Communicating effectively on social media, and really through any medium is essential for your business.
I mean, we’re talking about your messaging here! So today we are going to talk about 3 ways you can write better social media posts.
This topic has been on my mind for a while now, and I want to show you a few strategies to make sure you are communicating with your fans & followers in a way that capture’s their attention instead of turning them off.
Let’s begin with a little story, shall we? The other day I was writing copy for a client’s social media pages and she was really upset that I was using contractions on her posts.
I laughed to myself and kindly explained that contractions were exactly what she needed to be using if she wanted to connect with her audience in a relatable way.
She couldn’t believe it. ”Contractions? Really? We were taught never to use those! They are so unprofessional!!”
If you need an English class refresher, contractions are two words that are made shorter by using an apostrophe… ”we’re” instead of ”we are” and ”it’s” instead of ”it is.”
I see tons of entrepreneurs that freak out about using relaxed, conversational language in their social media posts and quite frankly, I’m not surprised.
After all, we were taught in school to address our peers in a professional manner and then that conditioning was reinforced when we landed our first “real world’’ job. Am I right?
Well, I’m here to tell you that we all have to switch the script when it comes to communicating effectively on social media. And you know what that means? You gotta throw all the official corporate talk out the window because it won’t work.
Your audience wants to feel like they know you personally.
They want to feel like you guys are best buds.
And more importantly, they won’t be able to understand your message if you talk to them like you would address your boss during a quarterly budget meeting.
Makes sense, right?
So let’s talk about 3 ways you can flip the script and write killer social media posts.
3 Ways To Sound Like Yourself On Social Media
#1 Use contractions.
These cute little words are actually very powerful on social media because they humanize us.
Let me prove my point…
Let’s say I post on Twitter something like, ”I am hosting a social media class this Thursday and you will not want to miss out on it.”
Now let’s add some contractions, ”I’m hosting a social media class this Thursday and you won’t wanna miss out!”
Think about it, without contractions, your copy sounds robotic and synthetic. It’s a bit stale and it’s almost impossible to show off your personality without using them.
See, when it comes to copywriting in the digital sphere, you kind of have to bend a lot of the writing rules you learned in your college English class.
Especially this one!
Avoiding contractions makes sense when you are writing an essay, a cover letter, your resume or any official document, but when you write your social media posts, your emails, your sales pages or any other piece of copy to market to your audience, you have to relax.
But we’re not done yet.
Tip #2: Write like you talk in real life.
Have you heard of the best friend rule? If you are writing any piece of content and you want it to sound like you, give it to your best friend and ask her if it actually sounds like you.
This is probably the one tweak that will make the biggest difference in your social media copy.
Your fans and followers don’t want to feel like they are just fans and followers. They want to feel like they are your friends (like in real life).
So ditch the corporate, robotic, non-authentic talk and just be real (meaning just be YOU).
I know this is sometimes a lot easier said than done, but let me give you a quick example
If you wanted to invite your bestie to your epic party, you wouldn’t pick up the phone and say ”Sofia, we are hosting a party tomorrow night and John Legend is attending. You will not want to miss it.”
No! Of course not. That type of language is stale, boring and cold.
If I talked to my bestie, Aranxa like that she’d give me a look like, “what’s gotten into you, dude?’’
Let’s be honest, in real life you would say something like, ”OMG Sofia, we’re hosting an epic party tomorrow night and John Legend’s coming. Can you believe it? You HAVE to come!
Okay, maybe you wouldn’t exactly use the word “epic’’, but you get the gist. Make sure that your copy is infused with whatever adjectives and adverbs you would normally use to describe real life situations.
Listen beautiful, here’s reality, you have to write like you talk or no one will be able to relate.
Remember, people are hanging out on social media to connect with their friends and family and escape the rigid environments they operate in every single day. So give ‘em what they want…
An intimate relationship with you (or your brand).
Tip #3: Use proper grammar.
Just because social media is supposed to be a relaxed, social environment it doesn’t mean you can forget proofreading your content.
Make sure your posts’ are typo-free and use proper punctuation.
I’m the queen of grammar mistakes, so trust me, it’s a huge struggle even for me.
A great tool that has really helped me improve my grammar is Grammarly. It’s a cool little app that follows you around the web and corrects your grammar on any sites or apps you visit.
It’s actually correcting this blog as I type it up right now (if you see any grammar mistakes, take it up with Grammarly! Haha, JK!).
How To Be Fun + Conversational Without Being Unprofessional
“But Kim people are not going to respect me if I don’t conduct myself a certain way.’’
I totally agree, you do have to show up on social media #likeaboss.
But here’s the thing, being conversational and having a relaxed tone of voice in your copy does not mean you are unprofessional or that you are sending a negative vibe to your fans and followers.
There are plenty of ways where you can send the, “hey, I’m fun and all but I mean business’’ kind of message.
1.The first is to act professional (novel concept, right?)
Just because you get to be conversational and fun doesn’t mean I want you to share personal details that fall into the TMI (too much information) category. I know I don’t have to elaborate on this one because you know exactly what I mean.
2. The second is to take your copy seriously. Don’t skip the punctuation marks or have sloppy grammar.
I’m the queen of grammar mistakes, so trust me, it’s a huge struggle even for me.
3. And third, take your branding seriously.
My mom always says that the most humble of homes can feel like a palace if everything is clean, neat and organized with care.
Your online home needs to feel the same way.
Just because you’re not a big brand with hundreds of employees and millions in the bank doesn’t mean your branding has to suck.
With free graphic design tools like Canva and the beauty of freelancer sites like UpWork, there’s no excuse, baby.
Make your branding a true representation of your fabulous self.
So, let’s recap.
Unless you are marketing your message to scholars, philosophers or academics, skip the big words, ditch the corporate talk and just be… you!
If you are having a hard time sounds like yourself on social media, no worries, I have a free social media class all about creating engaging social media posts the right way.
We’ll talk about time-saving strategies, how to organize your content and the best ways to get more engagement on social.
(Think of it as fun action steps)
Review your lastest 10 social media posts and check for robotic, non-human copy.
Send those 10 posts to your BFF and have him/her give you honest feedback (remember, this still applies if you’re a traditional brand).
Social media tools are spreading like pancakes on the online industry, may it be an app or a software there are helpful to perform wonders for your business.
As I’m writing this blog I have my big ole studio headphones on and I’m trying to dance to Micheal Buble’s Christmas album while I type… which is proving impossible right now (need to calm down here)
So as you can imagine, Christmas is BIG around here. I’ve been driving my husband nuts for the past couple of weeks with non-stop Christmas music and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet…
Speaking of Thanksgiving and being thankful, at least once a week I get a question that goes something like this…
”Kim, I was browsing your website and I just have to ask… what social media tools do you use to create your posts, blogs, and videos?”
So as you can imagine, I get super excited about these types of questions because creating content is what I do for a livin’ and I’m insanely thankful for all the lovely questions you send me.
I thought it was about time I created an updated post of all the tools that I’m using and loving right now to create content on social media, my blog and across the web.
Now, I do want to make one thing clear… Although having the right social media tools doesn’t really mean you’ll get more engagement, knowing how to use them will save you loads of time and set you up for success (as cheesy as that might sound).
It’s a content curation and publishing tool for Facebook and Twitter and I absolutely love it because it helps me find new and fresh ideas for my social media content. In fact, it has an entire Library of pre-populated posts you can sift through and schedule.
It’s not free but for $7/mo, you really can’t get more value.
This is why it’s awesome…
This tool is dope for SO MANY reasons. Not only does it work as a publishing tool for Facebook and Twitter, it also collects data from pages across the platform that are just killing it on Facebook and shows you exactly which posts are the most popular.
PostPlanner also allows you to manually add pages from your competitors or industry leaders so you can ”keep an eye on” their most popular Facebook posts.
As if that is not cool enough, they also have a content library full of post ideas you can ”plug and play” to keep your posts fresh and varied. Simply click on the posts you want to add to your queue and you are all set.
You can also monitor keywords, add blog feed and track hashtags.
Of course, you know Coschedule is one of my social media tools of choice when it comes to creating my content calendar and organizing every piece of content that will be published for my business.
I’ve demoed Coschedule in a video right over here and during the demo/review I go in depth into how I use it to organize and plan my content. So if you are interested, check it out.
This is why it’s awesome…
Coschedule allows you to schedule blog content and it measures how many social media shares each post receives.
This tool is perfect for planning and collaborating on other content pieces with your team and being able to see what is coming down the pipeline across the board. Think blogs, newsletters, social media posts, video blogs and more.
You can integrate apps like Google Drive, Evernote, and Dropbox to pull in documents and repurpose content pieces.
You also get to schedule your social media posts and sync your Twitter queue to Buffer.
I love this combo because it allows me to save a copy of every post I publish on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to Evernote, so I can create my own post Library. This way I can repurpose and reschedule the most popular posts without having to dig through each individual posts in search of my old content.
Once my social queue is empty, I open up my Evernote notebooks and go through my old content to pull the best stuff.
Each note includes the post copy I used, an attachment with the post image (if I included it) and a link to the original post. This way I can simply download the images and copy the post copy.
This is why it’s awesome…
It’s free! Setting up a zap that connects your Evernote account with your social media profiles is pretty simple and you can use up to 5 zaps for free. You can also use a service called IFTTT, but I find Zapier is much more specific in terms of the content I want to be attached to my Evernote.
I don’t have to worry about creating new content all the time.
My assistant can go through and pull new content to repurpose on other platforms.
Everything I post is saved in one, centralized location.
Grammarly has been my saving grace in my social media tools. Why? As I’m sure you already know, English is not my first language and my grammar mistakes were getting a little out of control. So I decided to find a solution and it has saved my life (okay, that’s really dramatic but you get the point)!
This of this app as your personal grammar coach. You can install it on your Chrome browser and it follows you around the web helping you correct every grammar and misspelling mistake you make with just one click. So whether you are responding to your email, writing a blog post or drafting a quick Tweet, Grammarly has you covered.
Grammarly at work on my Facebook page.
This is why it’s awesome…
It’s far superior to any autocorrect program out there + it has an app for Windows you can download to compose your copy directly inside of the app.
It follows you around the web and teaches you what mistake you made and how you can correct it in the future (I’m learning so much by actually writing, that it’s crazy).
It’s free! There’s also a paid version that I’m sure is amazing, but the free plan is a perfect place to start.
Peek Inside My Visuals Toolkit
So let’s get into the apps that can help elevate your visual content game.
Legend App I reach for this cool little iOS app at least once a week. Legend animates text automatically and I use it all the time to create animated quotes like the one below.
My beloved. Canva is a graphic design tool for people with zero graphic design skills (aka me).
So if you haven’t hopped on the fan bandwagon yet, you have to check out Canva. It is one of the most essential social media tools for every small business owner & solopreneur out there.
Plus, it’s free. #AwesomeSauce
This is why it’s awesome
It’s free! There’s a paid version that I highly recommend but if you’re just starting off, the free version is perfect.
Their Design School is incredibly entertaining and you’ll learn so much just by going through their tutorials, so check out those out.
Canva has easy to edit templates you can customize and make your own with a few drags and a couple drops. Plus, you can also upload your own stock images, pick from their free ones or pay $1 for their premium stock photography.
So here are the Facebook engagement tips that are working right now for me.
Tip #1: Use More Video
I recently learned this strategy from the amazing, Chalene Johnson (thanks for the awesome tip, girlfriend) and she calls this strategy ”priming”. It’s exactly what it sounds like.
As you might have noticed, 2015 has been the year of Facebook video. It’s practically a fact that it gets more reach and more engagement inside the newsfeed, so use this strategy to your advantage.
Because video gets more reach and more engagement, you can use it to ”prime” the rest of your content so your Facebook page gets more reach, and as a result, more of your fans see your posts and engage with them.
But here’s the good news, you don’t have to create ALL of those videos yourself. Find videos that already have a lot of reach (think breaking news, funny videos or inspirational content) and share those on your page as well.
You can then follow up that extra boost in reach you are receiving with your own very best video content. Now, here’s the key, your videos have to uploaded directly to Facebook (no YouTube links) so that you get the full effect.
Facebook wants to keep their users inside the platform, so they are favoring videos that are uploaded directly. Makes sense, right? Boom! Try this strategy on your own Facebook page for at least three weeks and let me know how it goes.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ll be reviewing a client’s Facebook strategy only to find Insights is an AFTERTHOUGHT.
Really, guys, really?
Let me ask you this, when was the last time you gave your Facebook Insights a looky look?
I’m going to give you a little bit of tough love here…
How on God’s green Earth do you expect to be successful on a platform if you don’t know what is working (and not working) for you?
Okay, end of mini-rant.
Facebook gives you a wealth of data you can use to take your marketing to the next level, (holla!) so you gotta use it to figure out what type of content is performing the best for you and what posting times get you the most engagement. This way you can do MORE of what’s already working for you (and you can forget the rest).
Tip #3: Engage Back
Doesn’t it feel good when your posts get lots of comments, likes, and shares?
The fans that have engaged with your posts want to feel that you hear them, and more importantly, that you care.
So make sure you always respond to every comment, every message and every share (when possible).
Facebook gives you some great tools to help with this process.
Navigate over to your notifications tabs and you’ll get the chance to filter between likes, comments, shares and other types of engagements, (like mentions) so you never miss out on any type of engagement.
You can also set up an automated response on your Facebook page that lets folks know you’re away from your computer and you’ll be in touch soon. Want to see it action? Send me a message over on my Facebook page and you’ll get my automated message.
Now, typically I’m 100% against automated messages on social media because they seem robotic and fake. But, I’m 100% on board with any tool that helps be shorted my response time and connect with my clients quickly & effectively.
So much so that a few months back when Coschedule rolled out some exciting new features one of my clients literally asked me (very kindly) to shut up about it ( I can’t help it!). Coschedule is one of those tools in my business that I just can’t replace.
Ok, enough about my love affair, let’s get serious here… If you’ve been following the blog lately you might have noticed I’ve been talking a lot about content calendars and that’s definitely because I’ve been getting loads of questions about how I get keep my own content organized.
At least once a week I get an email that says something like: ”Kim, I love your blogs, your emails and your videos but where do you find the time? I wish I could create so much content for my own business.”
To be completely transparent, I know I don’t put out as much content as I could. I struggle with the same consistency issues you do… So this year my team and I decided to do something about it and we gave Coschedule a try.
It’s amazing, to say the least, and I think that after reading this blog post, you’ll think so too.
That’s great for you, Kim, but what’s in it for me?
If you’re reading this I’m willing to bet you’re a busy entrepreneur and you probably don’t have the luxury of spending your entire day pumping out new content (at least I know I don’t).
You know how important being consistent is online – so if you’re doing any type of content marketing you need a tool to keep everything organized and on track.
Now, of course, I’ve written a ton about organizing your content here, here and I even have a free downloadable template here. But this time around I wanted to do something different and give you a chance to look over my shoulder and learn exactly how I organize and schedule my content with Coschedule.
So what is Coschedule and what the heck does it do?
It’s an amazing content calendar tool that does a lot more than simply plan out and schedule your content.
Here’s their sexy demo:
Awesome, right? If you’re still curious, keep reading because I’m about to show you exactly how my team and I use Coschedule to increase our blog engagement and stay consistent.
Back when I was rolling in the corporate world, the company I worked for wanted to design a solid content marketing strategy that integrated both online and offline marketing events. So my team was tasked with finding the perfect content calendar/editorial tool.
We invested hours on end searching for the perfect tool, from Social Bakers to Compendium to Kapost, we demoed dozens and dozens of tools and I can tell you this, they got nothing on Coschedule.
This tool has all the features you would expect from the ”big boy” content calendar tools (that by the way range anywhere from $300-2000 per month), plus, some amazing features I’ve never seen before all for a start-up friendly price.
Now that I have my own business (and a limited budget), Coschedule has been a real lifesaver. My team and I get to see what’s coming down the pipeline and we get to plan our content and promotions way in advance.
The tool allows us to pull in my social media content, my email newsletters, blogs, video shoots, promotions and even my meetings into one place so we can strategize, plan and organize all of it.
Here’s exactly how we use it.
Check Out My Review
Other Cool Features
Adding different content types.
There are so many cool features I love about Coschedule, but one of the big selling points for me is the fact that I can plan, schedule and publish both my social media content and all my blogs seamlessly.
Plan, organize, collaborate & publish your social media content.
Say, I want to schedule my Facebook quotes. I can easily create the copy and assign a task for my assistant so she can take care of the rest. Little things like making sure the right image is showing up when we post a link from the blog on Facebook or correcting the meta description are made super simple when you use this tool.
Queue up the social goodness.
Another feature I obsess about is their social queue, which reminds me to schedule more than one social media post out whenever I release a new blog.
Super-charge your analytics.
Oh, yeah… did I mention they also keep track of your social sharing analytics and you can integrate it with your Buffer and Bitly accounts?
Coschedule also does a fantastic job at integrating with Google Analytics and creating custom social media dashboards so you can accurately track all of your social media traffic onto your website.
Another awesome feature is that I get to assign specific content pieces to myself or my team so we can all collaborate and stay on track.
Integrate bomb tools like Google Docs & Evernote.
If you love Google Docs & Evernote, you can easily integrate both into the platform to make the content creation process even more seamless.
If you upgrade to specific plans, you can even turn your Evernote notebooks into blog posts, which definitely saves lots of time if you are a hardcore Evernote user.
Save your tasks for the next content piece.
If you are into organizing your tasks and delegating part of them like I am, you’ll love Coschedule’s task templates.
This feature allows you to save a list of recurring tasks and assign them to any piece of content. So for example, my team and I have different tasks that need to get done whenever we publish a blog, but there’s a whole nother list of tasks if the blog includes a YoutTube video, for example.
So it definitely saves lots of time to have the task template handy and ready to go. This way everyone knows what needs to get done and tasks get assigned automatically.
So there you have it, my secret weapon to creating awesome content for my business and leveraging the heck out of it.
Go check it out and let me know how it goes.
But now over to you, how to you organize your content calendar? What are some of the victories or challenges you’ve experienced in keeping up with your content creation?
Head over to the comment section below and spill the beans! I’d love to hear more about your world.
If you’re doing online marketing in 2017 and you don’t have a content calendar, you’re probably not capitalizing on your efforts.
So what exactly is a content calendar and why the heck do you even need one?
If you’ve ever wondered what to post on Facebook or ran out of blog topics (‘aint nobody got time for that), you need a content calendar in your life, my friend.
Content calendars help plan, organize and schedule every single piece of content you publish online.
It’s the place where all of your social media posts, your blogs, your newsletters, your videos, podcasts and your graphics strategically come together to grow your business.
So if you’re reading this, I’m willing to bet you don’t have a system in place to organize and repurpose your content just yet.
See, you know all too well that this whole content marketing thing takes time, a lot of it. And if you’re not squeezing your content for all it’s got, you’re missing out on lots of engagement, traffic, and leads.
Imagine being able to (finally) plan in advance every piece of content that will be published online across the board for your business.
Having a bird’s-eye view of your content enables you to anticipate what is coming down the pipeline so you can get really strategic with the content pieces you publish and leverage your content to attract more engagement, more traffic and increase your leads.
That’s what a content calendar can do for your brand.
So let’s get into the whole process of how to create a killer content calendar that actually works.
I learned this strategy from the amazing Laura Roeder and it changed my life.
Creating ”content buckets” (or categories) for your posts can really help you stay focused on your overall strategy but also save you tons of time when you sit down to create your content.
So here’s what you do…
Figure out what your content buckets are first.
They can be for example:
Other people’s stuff
Figuring out what these content buckets are is simple. Go back to your social media posts and pay attention to what has been successful in the past.
Are you getting a lot of engagement when you post behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram? Put ”behind-the-scenes pics” on your content buckets list.
You can also take a look at the highest performing posts from your competitors’ social media posts and get ideas as to what your audience reacts to.
But if you’re just starting out, don’t be afraid to experiment and try new content buckets.
Next, figure out which blog posts topics perform better on your site. You can use tools like Google Analytics and SEOMoz to determine which blog posts get the most amount of traffic and engagement.
BONUS: Use Buzzsumo and Topsy to figure out what specific topics in your niche or industry get shared across the web more frequently.
Have a brainstorming/research session and create a list of 20+ blog topics so when it’s time to sit down and actually write your blogs you don’t have to waste time staring at a blank page and a ticking cursor.
Finally, create & schedule a bunch of these content buckets and blog posts in bulk. This will not just save you time and energy, it will laser-focus your strategy.
Need a little a visual? Back to the content buckets.
Here is how I organize my own content buckets, but remember that you can create as many categories as you see fit, always keep your fans’ interests and positive reactions with past content in mind.
In other words, make them your own.
My Content Buckets
Here is where you get to communicate with your readers and really showcase your know-how & expertise. Remember that you always want to send your fans and followers back to your website. Use these posts to build your traffic and grow your email list.
You know the feeling you get when you see an image quote or read an article that really hits home? Your fans and followers want to feel it too.
So share inspirational content with your fans and followers, if you think it will empower them.
These are great conversation starters. By asking questions that are easy & fast to answer you’re breaking the ice with your fans and encouraging them to converse about topics that interest them.
Tips & Tricks:
This is probably one of my personal favorites. Create short tidbits of insights, advice or tips that can be helpful to your audience. You can start off by answering some of the questions you get asked the most by your current clients.
Other People’s Content
It’s virtually impossible to create all the content your audience is interested in all on your own (unless you’re a publication) so show fellow industry leaders some love & share their content with your audience whenever you think they’ll find it helpful.
This process is basically just content curation. You’re going out there and curating some of the best content to showcase in your own social channels.
Contests & Giveaways
These can help build buzz about your products and get people talking about them. Get really creative and you’ll be able to leverage contests and giveaways really efficiently.
Of course, you want to sell your product but there’s an art to doing so. You should never be afraid to sell on social media, but always make sure that you’ve given enough free value away first.
This includes photos of yourself or your team, behind-the-scenes action, a photo of your cute puppy… you get the point.
I like to leave space for creativity and anything that just pops into my head and that way my content stays fresh and relevant.
Okay, now that you have your content buckets outlined, how often should you be publishing these pieces of content? That’s really gonna depend on the channel social networks you publish your content on.
No frequency works best for every brand so like anything, you have to experiment.
I touched on this topic in a previous blog, so just to recap, here is a good rule of thumb in terms of the total amounts of posts you should be scheduling each week:
Facebook: 1-3 times per day (sometimes more often if you have a worldwide audience).
Twitter: 2-10 times per day (sometimes more often if it works for you).
Pinterest: 1-3 times per day (you don’t want to overdo it with your followers).
Google +: 1-2 times per day.
Instagram: 4-7 times per week.
YouTube: Weekly or more often if you can.
Here are some tips you can use to plan out the frequency of your content.
Stagger your posts so your content stays fresh and varied.
For every self-serving post make sure there’s another post that delivers amazing value.
Experiment. With time, you’ll figure out the frequency that works best for you.
Choose Your Favorite Tool
Choosing the right content calendar tool for you really comes down to preference and functionality.
Trello rocks. It’s designed to be a task management site but it’s so versatile, it can function as pretty much anything.
From content calendars to wedding planning, you can pretty much do it all on Trello (at least I have).
Easily manage your entire content/editorial calendar on Trello or just choose to plan your social media content.
Now, the major disclaimer: Trello won’t push out your content (meaning actually publish it) but it’s still a phenomenal way to plan & organize your content strategically. I’m sure there might be a way around this via a trigger based app like Zapier or IFTTT, but that’s a whole different story.
One of my favorite features about Trello is that it has a built-in calendar so you can see all of your content at a glance.
Take a look at individual cards. You get to add copy, attach images & files plus add checklists, assign users and engage with team members to discuss details.
The labels are also fantastic if you’re visual like me. I love color coding my posts like a total maniac.
Trello, of course, also integrates with various tools like Google Calendar. Which leads me to my next tool…