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How to Write Effective Copy for Instagram and Facebook

How to Write Effective Copy for Instagram and Facebook
April 27, 2021 / Hollie Wornes  >

At some point, I’m sure you’ve found yourself in the position where you’ve taken the perfect Instagram shot, you’re ready to upload it but have absolutely no idea what to write in the copy, (AKA caption.) So, you’ve gone and selected a simple emoji or two…

There’s no denying it, writing copy can be difficult and whilst the emoji may be a safe option, it isn’t always the best option! Effective copy is a really important step to publishing content on both Instagram and Facebook. It can be the difference between a user viewing your content and engaging with it.

This blog will guide you through how to write effective copy for the different platforms so that you can improve your brand and ultimately, drive engagement that will generate sales.

 

Instagram Copy

Know Your Audience

Knowing your target audience is the first and one of the most important steps to writing an effective copy. Understanding your audience allows you to decide on a tone of voice and the language you will use. Your audience may also determine the length of your copy.

Make Sure Your Copy Aligns With Your Visual

Whilst this may seem like an obvious one, when your copy doesn’t work well with your visual it can present your user with a jarring experience. Your copy gives a voice to your visual, so the two must align. Often brands can get this wrong if are they’re low on visual content and use or re-use old content where their products now appears differently.
For example – you are promoting your new weekly grilled chicken special in the copy but select a photo of last week’s chicken parmi special. Posting this would send a misleading message to the user and may discourage them from coming into the venue.

Always have visual content that is up to date! This will make copy writing flow a lot easier and ensures the user is receiving a clear message!

Keep it Brief and Punchy

Instagram is very much about the visual and less about the copy. You only have three or four lines to get your message in before the words on a user’s feed are cut off so it is important to keep it brief and punchy (but not so brief that you decide on a mindless emoji.)

Screenshot of Sydney Design Social Instagram


That’s not to say not all captions should be kept so short that the user can see all the information before they have to click ‘more.’ A copy must include all relevant information and if that involves the user having to click view more, that is okay! Just make sure you front load with the most important information so that you reader is compelled to read on.

If it is suited to your audience, using puns or rhetorical questions are always an easy way to keep your copy’s punchy and engaging! Check out this one from our SDS Instagram for example –

Screen shot of Sydney Design Social Instagram

 

Feature Users in Your Copy

Users love to have their content re-shared or re-posted and it goes both ways! Re-sharing user-generated content is one of the best ways to build strong, feel-good relationships with your customers. It also allows your audience to see what your products or venue looks like from a 'real-life' perspective.

When re-sharing or re-posting a customer photo it is always important to credit them in the copy. Crediting the customer in the copy enables you to build larger networks and also ensures people know who created this content.

Screen shot of Quick Brown Fox Eatery Instagram

Include a Call-To-Action

The best way to increase user engagement is to have a call-to-action in your copy. A call to-to-action can look different depending on what your goal of the post is. An easy call to action is to invite your users to comment or tag their friends, which can help increase engagement and impressions to your post.
For example- “Our $10 cocktail special is on tonight from 7pm to 9pm! Tag who you’re bringing!”

Another example of a call-to-action is inviting your users to call and book a table by leaving the number of the venue in the copy. Doing this provides them with all the information they need and stops them from looking elsewhere where they could potentially get lost.

Screen shot of Moore Park View Hotel Instagram

Emojis!

Yes, you read that right! The old emoji does have an important place in the world of Instagram copy. But standing mindlessly alone is not it! Using the emoji comes back to knowing your audience. If you are using an informal, light-hearted tone of voice, emoji’s can be a really nice way to complement the copy. They also work nicely when breaking up longer forms of text.

Hashtags

If you’re not using hashtags in your copy, start now. Using relevant hashtags is a great way for your content to be discovered by an audience outside of your followers. If your account is public, anyone who searches the hashtag on Instagram may find your post! It is important to know what hashtags are trending and what your competitors are using to get noticed when selecting which hashtags to use.

Always position your hashtags at the end of your copy so they do not detract from the important information.

 

Facebook Copy

Writing copy for Facebook is a similar approach to writing copy for Instagram. You must know your audience, ensure visual matches the copy, keep it brief and punchy etc. However, there are a few differences worth noting.

Know Your Specific Audience

On Instagram, you have to write copy that speaks to all potential users and you probably have a few different personas. Whereas, Facebook allows you to specifically target different users for every different campaign. This allows you to change your tone of voice slightly in your copy writing depending on who you’re targeting.

For example – you’re posting a Facebook campaign for the pub you manage that is having a lady’s luncheon. In the process of creating the campaign your narrow your target to audience to women, their age, their location etc. Your tone of voice in your copy may change slightly to appeal to this targeted audience as opposed to using the regular tone of voice that normally speaks to a mixed crowd with a strong interest in NRL and live sport.

Hyperlinks

Another tool that you can’t utilise on Instagram but can in your Facebook copy, is the hyperlink. Using a link in your copy is a great option for business looking to increase engagement and conversions.
Remember that call-to-action we included on Instagram earlier? Yes, well now you can directly send you users places through the direct link! See how we used it on our recent post below!

Screenshot of Sydney Design Social blog

Hashtags on Facebook

Despite Facebook introducing hashtags in 2015, their place in copy writing isn’t as prevalent in compared to Instagram. Facebook updated its own guidelines around hashtags and there is no clear answer whether hashtags significantly increase or decrease engagement.

However, using hashtags in your Facebook copies still allows for you to be discoverable by a wider audience and whilst it is okay to use them in your copy, it is encouraged to use fewer than you would on Instagram.

You’re now fully equipped to write an effective copy!

With this guide, there will be no more resorting to the old emoji! Knowing your audience, and following these steps will ensure you’re writing effective copy for Instagram and Facebook that will drive users to engage with your content!

 

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