I’ve experienced it. You probably have too.
That moment when you publish a killer blog or Instagram post and anxiously wait for your first comment to pop up so that you can actually engage with your audience, but you only hear one thing...crickets.
As much as I wish people would be social on social media (because hello, that’s the point!) we need to remember that most people, including ourselves if we’re honest, go on Instagram to scroll. So before we get disappointed by people not engaging the way we want them to, ask yourself these questions: Are you being social on social media? Are you leaving likes and comments on other people’s posts?
You get out what you put in. While there are definitely ways to tweak your captions to capture your audience’s attention and encourage them to talk to you (which I will show you in just a second), it’s important to spend some time engaging with other accounts too.
As I mentioned, we’re not all wired to be social on social media, which means that we need to produce content that not only makes people stop scrolling, but also trains them to leave genuine comments.
Related: Three ways to maintain a healthy balance with social media
I want to share three social media copy hacks to help you beat the algorithms, get people engaging with you and build more connections.
1. The hook
Using the right words at the beginning of your caption can make your followers stop and read more about what you have to say. Yes, beautiful images are important, but if the first 1-2 sentences of your caption don’t grab their attention and give them a reason to hit “read more”, they’re going to go back to scrolling.
Here are a few ways you can create a strong hook for your captions:
- Identify a specific audience
I learned this tip from Jasmine Star, and I think it’s genius. By identifying a specific group of people you want to attract, it signals to people, aka your followers, that this post is specifically for them and that they SHOULD read it. This specific audience can be based on professions, names, or personalities. It’s a subtle way to capture your audience’s attention without feeling forceful.
A few examples:
Calling all _________(brides/creatives/designers)
Are you _____________(a tired mama/multi-passionate/a risk-taker)?
Attention ________(aspiring virtual assistants/shop owners)
- Ask they-can’t-help-themselves questions
I remember Amy Portifield saying in one of her podcast episodes that people like to give opinions. We like to express ourselves and share our experiences. Therefore, one of the easiest ways for business owners to make more connections and increase engagement is to ask their audience for THEIR opinions – make it about THEM!
When you write captions that make space for your followers to say something, they just can’t help but join the conversation.
A few examples:
What’s your superpower?
What do you wish you knew when you first started a business?
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
- Share a real struggle that other people can relate to
Some of my best performing Instagram posts are the ones where I show vulnerability. Although social media can sometimes feel like a lonely place, I wholeheartedly believe that building real relationships online is still possible and that it is a wonderful thing to do. Showing vulnerability and sharing a personal story makes you more relatable and approachable, and you’re training your audience to do the same and giving them a safe place to do so. However, be mindful about how you share your struggles. We have enough hatred and complaining in the world and we don’t need more negativity on the gram. You can be real and honest, but also kind and loving. Choose your words wisely, friend!
A few examples:
I can’t believe I am admitting this, but ___________
Here’s an unpopular opinion:
I used to think I ______________
2. The Keep It Simple (KIS) principle
I was going to use Michael Scott’s KISS principle (If you know, you know lol), but let’s be nice to each other. Instagram is not the place to introduce a new theory and overwhelm your followers with a sea of information. Keep your social media posts simple and easy to digest. Does this mean you should never teach something new on Instagram? Absolutely not – but break it down into bite size pieces and set certain days of the week to focus on educational content. You want to maintain a healthy balance between different types of content on your social media platform.
Many business owners are hesitant to keep things simple because they are afraid of looking lame or teaching something that seems obvious. But you know what? The reason it seems obvious to you is because you know your stuff, and that’s a good thing! It’s also even more of a sign that you should share it, because you’re the expert. Your social media copy is a great place to give your audience a taste of what you know about certain topics before they commit to reading a longer form of content such as a blog post or joining your email list. People are crazy about getting results quickly, so keeping your content simple and sweet will make your followers feel like they “gain” something from just reading a post with less than 2,200 characters. As a result, they will come back for more.
Pro tip: Use bullet points and get straight to the point. Write like you speak. Don’t overthink too much (yes, I’m speaking to myself too)!
3. Ask intentional questions
One final element of a great social media post is an intentional call-to-action. What action do you want your followers to take? Don’t just say ‘tell me what you think’. Be as specific as possible.
Weak CTA: Tell me what you think in the comments below
Strong CTA: If you’re ready to turn your side hustle to a profitable full time job, head to the link in my bio.
Weak CTA: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Strong CTA: Tell me ONE THING that makes your services and products different from your competitors.
Weak CTA: Do you wanna see more of XYZ?
Strong CRA: Double tap if you want to see more of XYZ.
Well friend, I strongly believe that you can start using any of these tips TODAY to create stronger and more engaging social media copy! If you’re going to spend the time writing and posting on social, why not maximize your efforts to get better results?
My challenge for you today: pick ONE of these tips and use it with the next social media post you write. Be sure to tag me on Insta so I can cheer you on. You got this! Let’s make social media social again!
Check out this post where I give you five copy templates you can simply copy and paste for your next post during this difficult, weird time.