With all the hype about video content, it’s easy to overlook the power of a well-written caption. In fact, strong and effective social media copywriting is an essential part of your online presence.

It can make or break whether strangers on the internet become a follower, customer, or advocate for your business.

Bottom line? While social media copywriting is often short and zippy, it should be in line with your brand messaging to best capture your audience’s attention.

Think about it: a professionally edited video that jumps on the bandwagon of a trending TikTok sound may get the click, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Learning how to write copy for social media is both an art and science. You have to have good intentions (the art), and then you have to back those up with evidence-based best practices (the science).

Without sincerity, your words will fall flat, and people can sense when you’re not being authentic. But if you rely too much on how you *feel* about your company, product, or service, you’ll likely end up rambling and not saying anything of substance.

When you effectively combine those two elements, your account goes from collecting digital dust to driving real results.

Effective social media copywriting can:

  • Build an engaged following of real people who care about your biz
  • Create an identifiable brand people will notice and remember
  • Generate leads and sales from people who wouldn’t have found you otherwise

In short: social media copywriting is a fundamental aspect of your content marketing strategy, and how you take your account from good to “omg I’m literally obsessed with this brand.” It’s how you turn a casual browser into a lifelong customer who buys, shares, and engages.

Are you ready to learn how to write social media copy that kills? Read on for proven strategies and social media copywriting examples from other disruptive brands that you can snag inspo from for your own content.

Social Media Copywriting 101: 3 Strategies with Real Examples

1. Write like a human.

Source: Beauty Pie Insta 

The age of the faceless brand is long gone, my friend. If you want to connect with other humans, you have to sound like, well, a human!

Time and time again, I see brands tiptoeing around how they talk online because they’re afraid of sounding too this or too that. I call BS. Running your Instagram account like an HR rep who’s terrified of getting sued is the surefire way to kill your brand’s personality.

The best social media accounts sound like a real person is talking. They’re funny, relatable, and they don’t take themselves too seriously. 

Injecting some humanity into how you write social media copy will make people want to follow you. 

So then, how do you write good copy on Instagram? Take luxury cosmetics brand BeautyPie, for example.

A quick scroll through their account, and you’ll see something a lot of major brands are missing: COMMENTS. People are responding to BeautyPie’s posts in droves because the copy is clever, funny, and human. Not only are they upfront and honest about what’s going on in their business, but they’ve perfectly nailed the essence of chatting with your best friend over coffee. 

How to do it: Practice a little uninhibited, free-flow social media copywriting. Pick a topic and just write whatever comes to mind, no filters or editing. It might feel a little weird at first, but it’ll help you get in touch with your authentic voice. When in doubt, write in first person and speak directly to your audience the same way you would talk to your sis or bestie.

2. Give ’em front-row seats with BTS content

A screenshot of Pat McGrath's Instagram social media copy, where she explains how to apply an
Source: Pat McGrath Insta 

Loyal followers are loyal not because they’re mega-fans but because they feel a part of something bigger. Treating your social media followers like members of an exclusive club creates that sense of community and connection that people can’t live without. 

Now, it’s not enough to just show the inside of your warehouse and call it a day. That’s not interesting, and it doesn’t make people feel special. Instead, focus on sharing content that gives your followers an intimate look at both how you operate—and your product or service in action.

Whether it’s a detailed how-to video, a story about how you got your start, or highlighting one of your customers’ biggest success stories, this type of content will make social media users feel closer to you. Make them feel like they’re part of the journey, and they’ll stick with you through thick and thin. No one knows this better than legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath.

Pat’s built a cult following for her products by giving her social media followers step-by-step instructions on how she creates her iconic makeup looks. Imagine getting a makeup lesson from one of the most influential artists in the world—all from the comfort of your own home. That’s the power of making your followers feel special.

How to do it: Brainstorm which aspects of your business your customers would most like to see. Is it how new products are made? How to use them? Stories from customers? Determine what it is they want to know, then give it to them—front row and center.

If you don’t know, ASK. Put out a poll on Instagram or Twitter, or send out a survey to your email list. It may take some experimenting to find what resonates best with your audience, but it’ll be worth it when you finally crack the code.

3. Stand for something.

Oatly's Instagram caption showcases cause-driven social media copywriting, discussing their petition to choose vegan milk.
Source: Oatly Insta 

There’s no room for wishy-washiness on social media. In an era of cancel culture, people are looking to support brands that share their values—not those that are trying to be everything to everyone.

When you try to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no one. But when you focus on a niche audience and double down on what you stand for, people will flock to you. They’ll feel like they finally found a brand that gets them, and they’ll be eager to support you.

Oatly, a plant-based oatmilk company, is a great example of how to do this. The brand’s social media is unapologetically vegan. Whether it’s calling out dairy companies or petitioning for plant-based drinks in schools, Oatly isn’t afraid to take a stand. Just check out their bio: 

“We exist to make it easy for people to eat better and live healthier lives without recklessly taxing the planet’s resources in the process.”

You don’t have to fight the man to make a statement. You could focus on promoting self-love, body-inclusivity, or being the most sustainable brand in your industry. Whatever it is you choose to stand for, make sure it’s something you’re passionate about—otherwise, it’ll be difficult to maintain authenticity.

How to do it: Put on your activist hat! What are the issues you care most about? What can you do to support those causes? How can you use your platform and business to make a difference? Once you’ve answered these questions, start weaving in those important conversations into your copywriting for social media. 

In time, your followers will be more active and engaged with your content, and start roaring about your brand.

A GIF of a huge roaring crowd.

4. Hype up your partners and their audiences

A screenshot of Fenty beauty's TikTok showing their short, zippy, fun, branded social media copywriting.
Source: Fenty Beauty TikTok

Influencer marketing is hot, hot, HOT for a reason—and it all comes down to one word: trust.

Nowadays, people are more likely to believe a recommendation from someone they know and trust than a faceless brand. That’s why influencer marketing is so effective; it allows you to tap into that trusted network.

TikTok is, by the far, the best platform to take advantage of influencer marketing. That’s because TikTok is all about creators. The app is designed to help people connect with their favorite influencers and interact with their content—which makes it the perfect place to build hype for your products.

But in order to get hype you have to give it first. Sending your products to influencers for free is a great way to get them talking about your brand. But if you want to take it a step further, use your feed as a place to shout out your influencer network and brag about all the awesome ways they’re using your product.

Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty brand is the master of this strategy. The brand is constantly featuring influencers in their posts with cheeky captions that they *know* that specific influencer’s audience will love. It’s a genius way to get additional eyes on your content and build more hype for your products.

To convey this hype, you’ll want to focus not only on the captions themselves — which are bite-sized, but the captions included in the video as well.

How to do it: Partner with influencers in your niche and give them the opportunity to test out your products. Then, feature their content on your feed with a caption that speaks directly to their audience. Make sure your closed captioning is on and that you communicate the right message with accompanying bite-sized text to engage your audience and make it accessible to all viewers. In the caption, use relevant hashtags, and make sure to tag the influencer in your posts as well! Unlike Instagram, you don’t want to advertise for viewers to visit your link in bio. If your message and content are engaging enough, they’ll naturally head to your profile and explore your included bio links. When in doubt: short and sweet is the name of the game when it comes to TikTok copy.

5. Get punny and playful

Mac Cosmetics knows the importance of social media copywriting, this is a screenshot of their Facebook campaign.
Source: MAC Cosmetics Facebook

If you’re in the lifestyle and beauty space, then you know that social media is all about aesthetics. But what many brands forget is that people don’t just want to see pretty pictures—they also want to be entertained.

That’s why one of the best ways to stand out on social media is by infusing your copy with a little play. Wit and humor go a long way on social media and can really help your content shine. Just stay away from anything too controversial. Cancel culture is real, and you don’t want to risk offending your audience.

While many marketers may have written off Facebook as old news, the platform is still an active and powerful tool—especially when it comes to B2C marketing. And one of the best ways to stand out on Facebook is by using fun and engaging copy like MAC Cosmetics. As you can see in the example above, you don’t need to write paragraphs of text to get your point across. Sometimes, all you need is a clever caption and a few emojis to make your post pop.

How to do it: Take a look at the tone of your current social media posts. Are they fun and engaging, or serious and to the point? If it’s the latter, try adding a little playfulness to your copy. See what happens! You may be surprised by the results. 

So—how do you write catchy Social Media copy?

You dedicate yourself to the experiment and learn as much as you can. Take a fresh approach; keep the stuff that works and ditch the rest. Viral captions and verified tags won’t happen overnight. But if you’re willing to put in the work, you’ll find your flow, and your people will soon follow.

But running a business is pretty damn time-consuming. Not everyone has the luxury or bandwidth to invest the time and creativity into brainstorming effective social media copy. If that’s the case, consider hiring a social media copywriter. 

When you aren’t sure what to say, Lyon Content is ready to pick up the pen for your brand. 

By Christina Lyon

11/18/2022

Christina Lyon is the founder and CEO of Lyon Content. She’s fired up for helping brands kickass online and grow their digital empires. Christina lives in So Cal with her husband and two dogs, and nerds out on reading, traveling, writing creative fiction, and getting lost in wild places. She’s obsessed with a good underdog story and eats more rice bowls than she’s willing to admit.