

Each of these terms is one you could target for increased Pinterest visibility.

keyword search pinterest

You can take your keyword research one step further by visiting the pins that show up for these long-tail phrases. Do the boards they’re associated with have lots of followers? Are the keywords popular enough that you could benefit from making an entire board devoted to them?

Remember that on Pinterest, just as in blogging, it’s smart to cluster your content around “topics rather than terms.” In other words, find a keyword phrase you want to target, and cluster content around topics surrounding it. For example, “recipes with ground beef” becomes “Slow-cooker taco meat,” “How to drain ground beef the right way,” and “Ground beef meatloaf with balsamic glaze.”

3. Create Separate Images for Each Blog

If you’re writing blog content, you can optimize it for Pinterest quickly and easily by creating separate images for each post. We do this here at Express Writers. Each blog we upload to our Pinterest profile features a unique image that meets the requirements of the social platform.

Because Pinterest is a highly visual tool, this is non-negotiable. Original and unique images catch more attention and help Pinterest users make a visual distinction between your content and everyone else’s.

If you’re going to create custom images, though, you’ll want to be sure they adhere to size and formatting standards.

According to Canva, the ideal size for a Pinterest graphic is 735PX wide and 1102PX high:

best size for pinterest

Stick to this size for best presentation.

Remember that any custom image you create is just another opportunity for branding. With this in mind, incorporate your company’s color scheme, typeface, and voice to ensure your graphics have your brand written all over them.

4. Target Seasonal Trends

Pinterest is a go-to for seasonal events, costumes, and ideas, and brands in virtually all industries can take advantage of this. Instead of overlooking holidays like Halloween and Christmas, use them to your advantage.

Around these big days, create some seasonal content on your blog and prepare it for Pinterest. Include a fun, seasonal graphic and target holiday-specific keywords, like “Halloween candy recipes” or “Kid’s Easter outfits.”

Brian Lang notes that none of his competition thought to target seasonal trends, which was one of the major factors that allowed him to soar to Pinterest fame.

5. Allow Search Engines to Discover Your Boards

If your boards aren’t visible to search engines, you’re doing yourself a major disservice. Without this little functionality working on your behalf, you can optimize until you’re blue in the face and it still won’t matter. To check whether your boards are discoverable, follow these tips:

  • Head to Account Settings. Click the “profile” icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, and then the “settings” icon, which looks like a metal nut.
  • Scroll Down to “Search Privacy.” You’ll see a bar that looks like the one below. Be sure the slider is turned to “off.”

Secret board screenshot

  • Check Your Individual Boards. You can also check that your individual boards aren’t hidden from search engines by opening the board, clicking the “Edit” icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, and making sure the slider isn’t turned to “Secret,” as pictured below.

Search Privacy PInterest

If you’ve had your boards hidden from search engines, be aware that it may take several weeks for them to start appearing in major SERPs.

6. Make Your Pinterest Account a Business Account

To optimize your pins and boards as much as possible, switch to a Pinterest for Business account. Introduced recently and designed to cater to the needs of e-commerce sites and small business owners, Business Pinterest accounts offer a few key differences from your standard account.

For one, they make analytics and visitation trends easier to view and verify. You also get access to the site’s rich pin feature, which allows customers to purchase a product directly through a pin and is indispensable for e-commerce sites.

Pinterest for Business accounts are free, easy to set up, and easy to use. What’s not to love?

7. Optimize Your Pinterest Name

Instead of going for a kitschy handle when you set up your Pinterest account, use your full business name. Include this business name in your Pinterest URL and throughout your profile, as well. If your company name is long, shorten it a bit. According to Wishpond, the optimal length of a Pinterest username is between 3-15 characters.

Just keep in mind that, if you intend to shorten your username, you’ll want to ensure it’s still easy for your customers to recognize.

8. Incorporate Keywords in Your “About” Page

You’ve done your keyword research and included target phrases in the names of your pins. Now it’s time to take it one step further by adding relevant keywords to your “About” page, as well.

Check out how intimates company ThirdLove has done this on their Pinterest page:

ThirdLove Screenshot

Keep in mind that you don’t have much room in your “About” section, and it’s best to keep it short and sweet, so any keywords you include should blend naturally with your content and provide value to your readers, rather than making your blurb feel unauthentic and plastic.

9. Write Good Descriptions

If you want to optimize your Pinterest presence, don’t skimp on your pins’ descriptions. While many people leave the default description intact on Pins they re-post, it’s essential to add your personal touch (and keywords) to this content.

As such, take the time to write a unique description that adds value to the pin. Tell the user why it matters or how it will help them. When you pin your original content, provide a short blurb about what people can expect to learn from it and how it will improve or enhance their lives.

Be sure to include relevant keywords in each pin description you write, as this will help your pins appear in search results and feature more prominently online.

The Case for Smart Pinterest Optimization

Today, Pinterest is rapidly rising to the top of the social media pyramid. Thanks in large part to its highly visual platform and simplicity, Pinterest has exploded well outside the boundaries of recipes and kid crafts.

Today, companies from General Electric to I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Use the platform, and many small businesses and e-commerce sites have found it indispensable for the success of their operations.

Just because Pinterest has millions of monthly users and a high conversion rate, though, doesn’t mean it’s brainless.

If you want to succeed on the platform, you have to learn to optimize your content accordingly. Not only does this make your material more visible for customers, but it also gives you the tools and experience you need to build a productive Pinterest presence that lasts for years to come, and helps your business grow all the time.

While many marketers believe optimizing their Pinterest presence will be difficult, these eight tips go to show just how simple and intentional it really is. By doing smart things like conducting keyword research, posting frequently, creating original images for each blog, making boards discoverable in the search engines, and adding keywords to your Pinterest name and About section, you can ensure that every blog you post offers the maximum value for your customer, and the maximum visibility for you.

 

Get a completely managed social media plan from our copywriters and social media experts at Express Writers (includes Pinterest as an available platform). Original, high-quality written social posts and custom imagery included in the cost!

social media posts creation

10 Key Ways to Craft Engaging, Fun Social Media Posts for Your Brand (With Examples)

When it comes to social media posts, from writing to visuals and publishing, every brand wants to create the content that fans want to follow.

This is far easier said than done, though.

To be a truly “likable” brand, a company needs to master the art of social media content creation.

Think, for a moment, about why you would follow a brand on social media. Maybe it’s because you are interested in the industry that they post within, know and personally like them, or you just found them and simply fell in love with the fun, unique content they were posting on social media.

Either way, social media follows are typically about a desire for content – and that follow means you have an active fan or reader that will come back for more, so consistency is key.

creating social media posts

How to Write Engaging, Fun Social Media Posts for Your Brand (Consistently): 10 Key Ways & Examples

Fans don’t want to follow brands that post dry, boring content and, in light of that, it’s wise for brands to put in the work that it takes to learn to create fun and engaging social media posts.

Here are a few key tips I’ve put together to get you inspired, thinking, and started out on the right foot.

1. Be real about your industry, add tasteful humor

One of the best ways to create engaging social media content is to be real.

The fact of the matter is that most brands, regardless of which industry they work in, deal with something that is taboo, awkward, confusing, or just plain funny on a daily basis.

What better way to make a great social media post than to capitalize upon those things?

For example: Charmin, a toilet paper company, wins on social media – especially Twitter. They’re simply real about who they are, what they do, and bring in a lot of humor consistently about it.

They have a consistent Twitter column #CharminAsks that sparks humor:

And, one thing I love is that they even engage back with their punny fans:

By posting lighthearted content that makes their fans laugh, Charmin earns many more follows, re-tweets, and favorites than you might imagine a toilet tissue company would.

2. Use color to stay consistent with your brand

Take a moment to consider brands that have tied color into their branding schemes:

  • Coca-Cola, red
  • Evernote, green
  • The Honest Company, bright blue
  • Content Marketing Institute, orange

…To name a few. These brands have figured something out that the rest of us can do well to learn from. Namely, that using a trademark color scheme across social media can be a fantastic way to draw more attention to your posts and earn more readers.

cmi twitter

Because social media is a very fast-paced world, people using on social media platforms are often scanning through their newsfeeds quickly.

This means that anything that isn’t immediately different, eye-catching, or unique is likely to get skimmed past. To save your content from meeting this fate, brand your company with a trademark color scheme and use it in your social media posts. In addition to making your brand’s content more immediately recognizable, this will also go a long way toward making readers slow down and interact with your social media posts.

3. You can be promotional if you’re also being helpful, generous, and authentic

In order to create the best possible social media content, brands can enhance their reader ship by being generous with information. And here’s the secret: you CAN blend that with a mention of you and your products, provided you don’t oversell and stay helpful during the mention.

Fans come to your page hoping to find something to engage with and when you hit the nail on the head and address a problem they can relate to or a struggle that everyone has, you’re likely to earn a spot on their social media short list.

Think of it this way: each time you interact on social media, you’re provoking some reaction from your readers – be it interest, laughter, or curiosity.

This means that all of your social media posts should be aimed at creating a helpful, generous, and funny presence as often as possible. Look at how Poopourri blends a mention of their product with a fun Halloween costume idea:

While you don’t have to solve all of your readers’ problems, a few social media quips that show them you relate to their lives will go a long way toward making them want to engage with the rest of your content.

4. Spark curiosity in your social audience

Any good marketer knows that the headline of an article is the most important part. While 80% of people read headlines, only 20% read body copy, which means that a great headline can go a long way toward earning you more traffic, and more engagement.

To make your social media posts more fun, consider toying with your headlines a bit. Instead of writing a dry, information-only few words, consider playing with headlines that will provoke your readers’ curiosity or make them laugh.

For a great example, consider Innocent Drinks, a smoothie brand whose social media is decidedly not focused on smoothies.

While nobody is advocating making your headlines and short tweet body all about laugh-grabs, it’s clear that incorporating funny, attention-commanding headlines and photos into your social media strategy is a fantastic way to boost your readership and engagement.

For some additional help crafting great headlines, check out these headline analyzer tools and generators:

5. Include custom visuals

It’s a well-known fact that including visuals in social media posts is a fantastic way to draw more engagement and promote more social sharing (including visuals in social media posts increases a reader’s willingness to read by 80%), but what if you took it a step beyond stock photos? By creating custom visuals for your posts, you not only provide readers with value that they can only find from your company, but you also create a solid piece of marketing material that is likely to get passed around the web, spreading the word about your brand.

To get started with custom visuals, consider creating an infographic with the help of a designer or using a service like Canva to create unique images for your posts. Read our SME’s guide on how to use Canva.

Keep in mind that any image you create should match the tone and topic of your post – informational images for informational posts and funny images for attention-grabbing headlines, for example – and that each visual should also be relevant to your audience.

6. Ask for reader response

If you want to reach the ultimate in fun, engaging social media posts, look no further than conversation starters. Everything from caption contests to calls for user-generated photos, videos, or artwork can be a fantastic way to start a conversation and get your social media page popping.

Consider Happy Family as a great example and how incorporate user-generated content on their social media account:

happy family facebook

7. Shout out to readers

If you’re playing your cards right, chances are you have some faithful social media followers that read virtually everything you post. In light of this, one of the best ways to make your content more fun and engaging is to ensure that the people talking about and responding to your brand know that you notice.

On most social networks, it’s easy to respond directly to a comment (Facebook, for instance) or to simply “@” someone (Twitter) to make it known you’re talking directly to them.

This is an effective way to not only enhance the interaction with that specific user but also to encourage other users to reach out as well, which they’re more likely to do if they see you responding to other users.

Plus, the level of customer-brand interaction has increased markedly over the last few years, so it’s a good time to make this move.

SproutSocial recently found that the number of private messages sent from customers to brands on social media increased 110% between 2014 and the end of 2015.

8. Encourage your team to participate

For the most engaging social media posts possible, consider switching up your posters a bit. If you have a team in departments like sales, marketing, or customer service, give them a chance at the wheel for a post or two a week. In addition to the fact that your customers will likely love hearing from these seldom-aired sectors of your company, it’ll also help make your team feel more cohesive and engaged, which is good for everyone!

My team and I live tweet from our Twitter, @ExpWriters, when we’re at events. This October, I tweeted while at #SEJSummit, tagging all of our team present with me on Twitter:

On other days, Rachel, our social media manager, tweets from our brand Twitter account.

9. Tell a story, consistently

For a great series of social media posts, consider breaking your content up into a serialized narrative. This gives your readers something to look forward to on a daily or weekly basis and creates a fun and anticipatory environment.

JetBlue has done this beautifully in their social media profiles. Check out their Twitter, and here’s a sample tweet:


Just remember to be consistent with your social media presence. If you start telling great stories then suddenly stop posting, your readers will think you’ve dropped off the face of the earth and no one will want to check back.

10. Don’t be afraid to be creative with your content!

No two brands are exactly alike and what is going to resonate with your customers is different that what is going to resonate with someone else’s customers. In light of this, it’s important to be creative and playful when it comes to your social media posts.

Depending upon what industry you work in and who your target audience is, you may need to experiment a bit in order to find the perfect social media outline for you.

Have Fun, Interact, and Be Social – Consistently

When used correctly, social media, from writing to publishing, can be a powerful tool for companies in all industries. Whether you choose to interact on Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, Instagram or a combination of any of these platforms and others, fun social media posts are some of the best ways to get your audiences to engage with your brand and spread the word about your company.

Remember to set a strategy in place and maintain consistency with your social media posts.

 

Need great social media copy and visuals? We can help! Check out our single posts here or total social media management packages here.

social media advertising

Your Guide to Social Advertising Basics: How to Get Traction, Succeed & Gain Attention on Social Media

Krystal is a Social Media Expert at Express Writers.

REALITY CHECK! It’s 2016.

If you have a pulse, you’ll know that door-to-door salesmen aren’t around anymore. We’ve all become proverbial Biff Lomans, haven’t we?

And yet, once we follow our dreams and get our businesses up and running… we realize that the old way of doing things is dead. Whenever I see company reps standing on street corners trying to pitch their newest subscription-based products, I wonder what the turnaround is for that.

Don’t they know?

This is the age of social media! It’s faster and more effective to get your message out with RTs and shares than leaving some poor young man dressed in an apron on the street, hawking down college students. (If I sound bitter, it’s because I am. But I digress.)

I’m online. You’re online. Our dads and cousins and people we knew in elementary school are online, consuming products and services and letting their social circles know about awesome experiences they’ve had with company X, Y, and Z.

It’s the age of social advertising, where your customers are your greatest marketing tool. If you have great, shareable content, and know an effective way of pushing it out, the rest of the work is pretty much done for you.

Of course, if it were as simple as that, I wouldn’t need to write this blog post guide for you. Social media is more than just the sum of its parts — you need to know how to manipulate those parts to your advantage.

That means understanding how each social media platform comes into play when you’re trying to reach a specific audience, whether it means changing your tone for that platform or adding/omitting a platform, depending on who you’re trying to reach.

Think about who uses social media in your life. If you’re a social media professional, chances are you use social media in your personal life.

What do people always say? Oh yeah, some complaint about their mom seeing a post they made on Facebook. And do you know why? Moms are on Facebook! (and dads, too.)

From personal experience, my mom got as far as setting up a Twitter account and stopped there. I’m all about using intuition when it comes to social media advertising, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a frame of understanding about each of the top three social media platforms.

the basics of social advertising

Social Advertising Basics 101: How to Get Business Traction, Succeed & Win on Social Media

Let’s start by looking at how to use my three favorite (and the top hottest) platforms to work with as a social media manager: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Organic, real-people-friendly tips here only!

1. How To Succeed On Twitter

It’s true: Twitter is the cool kids’ table 

In my private social media presence, Twitter definitely feels like the cool kids’ playground table. Indeed, the majority of Twitter users are from urban areas.

It’s where I hang out with celebs, complain to airlines about my 4 hour delay, and lose my geek mind over social media presences like Arby’s as they make nerdy video game references that touch my very heart and soul.

Awesome to see the humans behind the big businesses. (They’re nerds just like me)

Twitter is instant gratification, and instant reach

With the instantaneous nature of gratification and reach in mind, as a marketer, you want to keep some of these same perks in mind when you’re trying to use Twitter to your advantage.

Use Twitter to connect to your industry in a fast and productive way; it’s also an easy way to learn who follows who in what ever niche community you and your business belongs to. Or, you could be playful and engage over businesses and customers in friendly banter. I see it all the time from very well known businesses (especially in the book industry — I’m looking at you and your book banter, Penguin Random House!)

Twitter facilitates fast-paced conversations

But doesn’t Facebook provide the same sort of interaction, you ask? On the contrary! Twitter is like having a conversation, whereas Facebook can sometimes seem more like forum posting. People refer back to Facebook statuses for information and conversation, whereas Twitter is much more fast-paced.

Want to be hot on Twitter? Build your own chat

With Twitter, you can even start your own hashtag chats easily amongst those in the industry, whether it is other companies or customers/fans (or future customers!). Chances are, the followers of the people engaging in your chat are going to take note of those hashtag remarks and may poke their heads into the conversation to see what’s going on. Bam! A new follower of your brand is born.

Join a few chats (we have a list of 25 on Social Media Examiner, and our own #ContentWritingChat hosted by @ExpWriters)—and then consider being a cool brand that starts their own! Want some inspiration? Check out Applebee’s or Corner Bakery Café and see what they’re doing on Twitter—it’s genius.

2. How to Succeed on Facebook

Facebook Image

A TOLKIEN AND A HALF-LIFE REFERENCE IN ONE POST? *joyous hair pulling*

Be about them, not you

Facebook is a different audience and a different culture of communication than Twitter. While Facebook’s user base is largely adults, the volume of user total as a whole is staggering. You want to make use of all of those users out there and be a responsible Facebook poster. That means posting conversationally.

Remember — you want to get your information out there, but you don’t want to sound like a commercial spam bot.

You want to have a conversation with your audience in a singular space, and that’s your status for the day.

Engagement isn’t as high as other platforms

For the most part, businesses don’t respond to comments on their Facebook unless someone has a question or a complaint. It’s a space for customers to engage each other, but I don’t see the same level of interaction with brands on Facebook like I do on Twitter.

3. How to Succeed on Instagram

u ok Tony?

u ok Tony?

The newest member of the Social Marketing Band, Instagram is a great way to reach out to your customers if you’ve got great product to show off.

Good visuals go far

Since Instagram is a visual medium, keeping your wording to a minimum on your images is key. Surely, your company name and the name of the product can go on there, but don’t write an essay on your image and expect it to resonate with people. Show off that sexy Mustang concept car! Entice with photo edits of your cupcakes!

Don’t forget filters

What ever it is you’re selling, show it off to the world with an appropriate filter. Black and white can make things look timeless and classy, but if you’ve got something to show off that’s colorful, it stands to reason that you’ll want a filter that’ll bring those colors out without blinding your audience. It’s also a great way to draw attention to a blog post or an event.

Hashtags are key

And don’t forget your hashtags. Instagram helps you figure out which hashtags will actually be helpful to you by telling you how many posts are tagged with the hashtag that you’re trying to use. That’ll help you clean up your post and not have ten hashtags that are worthless on your Instagram. 30 is the max you can add, and anywhere from 15-20 is a sweet spot. PostPlanner has an awesome list of 25 best hashtags here. 

No One Likes Ads: Staying Grassroots Could Mean A Bigger Win

Folks, you can do anything with money. Even boost your online presence. All of these platforms have ad service that you can buy into to increase your exposure.

My dead-honest opinion of that is in this day and age, no one likes ads.

Doesn’t matter if it’s your mom or a millennial. As soon as people see that *sponsored* footnote on your post, alarms go off.

That’s not to say that using ad services can’t help you reach a community that you think you’re just not getting exposed to, but I firmly believe in the grassroots approach to social advertising.

That’s creating great content, using your platforms smartly, and engaging with the online community. After all, you can’t put the “social” in “social advertising” without being a bit of a social butterfly.

Remember — you’re not on social media JUST to post about yourself.

What’s going on in your neighborhood? Your city? Your industry? Keep people engaged and thankful for your presence by bringing them into YOUR world. For this reason, I think Twitter is my favorite platform. It allows for the greatest possibility of expanding customer loyalty through social advertising and communication.

While I definitely love Facebook because of its exceptional reachability and the ability to format longer posts, I’ve fallen in love with more businesses through Twitter, both as a user and as a professional.

Don’t be afraid to check out the accounts you love and try to emulate their style — if you can pull it off, and if it makes sense for your business. If you’re selling product to an older age bracket, you might not want to reference Caturday or Sephiroth in your social media posts. Always keep your demographic in mind.

And don’t forget, as always… use images when you can! Instagram is obvious when it comes to this rule, but as far as Twitter and Facebook goes, a catchy image will make your status pop off of someone’s timeline and into their eyeballs. I’m sure there’s a more eloquent way of putting that, but I do enjoy getting right to the point.

Conclusion: Don’t Overdo Your Hashtags

Listen, I’ve had a bit of an awakening when it comes to hashtags. I really don’t like them. I think they’re vital on platforms like Instagram, but Twitter’s and Facebook’s algorithms have changed in such a way that they capture key words without actually needing hashtags. I think having more than one or two hashtags ends up looking pretty tacky and outdated these days. But that’s just me.

What do you think? I’d love your feedback on this one! Let me know in the comments.

 

For creatively ingenious social media copy and posting, request our social media experts (ask for our amazing Krystal!) in the Content Shop.

8 recommended twitter chats

A Guide to Twitter Chats: Why They’re a Huge Opportunity, How to Join, & 8 of Our Favorites

Have you ever joined a Twitter chat before? If you haven’t, we’d have to say you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to make connections online.

As a Social Media Specialist for Express Writers, I join a lot of Twitter chats each week. They’re a fantastic way to meet new people and build awareness for our brand.

We also run our own weekly Twitter chat, #ContentWritingChat, which is pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

If you haven’t joined a chat for yourself, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. In fact, we often get people asking us how to join chats, so you may be having the same questions. Because we want to see more of you taking advantage of Twitter chats (and hopefully joining our own), I’ve put together a guide to make it all a little easier.

twitter chats

Why Twitter Chats Are a Huge Opportunity for Your Brand

If you’re not convinced Twitter chats are a social media must, we’re sharing the top reasons why you should join them:

1. They help you make connections.

Twitter chats take the awkwardness out of approaching someone online. They make it perfectly acceptable to tweet a stranger out of the blue. If you’ve ever been afraid to reach out to someone via social media, participating in Twitter chats is a great way to put those worries behind you.

In fact, you’re encouraged to respond to others during chats, which is why it’s so easy to make connections. Think of it like a networking event, except it’s virtual and held over Twitter. The best thing about it is that those connections you make during chats could turn into followers. Those followers can turn into blog readers, which may turn into paying clients and customers if your play your cards right. If you could meet a potential client or customer through a Twitter chat, why wouldn’t you want to join?

2. You get to share your expertise.

Twitter chats are a great place to share your knowledge and provide value to your current audience and others. Focus on being of service when you join Twitter chats. Share your answers to the questions being asked and people will take notice if you provide top-notch advice. Be on the lookout for questions other participants may have and answer them if you can. When you provide value, people will be interested in you and your brand.

3. They’re a great place to learn.

David said it best – Twitter chats are an amazing place to learn!

One of the best compliments we hear all the time about our own chat, #ContentWritingChat, is how valuable it is. Every week we have participants tell us how much they love the chat and that they learn a lot during the hour.

It’s my personal opinion that the best Twitter chats are the ones with a thriving community and that teach you something. When you can walk away from a Twitter chat with at least one new piece of knowledge, I’d say that’s a win.

How to Join a Twitter Chat

Are you ready to join your first Twitter chat, but aren’t sure how? There’s no need to worry. All you have to do is follow these tips and you’ll have a successful first chat.

1. Do a search online for a Twitter chat in your niche.

If you’re using Twitter chats as a way to grow your brand, you want to be strategic about the ones you join. If you join any random chat you come across, you aren’t likely to attract the followers you’re looking for. Instead, do a search online for Twitter chats in your specific niche. Figure out which chats your audience is likely participating in. Julia has a list on Social Media Examiner, and Madalyn Sklar has a great list on her blog. Keep reading for our favorite top 8!

There are a ton of chats out there, so you’re sure to find one for what you do. And if you don’t? Start one yourself!

2. Get acquainted with the host.

Before you join a new chat, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with the host if you aren’t already. Each Twitter chat has a host, whether it’s an individual or a brand. The host is the one who posts the questions and keeps the conversation moving. See what the host is all about by checking out their website, Twitter profile, and even scrolling through tweets from a previous chat. It’ll give you an idea of what the chat will be like.

3. Join in!

Once you’ve chosen the right chat, all you have to do is join in. To do this, log onto Twitter during the time of the chat and search for the chat’s hashtag. Most chats have a set amount of questions that are asked during the hour, but some are a free chat.

To do a great job as a chat participant, keep these four tips in mind:

1.) Label your answers with A1, A2, etc. This rule is pretty standard for all Twitter chats. The reason it’s a good idea to stick with this format is that it helps keep the chats organized. People can easily find your answer to a particular question.

2.) Engage with others. Once you’re in the chat, don’t just post your answers and ignore others. Make an effort to interact with other chat participants. Reply to their answers and share your opinions. You can even ask questions to take the conversation further.

3.) No self-promotion. I’m sure there are some people who won’t agree with this rule, but I think it’s best not to step on the toes of the chat’s host. Don’t self-promote in someone else’s chat. You wouldn’t want someone intruding on your space, would you?

4.) Follow any rules the chat may have. Some chats have set house rules they expect participants to follow. If you join a chat that has rules, please be respectful of them.

For example, we have a few rules for our chat, above.

Now for the fun part…our favorite top Twitter chats!

8 of Our Favorite Twitter Chats

1. #TwitterSmarter, hosted by @MadalynSklar

Every Thursday at 12 PM Central, head over to #TwitterSmarter with Madalyn Sklar. Madalyn was inspired to start her very own Twitter chat because of her podcast with the same name. We’ve been fortunate to have her as a guest on #ContentWritingChat and Write Podcast. Our CEO, Julia McCoy, has also guest hosted #TwitterSmarter! We love this chat because of its thriving community and the fact that each chat is jam-packed with value.

2. #bufferchat, hosted by @buffer

We’re pretty open about our love for Buffer here at Express Writers. It’s a tool we rely on every single day. It should come as no surprise that their Twitter chat is one of our favorites. The topics range from social media, business, and more. You can join the conversation every Wednesday at 11 AM Central.

3. #semrushchat, hosted by @semrush

Do you love to chat SEO, digital marketing, and everything in between? #semrushchat would be perfect for you! You can join our friends at SEMrush every Wednesday at 10 AM Central.

4. #HootChat, hosted by @hootsuite

Are you looking for something to do on Thursday at 2 PM Central? Head over to Twitter for #HootChat! This chat is run by the team behind Hootsuite and they’ve cultivated a lively community that joins each and every week. The chat topics range from social media and business topics, which are always full of value.

5. #SproutChat, hosted by @SproutSocial

SproutSocial is the brand behind the great community that makes up #SproutChat. However, the face of the chat is their Community Outreach Manager, Sarah Nagel, who has even guest hosted #ContentWritingChat. Be sure to check them out every Wednesday at 2 PM Central.

6. #CMWorld, hosted by @CMIContent

If you’re a content marketing expert or want to learn more about it, #CMWorld should be your go-to chat! It takes place every Tuesday at 11 AM Central and always features knowledgeable guests and actionable advice you can put to use for your brand.

7. #ContentChat, hosted by @SFerika

Want another Twitter chat that’s focused on the value of great content? Join Erika Heald for #contentchat on Monday at 2 PM Central. You’re sure to find an awesome crowd for this weekly chat.

8. #Luv4Social, hosted by @Luv4Social

If social media and marketing happen to be your jam, you won’t want to miss #Luv4Social Thursdays at 1 PM Central. The team behind this brand puts together a fun chat every week that always sparks an interesting conversation. Check it out if you want to learn how to step-up your presence on social media.

Join us for #ContentWritingChat Tuesdays at 10 AM CST!

Brian Fanzo #ContentWritingChat graphic

An example of one of our past Twitter chat topics where we had guest expert Brian Fanzo join us!

While you’re adding these amazing chats to your weekly schedule, we have one more you won’t want to miss – our own!

You can join us each and every Tuesday at 10 AM Central for #ContentWritingChat, hosted by our account @ExpWriters. We talk about everything from copywriting to content marketing, SEO, social media, and more. Make sure you join us – we’d love to see you!

Need great copy for your online presence, from blogs to web pages and social media? Visit our Content Shop! 

Image Prathan Chorruangsak / Shutterstock.com