Crafting Perfect Small Words for Social Media Captions: An Ultimate Guide

By Gaurav Sharma

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If you think social media is all about visual content, think again. Copywriting has proved to be a game-changer for brands like KFC and Go-Pro. Good copy can increase engagement, foster trust, and convert followers into loyal fans. In short, it’s a surefire way to attain social media success.

When we talk about social media, brevity is the key to retain user attention. Since people mostly scan-read social content, it’s important to pack in a lot of punch in limited words. 

And, by a good copy, I don’t mean using Harvard-level language. Research proves that posts written at a third-grade reading level witness 36% more engagement than wordy posts.

Meaning what?

In a nutshell, you need to focus on small words in your social media captions. So, let’s take a look at five copywriting tactics to craft killer captions for posts and Stories.  

1. Include Power Words to Grab Eyeballs

When you have milliseconds to make an impression with your captions, it pays to include power words that have proven efficacy. 

Ace copywriter Gregory Ciotti swears by power words like instantly, because, free, you, and new. These words have been known to capture user attention and prompt them to take the desired action. 

Other action-packed words to include in your captions are:

  • Announcing
  • Suddenly
  • Sensational
  • Introducing
  • Miracle
  • Now
  • Startling
  • Magic 

and more…

The list above is not exhaustive. If you don’t want to get into the technicalities of persuasive copywriting, you can always hire expert copywriting services.They can not only use prevalent power words but also cool social media lingo for your captions.

And because they’re pros, they use a tool like Grammarly to make zero embarrassing grammatical errors on your account.

2. Include Hashtags and Keywords to Enhance Discoverability

I understand that each social media platform has some character restrictions. But that does not mean you shouldn’t optimize your captions for discoverability. If you sacrifice hashtags and keywords in order to adhere to character limits, even the best-written captions may not reach the eyes they’re meant for.

So, consult an SEO expert to discover high-potential keywords for your content. Platforms like Pinterest have AI engines that auto-suggest keywords that match your content.

SEO best practices demand that you use keyword phrases precisely, but there will be times when you will reword keywords to show your brand personality. To avoid a rank drop, piggyback on trending hashtags to make your content visible in the right circles.

Unlike keywords, you can get really creative with your hashtags. Instead of latching on to done-and-dusted hashtags, create a unique hashtag that is contextually relevant to your post.

Need inspiration?

The Worldwide Breast Cancer Organization aimed to encourage women to get tested for breast cancer. They launched the hashtag #KnowYourLemons for their Facebook campaign, which became viral almost overnight. The hashtag was fun, interesting, and relevant. It connected an everyday commodity (lemon) to common morbidity (cancer).

launched the hashtag #KnowYourLemons

Image via Facebook

3. Take Inspiration from Trending Content

On volatile social media, it pays to be on-trend with everything, including your captions. Updates about stale topics will never climb the popularity charts template on social media platforms.

To identify buzz-worthy events, you can use native analytics of your target platforms. For example, Twitter’s Trending tab shows events and hashtags that are getting traction in your location.

TwitterGÇÖs Trending tab shows events and hashtags

Image via Twitter

Once you find a relevant topic, simply create a unique caption around it, plug in the right hashtags, and watch your engagement rise.

Another way to discover trending topics is by using social listening tools like Mention. The best part about these tools is that you can drill down into the topics your target audience is talking about. Thereafter, you can create hyper-focused captions that address your audience specifically.

4. Try Successful Copywriting Formulas

If you were to consult a social media expert for caption formulation, they’re likely to use these popular copywriting formulas:

  • What Most People Do: Start the caption by stating what most people do in a given situation. The action might be completely wrong, but it works as a great hook. The caption becomes relatable to readers. Then, follow up by stating how you’re going to teach them how to do things the right way.

Want a pro tip?

If you want to add credibility, support your claims with social proof of how people benefited from your intel, or why the common practice is wrong.

Example: What most marketers do is treat social media captions as an afterthought. Here’s why you need to plan your copy first…...

  • Before-After, then Bridge: Start by explaining how things stand now. Then, create an imaginary picture of how things could improve in the future. Last, bridge the before-after scenarios with your solution. Explain how your insights/post/product/services can help transform lives.

This formula feeds on the aspirational needs of humans. People are always looking for ways to simplify and optimize their lives, and your caption promises to deliver on that promise.

  • You’re Standing at a Crossroad: In this approach, you create a sense of urgency through your caption. Make your audience imagine that they need to make a decision and your post will help them with the task. 
  • If-Then: A commonly-used formula, if-then is a staple of copywriters. 

Example: If you need copywriting tips, here are some things to implement...

A variation of this approach is starting the caption with a question that articulates the need you’re going to address. Then, follow it up with the answer.

Example: Need copywriting tips? Here are some great ones…..

The question method works better because humans are curious by nature. If you add an element of personalization by incorporating words like you, your, and my in the question, you can get even better results. You can leverage a social media engagement tool to get high engagement for your personalized messages and posts.

Wrapping Up

Social media platforms are bursting with great content. If your captions are not exceptional, your voice can drown in all that noise. The copywriting hacks I’ve explained above can help you create thumb-stopping captions.

Do you need any more tips on social media marketing? Share your requests in the comments. I’ll be happy to help you.

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