June 17, 2021

How to write great copy for social media.

How to write great copy for social media.

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If you’re here, it’s likely because you want to write great copy for your social media accounts. 

In the past few years, more and more freelancers and small business owners have come to realize the importance of leveraging their SMB’s social media channels as a primary marketing tool. 

However, many SMB’s are still unsure of how to create captivating, engaging content that will drive traffic and convert. 

In this article, we’ll run through some of the key tips you’ll need to keep in mind to write professional content for your business’s social media content: 

  1. Tailor your writing. 
  2. Be short and direct. 
  3. Engage with your audience. 
  4. Connect with your audience on an emotional level.
  5. Understand FOMO, the desire for exclusivity, and urgency.
  6. Don’t forget your call to action. 

So, let’s get started with explaining how you can write effective content for your SMB’s social media accounts.

Illustration of various social media icons.

1. Tailor your writing.

Social Media isn’t just for your cute selfies and vacation pics anymore.  While that’s still one aspect of what social media is used for, it’s also a popular marketing tool.

Tailor your writing to your venue.

As a small business owner or freelancer, you have a variety of options to choose from: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Medium, Pinterest. 

So, before you can start writing awesome copy for your social media accounts, you’ll need to know which accounts you’re writing for

To do this, your marketing team will conduct an analysis of your business as it currently is, your short- and long-term goals, perform a competitor analysis, etc., then determine where you should be focusing your social media efforts. 

Once you know which platforms you’ll be working with, you’ll then need to ensure that your copy is tailored to each platform type. 

From there, you’ll then need to ensure that your copy is tailored to the particular post type.

So, to recap, you need to know: 1. Which platforms you’ll be working with more generally; 2. Which platform you’ll be writing for in this instance; 3. Which post type you’ll be writing for in this instance. 

So, for example, perhaps your marketing strategy involves focusing your posts on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. And, perhaps, you’re looking to create a post for Instagram right now. Well, the copy you’ll be writing will be different depending on whether you’re writing for a lengthier reel, a story, a single-frame post, etc. 

Also, if you’re writing for Instagram in particular, you’ll also need to ensure that you pair your written content with captivating, professional graphics.

Tailor your writing to your audience.

To write great copy for your social media accounts, you’ll also need to know who your audience is. 

Chances are, the audience you’re reaching through LinkedIn is a little different than the audience you’re reaching through Instagram. After all, the platforms themselves are intended for slightly different purposes and content types. 

So, you’ll want to ensure that the content you’re creating speaks to the particular segment of your audience you’ll be reaching through the various social media platforms you’re using.

2. Keep it short and direct.

When writing for your social media accounts, it is important that you take into consideration when and how someone will be seeing your ad. 

For example, with Instagram, you know that your content is showing up in someone’s feed, nestled between other content types and always competing for your audience’s attention. Instagram is also heavily visual. 

So, you’ll want to consider: what makes someone stop on an Instagram post? Is it the witty banter within your copy? Or is it the photo you choose? 

Let’s be real: we all know it’s the photo. 

So, you’ll also need to make sure your written content is paired with stunning visuals. 

But the photo alone can often mean very little. After all, the photo is usually just the vehicle to communicate your message — the photo captures your audience’s attention and, perhaps, communicates to your audience what kind of business you are, but it’s not usually what gets them commenting, hitting “like,” or following you. 

So, how can you let your audience know who you are and what you do and get them interested in your content? 

To do this, you will need to write short, direct, captivating written content that your audience can understand and appreciate in nanoseconds. Every word you choose needs to be gold — it needs to be crisp, clear, and direct. There’s no room for you to waste your audience’s time here. 

Even for platforms (e.g., LinkedIn) that allow room for long-form content will require that you be as concise as you can, while remaining engaging and direct in your messaging. 

When using social media, your content will always be in competition with other users’, and your audience wants you to be respectful of their time. Don’t meander in your writing, don’t share content that could be confusing, and ensure your messaging and calls to action are always super clear. 

So, keep it short and sweet, don’t waste any words.

3. Engage with your audience.

Plain and simple: you’ve got to engage your audience. 

No matter how concise and punchy your writing is, it isn’t enough to just run your ad content up a flagpole and see who shows up to salute it. 

No, you need to actually engage your audience. 

Why? Well, the simplest way we can put it is this: your social media content (like most of your business’ copy) is not about you. Rather, it is about your audience — their needs, desires, and fears. 

Your audience wants to feel seen, heard, respected — they want to feel like you care about what they have to say, like your product is for them, like you want to engage with them specifically. 

So, you want to get a conversation going. 

In other words, your social media content shouldn’t just be about releasing one-sided content and hoping it’s appreciated by your target audience. Your social media content isn’t about self-promoted. 

Rather, your social media content should be carefully crafted to speak directly to your audience and pull them into the conversation. Your audience should be called to respond somehow, and, if you’re successful, this will drive up your engagement metrics, drive traffic to your website, and help you convert leads you may not have been able to reach otherwise.

Ask questions.

One of the easiest ways to engage your audience is to ask them questions.

So, if we stick with our example of writing copy for Instagram, you would want a captivating visual design, short, direct copy, and a call to action that prompts your audience to engage with you. 

While you could go with an engagement prompt as simple as something like, “what do you think?” or “tell us your ideas below,” open-ended questions aren’t always as effective. 

So, try to be a little more specific. 

For example: 

If your small business is an Italian restaurant, you could caption your Instagram post with “What’s your favorite Italian food? Drop a comment below.” 

Your audience will have seen an eye-catching photo in your post that communicates you’re an Italian restaurant, your effective copy will have intrigued them, and your simple, low-commitment engagement prompt is there to entice them. 

“What’s your favorite Italian food? Drop a comment below” is a strong engagement prompt because people love telling you about what they like. In general, people welcome an opportunity to talk about themselves. 

So, you see, your goal with your engagement prompt isn’t to pitch something about you and your business — you’re not going for the hard sell here. 

Rather’ you’re sharing some information, making a soft inquiry, sharing something of value. 

If done well, your engagement prompts won’t feel like sales gimmicks or pitches. Rather, they’ll feel like an effortless conversation with a friend or like a fun game. 

You’ll communicate to your audience what you do, what you’re all about, that you care, that you’re valuable, and they’ll be intrigued.

Sticking with the Italian restaurant examples, after your audience tells you what they enjoy, they may wonder if you serve their favorite dish.

Then, because you’ve made your menu easy-to-find (by, perhaps, mentioning your caption that the link is in your Instagram bio), you’ll get your new Instagram lead over to your website, where all the time and effort you’ve put into carefully crafting your landing page will draw them in further. 

So, bang! Just like that, you’ve got your audience interested in you and actively seeking out more information about you. And all that thanks to your carefully crafted copy and well-thought-out engagement prompt. 

Depending on your industry and the nature of your content, you can get even more specific with your prompts. For example, you could prompt your audience to complete a poll or choose between two options you provide. 

Again, you will just want to ensure your content is tailored to the type of platform you’re writing for, so the way you engage your audience on LinkedIn might be different from how you engage with your audience on Instagram. 

4. Connect with your audience on an emotional level.

When it comes to your social media content, you’ve only got seconds to connect with someone. But you still need to try. 

Establishing a clear, thoughtful emotional connection will help make your audience feel seen and heard — that you understand their interests, desires, worries, and fears, and that you can help them in some way. 

So, when you’re trying to drive an emotional connection with your social media content, you might not want to be informative. Rather, you may want to use what little time you have to strike a deeper chord with your audience. 

So, for example, let’s say you’re offering private, online tutoring services. And let’s say you’re creating social media content for Instagram. Would you want to post a photo of a textbook? A diploma? Perhaps. That would tell your audience what you do — it would give them the facts. But would they be interested in you? Would it really grab their attention? 

Probably not. 

So, you’ll want to focus more so on the benefits of your business and less so on the features of your product or service. 

For example, you could think about what tutoring means to your target audience. 

Let’s say a successful tutoring experience means more confidence and freedom for your customers. Let’s say it will help them get where they’re trying to be.  The idea of a tutor might even make your audience feel like they’re being taken care of, like someone has their back. Someone’s helping them achieve their goals. Someone’s going to help them excel, graduate, move  on to the next chapter of their life. 

So, successful tutoring means forward motion, like climbing a hill, overcoming the struggle, reaching the top, finding freedom.

So, because Instagram is a visual platform, we would ask: what does that triumphant freedom look like? 

Perhaps, it looks like a happy person standing on top of a mountain, breathing the fresh air. 

Okay, so if you use that visual content, your target audience may come across your post and feel the wind in their hair and think, “gee — that’s where I’d like to be!” 

Then, your well-crafted social media copy would seal the deal — it would get them curious, get them on the hook. 

And you’ve done this by connecting with your audience on a more emotional level, appealing to their desires, interests, and fears. 

So, when writing your social media copy, know when to drive home your product’s benefits and try to connect with your audience emotionally as much as possible. 

5. Understand FOMO, the desire for exclusivity, and urgency.

There are some key psychological traits you’ll want to keep in mind when crafting copy for your social media campaigns: “fear of missing out” (FOMO) and the desire for exclusivity.

However, before diving into these topics, we also want to reiterate that we (i.e., the Lumida team) strongly discourage resorting to tactics like fear-mongering or misrepresentation of your product’s features and benefits, etc., in the course of your marketing endeavors.

If you have a good product or service (and we believe that you do!), you should never need to resort to underhanded or exploitative marketing tactics to get your product noticed. 

So, please just be sure to use what you learn here for good — for making your customers’ lives a little better, a little happier.

Fear of missing out (FOMO).

“Fear of missing out” (FOMO for short) is a real thing. 

Studies have shown that most people are actually afraid of being away from their social media accounts for too long. Why? Because they think there’s a chance they’ll miss out on some current event, announcement, status update, etc., that they should know about. 

While that may sound extreme, FOMO is understandable in the context of the fast-paced digital world. Because of our access to information, we are all expected to know what’s happening in the world as it happens

And digital marketing has taken full advantage of this. Hence, you’ll come across ads saying things, like “hurry! For 4 hours only!” or “Lunchtime Flash-sale! Today from 12:00 – 1:00 pm ET only. Order online and get 40% off!”

So, we’ve all become news reporters of sorts, keeping an eye out for any change  whatsoever, always looking out for the next deal or sneak preview. 

This means that you — small business owners, copywriters, digital marketers — have an opportunity. 

You can use the FOMO. 

Knowing that people are scrolling through their social media feeds with FOMO in the back of their minds, you can create copy that speaks to that fear — that plays into it or that soothes it.

For example, you could use language like “For 3 days only…” By using this sort of language, your audience will feel like they have to act now or like they’re at the head of the line.


You can think of exclusivity as the other side of the FOMO coin. People hate to feel like they’re missing out on things, but they love to feel like they’re part of the select few who get to experience something. 

So, for example, you can tailor your marketing so that your followers or audience members get special perks with a unique discount code, or you can use language like “only the first 5 people…”


Along with FOMO and trying to create a sense of exclusivity, you can also try evoke a sense of urgency. While urgency is a key element in writing effective copy more generally, it’s especially effective within the social media context, which already has our sense of FOMO heightened.

When trying to communicate urgency, you may have copy that states something along the lines of, “Act now and save…” or “only 5 left in stock” or “available for a limited time only.” 

6. Don't forget your calls to action.

While your engagement prompts are one form of calling your audience to action, you will also want to ensure that other clear calls to action are sprinkled throughout your social media content. 

For example, make sure that links to your website, virtual storefront, contact information, etc., are all easy to find and that your audience is prompted to interact with that content. 

You may also wish to explicitly mention to your audience how and where they can subscribe to your channel or follow you (depending on the platform you’re utilizing). 

And, of course, when it’s appropriate to do so, let your audience know that they should get in touch.


Your social media content should get people interested in you, then keep them engaged. 

To do this, you will need to write focused, concise copy that stands out and speaks to your particular target audience. 

By virtue of scrolling, folks will come across your photo, but how do you keep them for  longer than one second? 

Because you only have nanoseconds to connect with your social media audience, you will need to make use of both striking visual elements and emotional content that helps your audience feel connected to you on a deeper level.

You will want to include clear engagement prompts in your social media copy — ask  your audience a question, get them to tell you about themselves, listen to their feedback. People want to be heard and they’ll be thankful for your interest in them. 

So, while social media content should be an important part of your digital marketing strategy, writing great copy for your social media is a complex challenge that requires a great deal of research and planning. 

Lumida Ltd. is a full-service creative agency specializing in web design, branding, content development and copywriting, digital strategy, and remote administrative services. 

For a free, no obligation quote for our digital marketing and copywriting services, you can get in touch with us here

Or, for more small business guides and resources, you can check out our blog here.

Steve Chambers

Steve Chambers

Steve is a copywriter and content developer with a passion for creating effective, engaging written content.

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