When it comes to writing on behalf of a brand, social media tends to get a bad rap. Surely it’s all just GIF’s and silly one-liners – not half as hard as ad slogans or in-depth marketing copy?
In reality, social media copywriting is not as easy it sounds. In fact, with a limited word count and countless trolls ready to bite back, some might call it a fine art.
So, which brands do it best? Here’s a few examples that have recently caught my eye.
Generating loyalty towards a toilet paper brand is a tricky feat. While Andrex uses cute puppies to capture attention (those sneaky devils), Charmin uses humour and wit to hook in users on social media.
On Facebook and Twitter, it crafts relatable and shareable content that stands out amid boring brand copy. It doesn’t use ‘toilet humour’ per se, however it’s always self-aware, posting a mixture of polls, pop-culture references, and poo-related hashtags designed to make users chuckle.
Best time to take a potty break today?
— Charmin (@Charmin) February 4, 2018
Its ‘Tweets from the Seat’ hashtag series is a particular favourite, and one which has cemented the brand’s tongue-in-cheek attitude.
— Charmin (@Charmin) January 2, 2018
Some brands take the time and care to respond to users on social, but their replies are rarely interesting or noteworthy. Sharpie – those darlings of the stationery world – appear to be an exception.
While their Twitter account rarely tweets in broadcast mode, Sharpie has a history of delighting users with unique and witty replies. The brand offers a more formal and helpful tone to people who complain, but when a user shows the brand some love, it takes the opportunity to respond with the a whole lot of love back.
A sure-fire way to reinforce brand advocacy and drive loyalty.
I think you’ve found the best drawer in your house, Lisa! ????
— Sharpie (@Sharpie) January 24, 2018
When a brand aims to sound ‘friendly’, they can veer into being cutesy or over-the-top. I like how Pret sounds on social because it always seems to get the balance right, talking to customers in a casual but straight-to-the-point way. Essentially, it sounds human, rather than a big corporate brand.
Pret uses succinct and engaging copy to complement other forms of content on Facebook, including images, videos, and polls. It’s also a good example of how to integrate emojis without trying too hard.
I recently mentioned Chubbies as an example of a brand that uses push notifications to engage and entertain users. It’s also a great example of how to harness a humorous tone of voice, with the brand coming up with its own unique line of ‘dad jokes’.
Our new sales rep is really unproductive. pic.twitter.com/LDXpyASDxB
— Chubbies (@Chubbies) February 13, 2018
Creativity is on full display, with its social media team constantly tweeting a stream of silly but endearing content.
Your weekend plans: a hike
My weekend plans: pic.twitter.com/6c7MUEFLDD
— Chubbies (@Chubbies) February 17, 2018
Product-focused posts by retail brands can often come across as overly salesy, but I’m always impressed by Oasis’s ability to engage users on Facebook.
By using clever calls-to-action and concise but enthusiastic descriptions, it manages to instill desire in shoppers, drawing on the classic ‘treat yourself’ mantra.
When it comes to actual sales, Oasis is also effective at creating urgency without over-egging it.
We’ve previously covered Paddy Power on the blog, highlighting its PR-focused attitude towards social. Not much has changed, as the brand continues to demonstrate a decidedly edgy attitude, and a blokey, jokey tone of voice across social channels.
Why does it work so well? Simply put, the brand knows its audience, and exactly the kind of thing that will provoke a response. It’s not for everyone, of course, but with such a large and engaged amount of followers, it’s certainly mastered its craft.
Arsene Wenger assessing his options ahead of Thursday night’s league game against Man City… pic.twitter.com/Fjy3dphzzd
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) February 26, 2018
Being sassy on social media can be a dangerous game, but Tesco Mobile is a brand that tends to hit the mark when replying to customer service queries – always with its tongue firmly in its cheek. The reason it works so well is that it is consistent, never failing to respond (even long after the user expects them to keep doing so).
The brand has previously generated press coverage for going the extra mile with its Twitter account, for instance with its rap-battle with competitor provider EE. However, I particularly enjoy how it does the same with the public, and is happy to have chats about not very much at all.
Devilishly tired and hungry… let’s not forget about that.
— Tesco Mobile (@tescomobile) February 25, 2018
Ben & Jerry’s
Copywriting is not typically a priority for brands posting on Instagram. However, I think Ben & Jerry’s does it particularly well, taking the opportunity to hammer home the message conveyed by its visual content.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where Ben & Jerry’s tends to wax lyrical about its social responsibilities, Instagram is solely for grabbing the user’s attention with short and pithy copy. From new product launches to seasonal celebrations, it always complements its posts with descriptive, amusing, and entertaining copywriting.
Another brand to integrate words into its Instagram strategy is US clothing brand Everlane. Alongside standard imagery of clothing, it occasionally publishes text-only posts, usually when it has an important message for users.
This is often related to its ‘Radical Transparency’ philosophy, which involves informing customers about the costs involved in manufacturing and producing its clothing. However, the brand also uses the medium to make a stand on issues or events that it feels strongly about, and that it is certain its audience will feel strongly about too.
For example, this post about the Las Vegas shooting, which emphasises its stance on the issue of gun violence.
B2B brands can struggle on social, finding it hard to get the balance right between professionalism and personality. MailChimp is one that succeeds, infusing character into its copywriting along with valuable information about its product.
It tends to use Twitter to convey the serious stuff, but Instagram is where the brand really gets creative, taking the opportunity to project a quirkier brand image. Plus, it can’t resist the odd pun or two, which is sure to raise a smile.