Too often, social media managers focus a majority of their attention on the visual component of a post, including the video, photo, or graphic, when the caption is equally important.
In a world where audiences are looking for authentic content, social media captions are a major component of digital marketing strategic plans. If they are not yet a part of your strategy, now is the time to put a tad bit more energy into writing brilliant, simple, and engaging posts.
Whether your goal is to grow your following, engage more constituents, or just find a method to effectively share news compellingly, we have some quick tips to share with you!
Compelling teaser front and center
Quickly garnering your followers’ attention is key when crafting a compelling opening sentence, which can be accomplished by including data, new findings, or asking a question (which will also boost engagement.) Remember, the most important information should always come first and be placed front and center.
Social media users are continuously scrolling at a fast pace, and in general social media is so overly saturated these days that it’s key to utilize the caption to call attention to your post.
Another element you want to be intentional about is the length of the caption. No one wants to read a giant block of text; simplify it as much as you can.
“Consider what your audience will see first: a standard line or two of text before the cutoff? An ad headline? Anticipating your post’s structure will help you construct the most compelling copy for your audience. If appropriate, you might decide to place your featured copy on an image or in a video, and use your caption to call attention to and support it.”
It’s also imperative to optimize captions for each social media platform. The messaging can stay the same across the board, but the amount of text, links, and hashtags used per each social media platform should differ and be in accordance with best practices for that specific platform.
Social media captions should never be too formal; we’re not robots. Writing in an informative, relatable, and friendly style will increase the probability that a follower will take the time to read the full caption now and in the future. Because, if we’re being honest…who wants to read what sounds like legal literature? Lighten it up, and even though our field is serious business, don’t write in such a serious tone.
“Write like a human. The days of writing cold robotic captions on social media are long gone. Captions can be written in 3rd person but usually 1st works best: ‘We would love you to join us for a webinar’ instead of “Contentworks Agency invites you to join a webinar.”
Incorporating hashtags into every one of your social media posts is key in reaching a broader audience and has been proven to boost engagement.
It’s highly imperative to be intentional with the utilization of hashtags, though. Don’t go crazy and use a million hashtags or use hashtags unrelated to your post because that’s annoying, and we do NOT want to be annoying. We want to be efficient and effective.
In being intentional with the hashtags you use, tailor each hashtag per the messaging, the news being shared, and the visual.
“There are several ways to find the best hashtags for your account. The first and easiest is to look at the influencers and accounts you already follow and note which hashtags they’re already using. Another way is to begin brainstorming various ones and type them into the Instagram search bar. As you type, related hashtags also show up.”
A great way to become well acquainted with hashtags these days is to follow them. Social media users can now follow hashtags on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This will assist you in determining which hashtags best align with your agency’s voice, messaging, and content.
For law enforcement agencies, it’s often our goal to engage the public and connect with them. One of the simplest ways to evoke emotion from social media followers is to consistently be transparent in a way that gets them to buy into the agency.
Through the caption, it’s important to position our agencies as the service-leading protectants and informative eyes of the community that we truly are.
Consistent voice across all platforms
We cannot stress how vital it is to retain a consistent voice across all of your agency’s social media channels. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Wouldn’t it be super confusing if, from platform to platform, the tone and style of writing changed each time?
Think of the agency’s voice as its brand or “character”…and just as we aim for the visual elements, consistency is also required for all captions.
“Brand voice helps you stand out from the crowd. In the Sprout Social Index™, the consumers surveyed had reasons why some brands stood out more than others. Forty percent said memorable content, 33% said distinct personality, and 32% said compelling storytelling. In all three of these aspects, brand voice plays a significant role. You can’t have a distinct personality without a distinct brand voice.”
When developing or refining your brand voice, be sure to audit your current voice, identify your audience, understand your tone and learn to adapt to the continuous optimization of the social media landscape.