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Writing for social media: 3 best practices for PR professionals

by | Apr 7, 2023 | Public Relations

When it comes to improving your brand image, you can’t leave out social media. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, are the most widely used online platforms today. They are an integral part of people’s daily lives. That’s why you see celebrities and companies using Twitter to issue official statements.

So, writing for social media is an important skill for public relations, whether it’s to promote your CSR initiative or to save your reputation during a PR crisis.

However, social media is a fast-paced medium. Your typical user scrolls down their social media feed quickly. That means if your social posts don’t grab their attention, forget about getting your social messaging across to them.

That said, here are three best practices to help you nail PR writing for social media:

1. Know your audience

An effective strategy for communication starts by understanding whom you’re talking to. This is critical to both marketing and public relations. After all, knowing your audience allows you to create messages that will resonate with your listeners.

But how can you know your target audience? Here’s how:

Writing for social media: 3 best practices for PR professionals

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  • Create an audience persona. Shown above is an example of a standard audience persona. You can create one by looking at your social media analytics. What are the demographics and psychographics of your audience?
  • Rely on marketing data. Ask your marketing department for insights and data on your most engaged demographic.

Note that there are instances your target audience will differ from the typical audience you talk to. Picture a scenario where your PR message may have to be directed towards an affected group or sector. Identify the characteristics of this group so you can tailor your message, too.\

2. Keep it short and sweet

Your audience will only have a moment before they become uninterested in your post and scroll on to the next post. So, keep your message short and sweet to grab attention and sustain it. That’s a critical rule to follow in social media content writing.

Write in the active voice as well. This will help your copy sound punchier. Also, don’t use complex language. When in doubt, get the help of a content generator like our new Ask Writer feature or AI generative tool to simplify your social messages.

Writing for social media: 3 best practices for PR professionals

If you’re using social media to address a PR crisis instead, make sure you use a formula. This will help ensure your copy, while short, covers everything you need to say. Here’s a tried-and-tested formula you can follow:

  • Describe the issue
  • Apologize
  • Explain what the company is doing to resolve the issue
  • Assure the public it won’t happen again

There are times when a short message does not suffice. In these cases, make sure you still stick to the short-social-media-copy rule, though, then just complement it with other strategies.

For instance, you can write an official statement or blog post and have it published on your website. Share the link on social media with a short, engaging caption. Check out what Starbucks has done in the example below:

Writing for social media: 3 best practices for PR professionals

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If you’re addressing a PR crisis on Twitter, use a Twitter thread. On Twitter, writing short social media copy isn’t just a must because that’s the only way you can get people’s attention. It’s also a must because Twitter has a character limit. It only allows up to 280 characters per post.

Another strategy is to upload a photo of your typed-out official response with your short social media caption.

You’ll want to promote your social media posts so people will see them in the first place. Use other marketing collateral and channels for this. For instance, your digital business card that includes your contact details can also include links to your social media handles. Make sure the card design is customized according to your company’s aesthetic and gets reflected in your social media channel too. You can also use social media icons in your emails to subscribers.

3. Use eye-catching visuals

Visual content will help social posts stand out on the social media platform. A visual element serves as a scroll-stopper for social media users.

You may use these visual brand elements and graphics to humanize your brand. This is what Zendesk did. The smiling picture of the employee below shows that Zendesk is a brand you can approach anytime:

Writing for social media: 3 best practices for PR professionals

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You may also use your photo assets to emphasize important points in your social content. Framework, a laptop company, does this. The image of the person below emphasizes the company’s point that it’s an institution that values sustainability:

Writing for social media: 3 best practices for PR professionals

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Photos and videos of the event increase the credibility of your posts, too. Check out this social media post by Doctors Without Borders. The pictures show the medical missions the organization holds in remote areas. Since there are pictures of the medical missions, it follows they did take place. Besides, such visuals help you tell a story better:

Writing for social media: 3 best practices for PR professionals

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Doctors Without Borders also posts videos of its medical missions. This is another effective, visual PR strategy you can emulate.

Visuals will also help you get more engagement on social media, increasing your social media presence. Facebook posts with images get over 3.2 more engagement than posts with no pictures. LinkedIn posts also generate a 98 percent higher comment rate.

In closing

From a business standpoint, social platforms are potent PR tools. They can help you increase your digital presence and build and nurture relationships with your customers or potential customers. Incorporating PR into your social media strategy is a must for any business or organization.

You learned ways you should write your posts on social networks. Make sure you identify your target audience. Craft your social posts with people’s short attention spans in mind. Finally, remember that social media writing calls for the use of visuals.

Complement these tips with good social media management (and a good social media manager, of course). You can expect the best results from your PR efforts on social media.

James Westfield
James Westfield is the Marketing Manager for Writer, an AI writing platform designed for teams. He has over 10 years of experience in the industry. When James isn't in the office, you can find him on the golf course.

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