You’ve come too far with your business not to know that content matters.
And by content, I mean all of it: your visuals and all the words you create in your captions, blog posts, newsletters, etc.
For now, though, let’s focus on my favourite kind of content: captions, the kind you create to get engagement on social media!
But I want to clear something up first. It’s not that I don’t love a stunning image. I do.
But an image is just a hook, and a hook without insight is meaningless at least for small business owners.
Listen, I know your struggle is real when it comes to captioning. So much so, that I *almost* wanted to call this post, “Writing For Social Media Is Easy If You Do This.”
BUT I figured despite my vote of confidence, somebody is going to read this who doesn’t think writing on social is easy.
So, by default, I stuck to a headline that describes the very thing you want deep down inside i.e getting people to read what you post.
Ok, before I tell you how, I want to contextualize things a bit.
Words matter. What’s written in your post matters. I have been watching the aftermath of the Roe vs Wade document leak from the US Supreme Court and what that proves is that words have the power.
They have the power to spark protests and marches.
But I want to get back to you because your content, the words you write in your captions, ads, blog posts, etc can:
- Bring people to your retail store
- Ensure your course is sold out
- Sell your hats
- Keep your work calendar booked and,
- Help scale your business.
I’ve seen people put up the most gorgeous photos on their social feeds and completely miss the mark with their copy.
If that’s you, oh sis, you’re not alone.
So many incredible small biz owners who are really good at what they do dive straight into social media writing bringing with them the same habits gleaned from their secondary school final essay. It’s worse if you did a senior thesis at University where you’re programmed to write “a certain way.”
But I’m serving you GROWN WOMAN ENERGY HERE. Forget all that.
The people reading your social media posts are not your professors. They are looking for relatability, honesty, authenticity, and relevance.
1|. Great Content Can Change Your Business
When people come to your social media pages you want them to stop their scroll and read.
And whether they leave you a tick of approval or not, the trail of words you leave behind forces them to remember who you are and what you do.
As a small business owner that’s exactly the kind of awareness you want.
Once you put that system on repeat, you’re essentially building a customer base just by the content you write.
How do I know this?
Well, I’ve been trading in words since I was 6 years old writing letters to my grandmother who lived in the UK and later the US.
At the time, I had only seen her in pictures so letter writing at the dining table supervised by her son, my father, was how my sisters and I formed an early relationship with her.
As an adult, and in my career as a communications strategist for global brands, I’ve massaged words to transform apathy into interest and interest into action.
In my field, inspiring action and creating change is what we call copywriting. But in the end, it’s not just about what I string together on paper or place on my desktop.
What matters the most is what those words cause people to do.
2.| How To Get People to Read Your Words?
I am serving it to you straight now and still coming at ya with that GROWN WOMAN ENERGY. The reason why no one is reading your content is because you’re not using your words in the service of creating connections.
And this has nothing to do with the length or the number of words you cobble together. It’s so much deeper than that.
The purpose of your content is to create bonds, and feelings. Your copy should be an exchange of ideas and also be relevant. You can do this with insider jokes, cultural references, deep meaningful stuff, and even some superficiality.
I truly don’t believe that every single thing you write has to be serious and deep. Have fun with your content. These are the parts that matter– the parts we overlook when we obsess over “likes” and not “engagement”
Now for this bit.
Because if you’re going to show up in someone’s feeds you want to write words that are worth reading. For that, you’ll need 2 things: cognitive empathy and plenty of generosity.
Say what? Ok, let’s get to the good part. Let’s continue on.
3.|These Words Will Make Your Followers Read
Writing great captions, setting up targeted, storytelling sales copy, and getting people to read your words really boils down to you taking the perspective of someone who isn’t you; someone who stumbled on your page, your most ardent followers, and answering the question:
“If I were them…why should I care?”
If you can answer that you’ll get people to read what you write.
My 3 best tips
1. Use truckloads of empathy. When you write do some role play. Put yourself in your ideal reader’s shoes and ask “Will she *get* everything in here? Will this be meaningful and resonate with her? What can you add or even subtract to make it so? Are you connecting? Does she see yourself in your copy? When you talk about pain points, does she see how you can solve them? If she can’t, rewrite.
2. Be generous. In other words, release the attachment, put your ego in your pocket, and get out of your own head. And then give value upon value at the intersection where your audience’s interests meet your offer. OMG! This is the magic. This is how you’ll get people reading. I have an example for you HERE.
Also, in your generosity make it easy for your readers to do the very thing you want them to do, read. So use bullets and emojis. Rearrange sentences. Punctuate with numbers. Write short sentences. Chop up your words.
3. Use your captions to provide an opportunity for your reader to respond. There is an anatomy for caption writing that I teach in my content classes. Most of your captions should have a hook, an insight (this is your chance to inform, inspire and/or educate), and end with a call to action (CTA). Ask your readers a question when you end your caption. They’ll talk back to you. Know what that’s called? Engagement!