“Good advertising is a happy wedding of words and pictures, not a contest between them.”
– Leo Burnett
True that. Even though visual content in social media can capture user’s attention, writing an effective copy, for both Facebook and Instagram, can connect to the reader, providing them with additional information that can drive them to take action. Here’s how you make the best of that tool in your arsenal.
“We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in & be what people are interested in.”
– Craig Davis.
Well, Facebook has actually made that easy with the recent change to their news feed from chronological to show them the stories that are most relevant to them.
Going through the news feed, your user is not going to set time aside to read your copy. 50 minutes is the average amount of time that a user spends on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger platforms. Transitioning from one post to another, it’s important that the post copy interests your user enough to make him interrupt the “Let-me-check-my-Facebook-real quick” routine and give your post copy a read.
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
– David Ogilvy
Since the “headline” aka the post copy is all we have to communicate, it has to be all of these three things – persuasive, clear and pithy. Your copy needs to drive the user to make the decision to act to your post – like, comment, share or visit.
Copies have an anatomy and it pays (in likes and shares) to stick to that.
The most important one – why are you writing the copy? It is usually pre-determined and mentioned in the brief – you might be writing to get them to visit the store, or buy during a sale or take advantage of discounted prices. Your objective is what will set the tone of your copy, and should be conveyed directly in the CTA.
Users don’t get value out of features. The value the product will add to their lives is more important to the user than anything else.
Telling a user, “Here is my product. It does this and this. Click here to buy it” makes your post a broadcast. On the other hand, an enticing benefit conveyed in the copy can make the post an engagement point – where people resonate with what you say and can’t wait to tell others about it.
In the words of David Ogilvy, “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative”. With Facebook ads, we’re selling leads, likes, and website visits. A good CTA will be clear enough to tell them what to do and persuasive enough to make them want to do it.
“Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.”
– Walt Disney
It’s all about visual storytelling – and Instagram, with 95 million pictures and videos uploaded every single day, is the place for that.
Instagram is where you would connect to your audience, showing off the human side of your business, with curated pictures and videos. Although your visuals do take the center stage on this platform, you cannot underestimate the power of a well-crafted caption.
Giving a voice to your visual
Use your caption to tell the story behind the picture. Something that would add value to the narrative you are trying to build. Your caption is your voice – crack a joke, share an anecdote or convey important information. Talking to your users through caption makes your content more relatable, and delightful for the users to like and share.
Helping correct interpretation
While a delightful visual can create a narrative, a compelling caption next to it can give it a much needed perspective. A good caption gives the visual a context, and serves as an interpretation tool. You can add emojis to give your post a personality, and induce action by adding a CTA at the end. Use hashtags like you would use money; do not let the hashtags distract the readers from the main caption.
While good copies aren’t governed by convention, it doesn’t hurt to know what works and what doesn’t. Use these suggestions in your copies, and tell us how they fared. And maybe next time, we will feature your copies in our article to drive the point home.