Social Media

How to Evolve Copywriting for Social Media

November 27, 2012

Community managers represent a new breed of method actors for the Digital Age. They must learn and absorb a set of brand traits and express them in a way that is real and relevant to that brand’s consumer base.

It’s here that social copywriting begins and traditional copywriting ends. Today’s most successful community managers are adroit social copywriters – able to not only assume the persona of the brand, but also assume the personality of someone the brand’s audience wants to interact with.

360i’s Community team fills this role for a diverse range of brands – representing verticals from toys to spirits – each with a unique social tone of voice and audience. Below we list our tried-and-true pointers for taking social copywriting to the next level.

Have the right resources at your fingertips

This may be the most important tip we can offer. Be prepared. Gather the proper resources that will help immerse yourself in your new community. It could be as simple as a Google Reader bundle with parenting blogs or food sites, or as involved as a keyword document, which lists key phrases central to the that specific brand voice. Tatiana Urriaga, a Community Manager for entertainment brands, puts it well:

“When you’re managing seven to ten different brands – and therefore brand voices– as we do in the entertainment world, it’s great to have a keyword document. We flip in and out of it often, pulling specific keywords that speak to each voice, which is really helpful when things are especially hectic.”

Moreover, having books or wikis on subject matter that is appropriate to your community is also useful. Whether it’s reading “The Hunger Games” so you can connect with a millennial audience or brushing up on legal jargon for that legal procedural on USA Network, get familiar. What you say to your audience is important – but how you say it is equally critical. Social copywriters should utilize the right verbiage so that the messaging reads as authentic and relatable.

Don’t be afraid to be human

Traditional copywriting can sometimes feel overtly promotional. Social copywriting should not. Since social content is inherently multi-conversational, tailor copy around your brand’s social tone of voice to create a dialogue with your consumers.

“Social should feel like a one-to-one action while remaining a one-to-many,” notes Danielle Johnsen Karr, a Senior Community Manager at 360i. “It’s tricky, but it will help to humanize your brand and create deeper connections with your community over time.”

Be unique. Be concise.

The biggest challenge social marketers inevitably face is maintaining a strong, unique voice while having copy that is short and to the point. Brands able to balance brevity with personality will be able to quickly give fans a taste of their personality, without overwhelming them with too much copy.

Community Supervisor Chloe Mathieu-Phillips points out that this can be a delicate balance. “It’s relatively easy to do when the brand has a specific type of humor or snark,” she says. “It’s much trickier if you’re a large brand who doesn’t want to offend anyone.”

So, how do you do it? Put yourself in your community’s shoes. Embrace the persona you’ve created and add as much energy and life to it as if it were a real conversation (it is!). Imagine yourself in the settings and environments in which your consumer would engage in similar conversations. What inflections would they use? Which words would they pick to describe certain situations? This is how you stand out from the masses of brands. Make your brand personable. Make your brand someone your consumers want to talk to.

Have a purpose before you post

Always ask yourself these questions before finalizing every piece of copy. What do I want them to do? Why would they share this? How does this ladder up to the brand fight? If you can’t answer these almost immediately, then you should rework your copy. Consumers are time-starved and many brands are competing for their attention across nearly every social platform.

To separate yourself from the noise, make engagement simple and straight-forward. Focus on the most attention-grabbing aspect of your content and leverage that as the call-to-action. Use the copy to give context to your imagery so that your content is packaged effectively for sharing and consumption. It will help fuel engagement and lead to better content as you move forward.


In most cases, a social media post will not achieve the same reach as a traditional ad spot. While some marketers may see this as a fault of social media, smart brands view this as an opportunity. Why? Social communities reach those consumers that have voluntarily asked to be a part of your conversation. Take advantage of this truth by creating bespoke experiences that are true-to-brand and of interest to your audience.