How to write content for social media

Someone once told me that “online relationships mimic offline ones” and that statement has well and truly stuck with me (..thank you to my boss at Ivy Social for allowing me to interview her for a uni assignment! 🤓).

I’ve been writing content for social media for nearly a year now. I may be starting out as a junior in my field but what I know is this: when you write for social media, write as if you’re talking to your audience face-to-face because, like my boss said, an online relationship is just like an offline one.

Now, this doesn’t always mean long captions. Not at all. If anything, I think it’s great to have a combination of short, medium and long captions for social media. If they’re all long, your audience can eventually ‘not be bothered’ to read it. And if they’re all short? Well, one-liners are great and all but for social media, it’s not going to get you very far (…don’t forget that social media is a consistent and long-term marketing tool).

I mean, think about it. Would a one-liner give you a passing grade at school? Would a one-liner win you that job you’ve been longing for? Would a one-liner get you a long-term relationship? Probably not.

Why?

Because one-liners aren’t how we communicate with one another and to be quite frank, how boring would that world be? We create relationships with other people by talking to each other and consistently building on that.

By working in a social media agency, I liaise with clients from various industries so when it comes to content writing week, I’m often putting my ‘client thinking cap’ on two or three times a day (…it was up to four times when I was working from home). When I say ‘client thinking cap’, I literally mean I step into their minds, their brand, their business.

My client pool has covered hospitality, premium cars, wedding planning and sports technology to name a few. Who would’ve thought I’d see the day where I work with a sports technology company? 😂


Tip #1: Know your client

With that said, it’s important for me to know my client – especially when I’m smashing out multiple batches of content in a day. It might be pretty obvious but you need to know that you’re not managing a brand’s channels just to be able to write for yourself. I was once told that I had a style with how I managed Public’s platforms and I couldn’t really understand that because I was running the business’ socials, not mine.

In order to know your client, you need to take the time to get to know what they do, the kind of business they have, the industry they’re in and more importantly, who their audience is. This is what makes up your ‘client thinking cap’ or whatever you’d like to call it.

When I was told that I’d take the lead on the sports tech company, I was super nervous about it. I know nothing about fitness, let alone the type of training that their product is targeted towards. I won’t lie to you: I worked really hard getting to know about this client. My boss and I spent two hours with them for a workshop and from then, I dedicated about 90% of one week reading the materials they sent us, reading their website and product reviews, researching hashtags, seeing what other people wrote about this type of training – the whole lot.

And for someone who has next to no interest in sports and technology combined? It was worth every second because now, it allows me to write their organic content without wasting time each month thinking about what to write next. ⚡️


Tip #2: Speak to your audience

Like I said earlier, write as if you’re talking to someone face-to-face and more importantly, in a way that resonates with them. Let’s work with an example:

Caption A: “Mondays are for two-for-one pizzas.”

Caption B: “We think Mondays are always the hardest… but not if you leave the cooking to us! Enjoy our two-for-one pizza deal while you sit back and ease into your busy week.”

Can you see the difference? Caption A is a one-liner. It’s direct, straight to the point but also very boring (..especially if it’s a recurring special). When you read Caption B, it taps into a regular human thought of “Mondays suck, I can’t be bothered cooking tonight”.

You could even spin it away from a negative connotation (e.g. “Mondays are always the hardest”) and turn it into Caption C: “Mondays are always a good time with our two-for-one pizza deal. Why? Because you leave the cooking to us while you enjoy your favourite glass of wine.”

Boom. Now I feel like pizza. 🍕


Tip #3: Just write

Starting is always the hardest part.

Whether it’s an assignment or the first batch of content for a new client, I always struggle to start – it’s almost as if I psych myself out. Truth be told, if you know what you’re writing about then it’s actually not that difficult and it gets easier the more you do it. One of my clients actually told me that he barely made any changes to the July content because I just got it. It took me months to get to this point and that’s not to say that he’ll never need to make edits. It’s more that I finally got to this point because I just started and I just keep going.

The more you write, the better you get. ✔️

Give love, get love

While social media has changed the way we do our marketing, it’s pretty easy to get caught in the more obvious metrics like, “How many followers do I have? How many likes did yesterday’s post get?”.

Don’t get me wrong, they sure do have a role to play but if that’s all you’re measuring, then I’m here to tell you that there’s a lot more to social media than you think (..take it from someone who’s learned this in the last year). The thing about social media is that all the little things contribute to the big things. Seriously, think about it. 🤔

Your account grows because more people see your content.

How? Because it’s showing up in their feeds and they’re intrigued.

Why is it showing in their feeds? Because you’re providing quality content and engaging with your audience.

So? By doing this, you’re working with the algorithm. You’re doing things that it likes.

Then what? The algorithm pushes your content out further.

Where? To more people.

Do you see how it’s an ongoing cycle? ♻️

As I write this, Public has 4,673 Facebook page likes and 1,789 Instagram followers. Not bad, right? It’s higher than some of our competitors and lower than others but the thing I pride myself on? We’ve got an incredible engagement rate. For example, the reopening announcement post was published a few days before the big day and it reached 9,000 people and generated slightly below 2,000 engagements collectively between the two platforms. Mind. Blown. 💥

That one post? It resonated with people because it was relevant to the community. Public had temporarily closed throughout COVID so the announcement was very exciting to the Canberra community – not just to people but to businesses too. There’s a human connection (..despite Public being a business).

That one post? It was more important to get our message out by telling our audience how Public would operate with this stage of restrictions… but that didn’t stop me from tapping into their emotions, even in the slightest bit. By ending the caption with “We’ve missed you Canberra and we look forward to welcoming you back very soon. 💚, it was the easiest and most effective way to connect with our audience. Again, human connection.

That one post? I opted for a team photo because that loyal community we’ve already built and maintained? They’re the ones who already know who we are and what we do. For some, they’re used to seeing our faces on a regular basis. They missed us too. Another human connection.

Since then, Public’s social media presence hit a little burst and we continue to see growth in followers and reach. When I took over the marketing, my goal was to build an online presence that would be reflected in the venue. From that one post, we received so many phone calls, emails and DMs on socials to book, even though our capacity is limited.

As it is with anything and everything else; if you put a little love in, you’ll get a litte love out. ✔️

From ‘home office’ back to ‘work office’

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog posts, you’d know that Team Ivy Social has been working from home ever since our lockdown was first announced in Australia.

While it might’ve been understandably difficult for some to adjust to the ‘new norm’ that was WFH, I loved it. I actually feel like I thrived in it. 🙌

How, you ask?

Well, for starters, I loved being able to roll out of bed and over to my desk. I loved wearing loungewear all day. I loved getting in the zone and smashing out three batches of client content… sometimes four. I loved playing Spotify’s The O.C. Complete Series Chronological Playlist on full blast. I loved not needing to worry too much about my lunch for the day. I loved not needing to worry about my non-existent my eyebrows. And most importantly: I loved not wearing a bra. Seriously, the bra thing was the best part. 😅

10 weeks later? We’ve returned working to the office.

To be honest with you, I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to wake up at 6:30 am to get ready. I kid you not, my partner was making fun of me because I was worried to return to adult-life. In my defence; I would literally wake up at 8:20 am, make the bed, brush my teeth, make a cup of chai latte then start work at 8:30 am. 🤦🏻‍♀️😂

Our first week back was certainly a busy one. Generally speaking, the first week of the month is pretty full-on for us anyway as we do our reporting and ensure that all of our clients are ready for the month ahead. Plus, after almost three months, we had our first WIP meeting and our to-do list grew by three times (or at least, it felt like it did).

As much as I loved working from home, I missed the team even more.

It makes such a difference to be able to turn around and ask a simple question as opposed to rethinking about whether it’s worth sending a text or email to either of the girls. It’s been nice to be able to work outside of a space where I wake up, get ready, study and sleep. It’s been really nice being back in a proper office space. Additionally, it’s been nice to wear proper clothes and feel like an adult again. But the best part? It’s been really refreshing to have a laugh over lunch with the gals and be greeted by the office pups as soon as you walk through the door. 🌿❤️

Now? I’m so glad that I’m back at Keep Co. Thrilled, actually.

A reflection of the last decade

While I respect the mindset of manifesting and believing that whatever is meant to happen, will happen; I ground myself on the idea that you’re the one in control of your life – not your parents, not your friends, not the universe. Don’t get me wrong, they all have a significant role to play and sometimes I find myself thinking “wow, the world really wanted that to happen to me today” but for the most part, I have what I have and I get what I want because I work hard for it – in fact, I earned it. 🙌

Call it sentimental but with two units left of my undergraduate degree, I’m sure you can understand the reflection. We’re in for a long one here so feel free to jump out whenever you like but today, I’m reminiscing on the last decade of my life.

Over the last two or so years; I’ve received exceptionally positive feedback on my assignments, I’ve been a recipient of the Dean’s Excellence Award for two consecutive semesters, I’ve been recommended for Honours twice, I’ve recently been informed that I was the top student in one of my units and I had the Internships Convenor for the Faculty of Arts and Design ask my permission to use my website for future students. This. Exact. Website. 😮

Sadly, I wasn’t always like this. I wasn’t always an academic achiever. In fact, I never strived for it but I was never the kid who thought being smart was lame. To be quite honest, I’m not all that smart – I simply know what I know and I put in the hard yards to know it. There isn’t much else to it.

For my story to make sense, I have to address a number of things:

  1. My time at the University of Canberra
  2. The environment I was in
  3. The choices I made
  4. The emotional support (or lack thereof)
  5. My best friend
  6. …and lastly, me

MY time at UC

My first semester at the University of Canberra was August 2013 (feels like a lifetime ago), where I enrolled in a double undergraduate degree of a Bachelor of Marketing Management and a Bachelor of Communication in Advertising. Sounds fancy, right?

I enjoyed all the marketing classes but loathed anything and everything else. I found it hard to motivate myself in economics, accounting… don’t even get me started on statistics and business law. I’ll be completely honest with you: I failed three units. Two of which, I failed twice… meaning that I failed five times. Talk about a waste of money. 👎

When it came to my advertising degree, I did really well in my first class but I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t like any of them because I felt as if I wasn’t creative enough. I didn’t fail any units under this course but I withdrew from two because, again, I didn’t like them… so, I decided to change degrees. I kept Marketing Management but changed into Communication in Public Relations and this was when I saw a significant change in my academic studies. The punch line? I now work in advertising. So technically, I didn’t really need to make the change but how was I supposed to know how things would work out?

The environment I was in

Like I said, you’re the one with full control of your life but sometimes, there are factors that hold influence over your decisions.

I’ve got a lot of great memories from my childhood but I’d be lying to you if I said it was full of nothing but rainbows and lollipops – because it wasn’t. I actually rarely talk about my childhood. I didn’t learn how to speak my mind or have the self-confidence that I have now until my 20s. I used to cry during class presentations and job interviews. I was always afraid to ask questions or ask for help. Yeah, I was that kid. 🤦🏻‍♀️

When it came to where I worked, I always had pride and took ownership of the bar where I was working. Usually, I’d stay working there for a while because I loved it but sometimes, the hospitality industry gets you. The hard work, the late nights and the kind of people you meet (not always the good kind)… sometimes it gets the better of you. Once I became a full-time manager, I was working all the time. I reduced my study load and partied a lot. There were times where I’d finish work at midnight, stay out to party, get a few hours sleep, then wake up to do it all over again. Some might say that it was just my youth, and I’d agree with them to a certain degree, but I literally let uni slip through the cracks. Can you see where I failed all those units now?

There’s no way that this all happened because of my childhood or where I worked, not at all. I failed because I allowed myself to believe that those environments impacted me in the way it did rather than value those learning experiences. I’m a tougher person because of it but sadly, my education took the fall.

The choices I made

If you’ve known me for a long time, even if we aren’t really friends now, you’d know a lot about the choices that I made back in the day. Some were highly questionable, some were logical. For instance, why did I go full-time when I was already working full-time hours on casual pay? Not to mention my decision to change degrees when I’m actually working in advertising now, which resulted in studying a little bit longer than I should be.

My first breakup turned out to be a doozy. I remember saying “if you change your mind, let me know”. Vanessa, please. I laugh at myself when I catch myself thinking of that as I don’t even understand why I’d say that – not that I think about that moment often. My friends now would literally laugh at me knowing that I’ve said that. I could never understand those on-again-off-again couples, it’s not really my thing. The events after this are just iconic. From the people I met to the people I developed feelings for, even the situations I found myself in, you’d think I was in some kind of reality TV series. 😅

Things do work out in the end though. This is where all that “if it’s meant to be, it’ll be” business comes in but I certainly don’t regret the choices I’ve made because like I’ve said, it wouldn’t have led me to this point.

The emotional support (or lack thereof)

I’m not going to dive deep into the types of support systems that I’ve had because my current one is nothing short of amazing. This comes in all shapes and sizes – even from a guy I used to casually see once upon a time – and I’m forever grateful for the people I have in my inner circle now.

I will say this though: sometimes, it’s quite disheartening to find no comfort from those who should be providing that (unconditionally, might I add). I don’t know why I surprise myself each time I experience this because it’s usually from the same person or the same type of people. I’ve literally been called “an uneducated and close-minded young person” when really, I’m at the top of my class. What would they know, right? I personally find it sad that some people are stuck in this mindset that our younger generations aren’t good for anything – especially when they don’t know anything about their capability (..just like myself).

My best friend

Speaking of my inner circle, I owe a lot to my best friend. She doesn’t provide me with the typical form of support that a girl would most likely get from her bestie.

She supported me in two ways. First, by giving me all the freedom that I needed at the time. When we were younger, we leant on each other a lot. We were literally so inseparable that we’d often find ourselves in trios of friendships or she’d constantly be the third-wheel to the boy that I was seeing at the time. She was always around, looking over me and watching my every move (without being creepy). She allowed me to make the choices and mistakes that I made but always voiced when I made said mistakes. Plus, I was a lot more stubborn back then so kudos to her for always being by my side.

For me, showing up is a big deal. Saying “good job” is a big deal. Every little win contributes to a major win and she’s done exactly that. I won’t deny that there have been moments in our friendship when we’ve thought “why is or isn’t she doing this?” with each other but at the end of the day, I know she’s always going to be there for me. Her story is also incredible and I’m proud of the woman she’s become. She’s patient, loving and sweet – the complete opposite to me. But she’s it.

..and lastly, me

At the end of everyday, it all comes down to you. In this case: me.

I wasn’t always in the frame of mind that I’m in now. I lacked self-confidence, which resulted in an absence of drive. Back then, I was driven to be a social butterfly and party and do my job. It was often because of the position I’d put myself in or the people I’d surround myself with but it was all me – I made those choices.

And now? I choose me. I choose my education, my career, my happiness. I choose to not think of myself as dumb (…although I do have my moments! 😂). I choose to value what I can offer to people and I know that it’s because of me that I choose to be this way.


To those who continue to support me and shower me with love, I appreciate you. And to those who have called me “dumb” or aren’t aware of how good I am – are you living under a rock? At least I know I won’t dwell on any regrets in my life. It’s pretty easy to reflect on what’s come and gone when I’m so close to finishing uni but it’s certainly refreshing to see how far I’ve come. ✨

Facebook vs. Instagram

Social media is a powerful marketing tool. Not only does it promote your product or service offering, but it also allows you to connect with your audience.

I’ve read a few articles that have predicted the decline of organic content (creative agencies too), which I personally find hard to believe. Don’t get me wrong, social media advertising campaigns are very effective but would you prefer a one-time customer or one that continues to make use of your offering?

If we put this into the perspective of the people that you meet, you might develop a deep relationship with one person and speak two words to the other. My guess would be that you’d maintain your relationship with the first person over the second.

This is the same with your online audience.

You want them to like your Facebook page or follow you on Instagram so that they’re exposed to your content, to your business. You want to create an online relationship with them.


Facebook vs. Instagram

You can’t go wrong in choosing which platforms will work best for you. I do think that delivering organic content across both is beneficial as they serve different purposes and you tend to reach different audiences between them.

Facebook is full of opportunity. It allows us to connect with people. We can share photos, videos and information. We can create events and be involved in discussion groups. It’s information-driven. You can click on links, which lead you to blog posts, news articles, podcast episodes – you name it.

Instagram, on the other hand, is driven by creativity… it’s a visual platform. Image first, caption later. Video first, information later. When a person looks at your account, they’re looking at your business. It provides a snapshot of your brand and while your aesthetic isn’t the be-all and end-all, it’s definitely a factor to consider.

When it comes to the content you publish on each platform, there are two ways to go about this:

  1. You can have the same content across Facebook and Instagram; or
  2. You can have different content across both.

Take Public, for example. I started with posting the same content across both but as I continue to manage its socials and the business evolves, I’m learning that community-related posts perform exceptionally well on Facebook and photos of the venue or cocktails do great on Instagram. You can always start off this way and see how you go, unless you already have a strategy in mind then, by all means, run with it.

Posts vs. Stories

Not sure if you should make use of Stories?

Do it. It’s a mix of content available to your audience.

Stories work pretty similar across Facebook and Instagram but I don’t think FB Stories have kicked-off just yet. The Digital Picnic actually described it to be “a ghost town” because everyone is on IG Stories (..maybe even more so than the traditional IG Feed). Instagram provides an option for you send your Story to Facebook as well, which is a quick and easy way to do so, but I’d probably hold off on creating story content specifically for Facebook… you feel?

When I post about the staff at Public, it skyrockets as a traditional Facebook post but plummets as a FB Story. It differs on Instagram based on what context I’m posting about the staff. For Valentine’s Day, they went around using a filter that guessed who their Valentine would be this year – it performed really well. This is because it was fun and light-hearted so naturally, I wouldn’t have posted that to the feed (..don’t think it would’ve performed great at all!).

Think of Stories as your best friend, the person you tell everything to. Posting to your feed differs in a way that’s more on-brand – “professional” if you will. You’d post a fancy cocktail on your feed but you’d film how to create that cocktail in your Stories. See the difference? 🙌

Engagement

You could have the best content ever but your stats aren’t red-hot.

What’s missing?

Engagement.

Reply to every comment. Follow an Instagram account back. Comment on other posts. Share posts that are about the business.

Engage often, engage well. ✔️

When I say “engage well”, I don’t mean interact with every single post on your feed. It wouldn’t make sense for Public to comment on a tradie’s photo out of the blue… but it would make sense if they commented on a tradie’s photo if the tradie was a regular customer who has already formed a relationship with the business. Better yet, it would make all the sense in the world if the tradie participated in the annual Nugg Off as it’s directly in line with the business (..the Nugg Off is a Menslink charity event to raise awareness in the mental health of males and it’s hosted at Public).

Plus, these kinds of platforms notice how active you are and it can actually help your social ranking, which in turn can push your content to more people.


Everyone has their own way of managing social media accounts.. to be honest, I don’t think there is a right or wrong way but there are definitely so many effective ways out there.

Try out a few things and see what works best for you. It’s also important to remember that social media is always changing so what works for you now might work in the next year… or it might not. All you need to do it keep up with the environment. ✨