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How Social Media Copywriting Should Vary Across Channels

In 1994, Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne attended a black-tie gala in garish orange and blue tuxedos, dueling each other with plastic canes. It wasn’t rebellious — they just didn’t understand the dress code or event etiquette.

You can think about social media copywriting in the same way. Your message needs to align with the “dress code” for each individual channel — and one size does not fit all. Pro tip: Neon tuxedos work much better on Facebook than they do on LinkedIn.

Here’s our social media messaging guide for the four main platforms for both B2B and B2C marketing.

Related: Push the boundaries of standard content amplification with niche social media networks.

Facebook

With more than 2.6 billion active users, Facebook is the chief watering hole for consumers. Brands use this platform for both organic and paid posting, and the copywriting of each needs to strike the right tone.

  • Content: B2B and B2C brands can use Facebook for equally effective amplification, but it’s not the place for sales pitches. Instead, share readable content that will stand out in a congested newsfeed.
  • Style: Write teaser copy that’s human and relatable. Add a relevant emoji or two; posts that include them are shown to have higher like, comment, and share rates. 🙌
  • Length: The maximum character count for a Facebook post is 63,206. That might be great for individuals writing political diatribes their friends will never read, but for marketers it’s excessive. Some marketers have found that the most effective Facebook posts are only between 40 and 80 characters long.
  • Hashtags: While Facebook supports hashtags, their effectiveness is still debated. We recommend using them only in specific cases such as in a cause marketing campaign or during a national or global event. Doing so helps link your brand to that broader conversation. 
  • The Facebook Pro: Avocados From Mexico uses Facebook to reach its target audiences with concise, colorful copy geared toward engagement.

Twitter

A brand’s involvement in culture makes up 25% of a consumer’s decision to purchase, and it’s a particularly important factor on Twitter. It’s an excellent place for brands to relate with their audiences over mutual topics in a more casual, familiar manner.

  • Content: Because audiences on Twitter value cultural relevance, it’s the place for hopping onto trends, addressing current events, and starting conversations with your followers.
  • Style: Your tweets ought to be trendy, conversational, and clearly written by a human being with emotions. As on Facebook, emojis are your friend — they can increase tweet engagement by more than 25%. 😉
  • Length: Although Twitter doubled its character limit to 280 a few years ago, optimal engagement still trends toward the short and sweet. Tweets that are between 71 and 100 characters including spaces get retweeted more often than those outside that range. Keep in mind a few Twitter copy nuances: An emoji counts as two characters, for instance, and URLs count as 23.
  • Hashtags: Always include at least one hashtag — but no more than three — that users might search to find content like yours. Be specific: #DataVisualization makes sense for a post about infographics, while #Data is too broad. If you’re unsure what to choose, search the hashtag you’re considering on Twitter and see what comes up. That way, you’ll see if your post will appear in the right sphere. 
  • The Twitter Pro: No one’s social media copywriting is as trendy and culturally in-touch as Wendy’s is on Twitter.

LinkedIn

When it comes to the most popular social media channels for B2B marketers, LinkedIn is second only to Facebook. It’s a powerful resource for B2B lead generation (and has become increasingly effective in the B2C marketing arena), which makes crafting LinkedIn copy an important task.

  • Content: LinkedIn is a career-focused network, so write as though you’re speaking to a professional or an executive (because you are). Don’t write about yourself: Write about your audience, their pain points, and what they stand to gain by engaging with your post.
  • Style: Use industry-specific language and forgo emojis. 🤐
  • Length: Any post that exceeds 140 characters will be clipped off with a “See More” button. Avoid this by keeping your copy concise. 
  • Hashtags: LinkedIn began supporting hashtags in 2018. Keep in mind that what’s trending on one platform might not be trending on another: Audiences on LinkedIn are more likely to search or follow hashtags that are industry- or career-specific rather than news-oriented. Experiment with LinkedIn hashtags and see if you can track a tangible change in performance.
  • The LinkedIn Pro: TED Conferences rewards their nearly 18 million followers on LinkedIn with clean, concise, and professional copywriting.

Instagram

Businesses primarily use Instagram to share visuals and build a brand aesthetic, and the captions that accompany those posts play an important role.

  • Content: The copy of your post should support the visual, not the other way around. Offer some context behind the image and, because Insta copy doesn’t support links, make sure you provide some sort of call-to-action (e.g., “Comment below,” or “Check out the #LinkInBio”). 
  • Style: Remember that more than 56% of Instagram users are 34 years old or younger. Be casual and friendly in your caption. Since it’s a largely mobile platform, emojis are common. 📸
  • Length: Instagram captions are truncated after 125 characters. Best practice: Use that visible space to share the key takeaways from the post and save your hashtags for anything beyond the limit.
  • Hashtags: Hashtags are key to your Instagram presence. The optimal number to include in your caption depends on the size of your following, but five seems to be the sweet spot. Just make sure they’re trending before posting.
  • The Instagram Pro: You can make fun of me for knowing this, but Madewell aces all of its IG captions. The retailer’s voice is consistent across every post: cool, affable, and with a purposeful message.

Social media copywriting is an art, not a science — and we consider ourselves artists. Contact us to see how we can improve your content amplification strategy.

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