10 advanced social media copywriting best practices
Social practitioners wear many hats as they balance emerging networks and formats. Yet, strong social media copywriting skills remain the foundation of bringing a social strategy to life.
Whether you’re writing for a massive audience on an established platform or building a niche community on a vertical network, it’s important to refine your copywriting skills to reach your target audience. According to Rachael Goulet, Sprout Social’s Director of Social Media, “Whichever social networks you use, effective writers know how to tailor their writing for different audiences and platforms.”
In this article, we offer 10 actionable tips for copywriting on social media with advice from our social team peppered in to help you level-up your skills and engage your audience in meaningful ways.
- Create post templates
- Recycle your content
- Lead with a hook
- Write with accessibility in mind
- Use active voice
- Experiment with longer posts
- Test CTAs throughout your content
- Embrace the rise of AI in copywriting
- Analyze your metrics
- Invest in copywriting tools and training
Know your audience, brand voice and competitors
Before putting your hypothetical pen to paper, it’s important to have a foundation that guides your approach. Social media copywriting varies greatly by industry and brand. What works for a hamburger juggernaut will most likely fall flat for a government agency. Consult the competitive analysis and research you’ve done on your audience to inform your copywriting strategy. Answer key questions like:
- What kind of content does our audience want from our brand? How do they expect us to sound?
- How do our posts address customer pain points?
- What niches or subcultures does our brand resonate with?
- What are competitors doing right? What are they missing?
- What tone are competitors using? What does their voice sound like?
- How is our audience reacting to competitors’ content?
Sprout’s competitor reports and listening tools expedite this research by identifying what kind of content works best on social for your audience and industry. They enable you to track your competitors’ key metrics like audience growth, engagement and post volume for each network, then compare them against your profiles so you can benchmark your performance. They also empower you to dig into trending conversations, and gain consumer insights that will help you differentiate your brand.
This research also informs your brand voice and helps you refine your unique style guide. Carve out an authentic, distinct voice that will help you improve brand recognition, build loyalty and differentiate you from the competition.
Your social media style guide should encompass all things copywriting—from grammar, mechanics and tone to how to approach writing for different platforms, audiences and formats. For example, the Sprout Social style guide, “Seeds,” provides specific direction for everything from embodying the Sprout voice to writing for different channels to describing the technical details of our product.
Be sure to consult teams across your org, like your creative and strategy teams, to ensure your voice accurately reflects your brand’s values and goals. Invest time into building a guide upfront to help you streamline and standardize copywriting in the future. Read our post that delves into creating elevated style guides to get started.
With this direction, you’ll know how best to embed your brand voice into your social media copywriting while meeting audience expectations. And you’ll be able to apply these tips for social media copywriting more successfully.
1. Create post templates
If you’re constantly scrambling for new post ideas, try turning your best performing posts into templates. By using a tried-and-true post formula, you will save time and replicate your success without recreating the wheel.
Paramount+ uses this method on Twitter, hooking their audience with an engaging question or statement, then pairing the copy with branded hashtags, compelling calls to action (CTAs) and video teasers of their upcoming shows.
On TikTok, Paramount+ uses a slightly different formula, while maintaining their templated approach. They post nostalgic video clips from famous old shows streaming on their platform, and pair them with copy relevant to today’s pop culture.
Take a cue from Paramount+ by creating your own post templates.
To quickly identify which of your posts generated the most awareness or engagements, use a tool like Sprout’s Post Performance Report. The report provides a unified view of all your social networks, so you can see which posts performed best with your audience across channels. Narrow in on the key components of your best performing posts, and use them to build your templates.
2. Recycle your content
Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose. As Olivia Jepson, Sprout’s Senior Social Media Strategist shares, “We rely on the work done by other teams—like the research and writing done by the content team—to fuel our publishing calendar.” When copywriting for social, identify successful content your brand has created for other channels and tailor the message for social platforms.
For example, take an article that resonates with your audience and break it down in several different social posts.
- Pull a stand-out quote or hot take from the article and use it as a post.
- Write a one-sentence summary of the article, and share a link to it in your comment section or bio.
- Share data visualizations from the piece as a carousel paired with key takeaways.
We used our article, about what your social team will look like in 2028, to generate each of these posts.
A strong social strategy means deeply understanding how #SocialMedia drives trends and overall change. ⚡️ #SMMs #MarketingTips #SocialStrategy
3. Lead with a hook
Staying on-brand doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, your copy should entice your audience to keep reading. Don’t be afraid to say something spicy or outlandish—as long as it’s relevant to the things your audience cares about. Just beware crossing the line into clickbait territory, and stay authentic to your brand voice.
Greg Rokisky, Sprout’s Social Media Strategist, advises, “When it comes to writing social hooks, swing big! Ask questions, spill a hot take, utilize a trending angle and give your audience something to agree or disagree with you about.”
Crafting a hook with these tips in mind will help you generate more engagement on your posts. As Greg says, “When in doubt write through a lens of empathy and authenticity. Ask yourself: What would make me want to stick around and read a post? Or engage in a meaningful way?”
To test what kind of hooks make a splash with your audience, use our creative testing template.
4. Write with accessibility in mind
Social media copywriting with accessibility in mind ensures an inclusive experience. Make sure accessibility is part of your overall strategy, and apply it to your social content—from copy to images to videos.
Here are a few best practices to keep in mind to make your social copy accessible, especially for those using a screen reader:
- Make hashtags easier to read by using “CamelCase,” i.e., capitalize the first letter of each word in a hashtag. It should be #TeamSprout rather than #teamsprout.
- Avoid all caps. Using all caps might make screen readers interpret the word as an acronym, disrupting the content experience.
- Spell out acronyms the first time you mention them to avoid confusion.
- Write in pain language. Avoid jargon and overly complicated words to make your content more accessible for those new to your industry, non-native speakers or people with cognitive disabilities.
- Avoid run-on sentences. Keep your copy short and concise.
- Present the most important information first. This is helpful for accessibility, and for writing more engaging copy.
- Include @ mentions and emojis at the end of your post.
- Use special characters in moderation. Screen readers know to not read all special characters aloud, like ampersands. But too many special characters in your text can result in a confusing experience.
Reading/Replying to your comments blind. #blind #disability #fyp #dyk #tech #blind #disabilityawareness #didyouknow #technology #read #blindgirl #howto #comment #reading #screenreader #techtok #technology #mylife
5. Use active voice
Passive voice clouds the meaning of your copy. Use an active voice to craft concise and actionable social content.
For example, take this sentence: “Diligent customer service professionals can’t be replaced by robots.” Now, let’s transform it with an active voice: “No robot can replace a diligent customer service professional.” The verdict? Active voice is clearer and will grab your audience’s attention.
To edit your social copy quickly, use a free tool that detects passive voice like the Hemingway Editor.
6. Experiment with longer posts
Social media copy is often short, sweet and to the point. Network character restrictions and consumer behavior shaped social into a fast-paced channel. But there are some platform-specific cases when long form posts drive more engagement.
For example, on a channel like LinkedIn, your brand can use long form posts to build your thought leadership and credibility. LinkedIn audiences are hungry for knowledge and, in recent years, have started blending their professional announcements with personal posts. They’re willing to invest time into reading compelling content, especially if it leans into human connection.
Greg advises brands to experiment with incorporating more long-form content into their engagement strategy. But he cautions not to overdo it. “Know the story you’re trying to tell, and don’t overcomplicate it. Focus on the pain points your audience is up against, and point to a solution.”
7. Test CTAs throughout your content
When copywriting for social media, it’s best to mix up your CTAs. Avoid too many sales-driven CTAs in a row, and test which phrases generate the most engagement from your audience. Consult our list of example CTAs to get started.
Tailor your CTAs to the customer journey and your content funnel. For example, in some cases, your CTA could be a call to engage on social: “Let us know what you think in the comments section.” Other times, your CTA might drive people to your website: “Click the link in the bio to shop our latest collection.”
CTAs should also vary by platform. While sharing a link works well on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, it’s best practice on Instagram to drive your followers to click the link in your bio instead. Pay attention to platform nuances like this that can have a big impact on your post performance and conversion rate.
8. Embrace the rise of AI in copywriting
Artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t going to take your job. Instead, embracing up-and-coming AI can make you a more productive marketer and copywriter by speeding up your content development process and helping you overcome writer’s block. Try inputting the link to your brand style guide and other examples of your brand’s content for the best copy outputs.
Of course, AI is not a flawless solution. While it can automate workflows and kickstart brainstorming, a human touch is needed to make sure your copy is appropriate for audiences. In our social team’s own experiment, they realized AI tools often fail to prioritize accessibility and brand guidelines, and can sound too robotic.
Ultimately, AI is meant to be a complementary tool. Use it to empower your team to do their best work, but it can’t replace your copywriting expertise.
9. Analyze your metrics
The art of social media copywriting doesn’t end when you hit publish. If you take a “post and ghost” approach, you will miss critical audience insights that can help you level-up your copywriting skills for your unique audience. After your content goes live, monitor how your followers react. Reflect on your performance by asking questions like:
- Which topics generate the most awareness?
- Do certain post lengths garner more engagement than others?
- How well do certain CTAs drive conversions compared to others?
Use the findings to evolve your copywriting style and iterate on your content strategy. By using tools in Sprout’s Analytics suite, you can quickly access these metrics in real time. For example, you can use the Tag Performance Report to compare different CTA styles across platforms, and make adjustments to your copy.
10. Invest in copywriting tools and training
Finally, strive to always be growing and improving as a writer. Copywriting is a skill that can be honed and tested. With the multitude of tools and services out there, it’s easier than ever to continuously improve.
Here are some of our favorite social copywriting resources:
- AI editors: Hemingway and Grammarly
- Newsletter: VeryGoodCopy
- Book: Everybody Writes
Elevate your approach to copywriting for social media
Save these tips for copywriting on social media to keep the latest best practices top-of-mind. With some research, experimentation and refinement, you can evolve your copywriting skills and create a standout social presence. If you need direction narrowing-in on your brand voice, take our interactive quiz to discover your unique persona.
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