What the hell should I say on social media? 5 tips to get started

What the hell should I say on social media? 5 tips to get started

Writing for social media can make you uncomfortable for two reasons – it’s instant and you often have no idea what to say without sounding like you’re showing off, offending someone, coming across as dull or even worse – going in for the hard sell. No one wants that. Customers are too savvy now and won’t be taken in by keyword stuffed rubbish. You need captions that sell but not in a cringy way. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Think of it as talking to a friend

This is an oldie but goodie. You might have heard it before but it needs repeating. If you aren’t sure what to say, think about how you would explain it to your bestie. Just write like you speak and your words will be taken on board much more easily. If you find this difficult, try reading it aloud to yourself and you’ll immediately find what doesn’t flow – cut it out or make it more chatty. Sorted.

Even businesses in a serious niche need to step back from all the jargon. You wouldn’t talk like that in a business meeting (you’re still human after all) so don’t do it on social media. People will switch off. 

2. Do some networking

This isn’t the cringy, let’s all stand around and endure this for an hour, networking. What I mean when I say you need to network on social media is that you need to build a community of followers and people you’re trying to impress (this could be people or businesses you’d like to work with, people you look up to – you get where I’m going with this) because social media isn’t all about you. I’m sure you’ve seen those accounts who shout about their achievements all the time, how much they earn and hustle and all the other crap you don’t really care about, so steer clear of acting like this yourself. 

Imagine how awful it would be to be sat next to that kind of person at a dinner party, make sure you’re the guest that gets invited back, the guest who’s interested in others as well as doing your thing. 

3. ABC – Always Be Contributing

This is so important I made it an ‘ABC’. When I talk about contributing what I mean is:

Every post you create needs to INFORM or ENTERTAIN 

If it doesn’t, don’t post it. It really is as simple as that.

If you’re stuck and aren’t sure how to be informative or entertaining take a look at who you follow and ask yourself why you like this content. Does it make you laugh? Has it given you a tip to make something easier? Has it stirred up an emotion that you’ve also been feeling? If you’re still struggling, the best place to look is at what you’ve saved or shared because you’ve done this for a reason. 

4. Don’t be a one-way Wendy

No one likes a one-way Wendy. She’s selfish. I thought this point was obvious but I’m including it because it’s been done to me and I think you’re missing a trick if you ignore your followers.

When someone takes the time to talk to you on social media, whether by DM, commenting or tagging you, make sure you respond. I know this will get very difficult as your following grows and more and more people want a piece of you, but you’re reading this article so I’ll assume you’re starting out and / or your community is still quite small – no excuses, just respond!

With attention spans at an all time low, you should be delighted that someone has taken the time to talk to you, to show you that they see your brand, products and whatever else you’re sharing. You’ll make their day if you write back and you’ll have an ENGAGED follower rather than a passive one (someone who follows you but can’t really remember who you are). It’s engaged people who will grow your business. 

Plus an engaged community has got your back. They’ll stick with you because you’ve made the effort and when the time comes for you to ask something of them – you have something to sell – they’ll be there for you. A passive follower will just scroll on by. 

I know which I’d rather have. Yes, it takes a lot of time and work but the payoff will be worth it. It’s better to have 100 engaged followers than 30,000 passive ones who don’t give a s**t. 

5. Be Consistent

We’ve all done it. Started in a blaze of glory only to see our posts fizzle out a few days (or weeks if you’re lucky) later. The one thing that social media influencers and those with large communities do well is they stick at it. They show up day after day, even when it feels like no one is listening because they’re in it for the long haul, they’re brand building the right way. Not buying followers – yuk – but starting from the bottom and ploughing on. 

Social media is a slow burn marketing tactic which is why so many can’t be bothered to follow through, I’m guilty of this myself which is why my social media needs some serious love after years of neglect. I need to take my own advice and start doing the things in this article. Maybe subconsciously that’s why I’ve written it because I know I need to knuckle down. If you want to keep an eye on me and make sure I practice what I preach you can find me on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest


Which of these tips are you going to try first?

What do you find difficult about putting yourself out there on social media?

Tell me in the comments…

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Ashley is a copywriter + digital content strategist. She's also a firm believer that the best way to eat a scone is jam before cream. She helps creatives, entrepreneurs and brands get paid to be their fabulous selves. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @_ashleyhoyland.

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