Between writing blog posts, newsletters, web copy, customer service emails and more, there’s a lot of copywriting you have to do as the owner of a pet business.
All of this writing you do may feel like a chore rather than a key part of optimizing your content to help grow your brand awareness and audience engagement online. And, for the most part, you may not be a professional writer or trained copy expert. So all of that writing? It can get a little frustrating, to say the least.
But, it’s important to keep in mind that the copy (words) you use in any of your digital marketing (like social media posts) acts as a bridge between your brand and your customers. And, when that bridge helps people understand who you are, what you do, and why you do it, beautiful things happen - like sales!
That couldn’t be more true for social media content. Whether it’s an Instagram Story, a Tweet, or a Facebook post, the copy you use to describe your content gives audiences insight into who you are as a brand. That’s important for customers, because people buy based on emotion and connection (not just logic).
Let’s take a look at how you can write better social copy that will shed light on who you are, why you do what you do, and why people would be crazy not to buy your pet product.
Always write with your brand voice in mind
When it comes to writing captions for your social media content, a rule of thumb is to approach your copywriting with this in mind: you can’t tell people what they should do if you can’t say it yourself.
That means that if you want to give people a subtle nudge in the right direction (like going to your website to purchase your product), you have to say it in a way that makes sense for and with your brand.
What many of us are guilty of doing is slapping up words on a post and hoping for the best - despite the fact that this can often mean leaving audiences with no real or clear direction as to what they should do now. Should they move on, or visit your website?
If you’re not cognizant of how you use your brand’s voice and tone when crafting captions for social media content, you could be missing out on capturing the attention of your audience - and that means missing out on potential sales!
Let’s break down how you can implement your brand voice into your social captions!
SAY IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT -> Your captions give context to your content, which means whatever you say to your audiences online has to be clear and sensical. Don’t use flowery language if it isn’t going to give people a clear picture of what action you want them to take. Instead, use captions as an opportunity to speak to your audiences through words the same way you would if they were standing right in front of you.
GET DOWN TO BRASS TACKS -> How do you want people to feel when they read your captions and look at your content? One thing life and brand coaches excel at with social copy is that they use emotive and sensory language that makes readers feel an intended emotion. You can do the same by applying your brand voice to every social caption you write.
WRITE WITH INTENT, ALWAYS -> We mentioned above that when you write social captions without giving much thought as to how they should perform, you end up losing out on creating clear intent and direction with your audiences. Instead, you want to write captions with intention - don’t just write for the sake of writing but create a feeling and course of action.
Engagement should be the core goal of your social copy
You’ve probably heard by now that Engagement is one of the key metrics brands monitor when it comes to marketing their brands and products online. And there’s good reason for that: engaging audiences can build trust, loyalty, and brand awareness!
Beyond photos and videos, audiences will identify with your brand through the captions and words you use to get your message across. That happens when you create content that your audiences care about and can relate to.
Think about it: if a brand posts content that you can relate to, empathize with, and garner value from, we’re more likely to share it with friends and family versus a post that just shows a product or fun photo. When people find content relatable and shareable, they engage with it, and that’s how you grow brand awareness and get more people joining in on the conversation
Let’s break down how you can create captions that make people care and want to engage!
C - Create content that speaks to a common challenge your audiences have and that you have a solution for.
A - Assure audiences through your social captions that you understand their challenge and have been in their shoes (this is similar to Apple’s 3 A’s of customer service!)
R - Relatability should be at the core of how you write your captions, so audiences know that you empathize with their challenge or pain point
E - Engage your audiences by using social captions to give direction and encouragement for audiences to interact and engage with your brand online
Lead with your hook (this is key!)
Whether you write long, story-like social captions or short, to-the-point blurbs, every social caption has key “real estate” or space where you can hook the audiences’ attention. And that space is the opening/beginning of your social caption.
That means leading with your hook, always.
For example, if you’re launching a new product and want to give your followers information about the benefits of the products, ingredients or materials, and other details that make the product amazing, an overview of the new product should go at the front of your caption. This is called “frontloading”, because everything a customer needs to know about the product that would hook their attention is given immediately!
Let’s look at an example!
A pet food brand has just launched a new dog treat made with 100% organic and locally raised freeze-dried chicken, free from additives and artificial preservatives and flavour. This is the brand’s first time creating and selling a dog treat, and they want their audiences to get super excited about the new product.
Let’s say that the pet food brand had originally written the following caption for an Instagram post promoting the new product: “Does your dog love treats? What about organic treats? We’re launching a new product, and we’re so excited to share with you a sneak peek!”
The problem with the sample caption above is that it doesn’t tell potential customers right away what makes the product great, or why they should love it or get excited about it. Instead, they could have written:
“Guess what? We’re launching our NEW healthy dog treats made with 100% real organic chicken locally raised right here in BC!” This hooks the reader by providing everything they need to know about the product up front before moving into the rest of the details.
Keep the story going
A popular technique that copywriters use to keep a story open and ongoing is called the “Open Loops” technique, which keeps audiences interested in a topic or conversation because the story remains ongoing.
This same technique can be applied to your social captions, and it’s super simple!
Instead of laying everything out from A to B, use your hook to grab your audience’s attention, then hint at the rest of the “story” through your caption. If you’re launching a new product, give the pertinent information up front, then continue telling the story across social media posts and captions.
The benefit of the “Open Loops” technique is that you can continue building curiosity around your brand and products, which psychologically spurs audiences to want to know more and get to the end of the “story”.
Be yourself 100% of the time
While larger pet brands may not always have the luxury of being personable 100% of the time, the great thing about social media is that it offers the opportunity to form real connections and relationships with audiences that turn followers into customers.
And even big brands can do that! But it’s especially beneficial for smaller pet businesses. Here’s why...
We mentioned above that engagement starts with creating content that people care about and relate to. A pretty huge part of that is being personable and real with your audiences. As a small pet business, you have the luxury of being able to connect with audiences on a more personal level, where you can share brand updates, highs and lows, and have real conversations about what it’s like to be a small business owner.
This may not seem like the type of content you’d talk about on your brand’s social media, but you’d be surprised at how far relatability and personality can take your brand.
Let’s look at a few ways you can be more personable through social captions!
Incorporate a sense of humour into your posts, within reason, of course! This could be a cheeky emoji, a fun joke, wit or light satire, or an upbeat call-to-action
Use every caption to answer a “question” you yourself would have if you were a customer buying your own product
Use “we” and “you” to personalize your captions
Use your captions to ask questions and encourage your audiences to engage by leaving comments or telling your brand what they love about your products
Finally, know your audience
You can easily avoid one of the most common mistakes many brands make when it comes to their social copy: not knowing your audience(s).
By understanding how audiences on different social platforms interact with and consume your social content, you’re better able to engage those audiences and keep the story of your brand and products going!
For example, let’s say you use Instagram and Facebook for your dog leash brand. Instagram is a perfect platform for using social captions to give context to your great product photography, because Instagram is a visual platform first. You can share everything from product photos to product demos and even feature customer photos (with permission, of course!).
Facebook, on the other hand, is great for sharing video content with your audiences and giving customers a way of interacting with you on a customer-service level! Many customers turn to social media as a customer service tool when contacting brands, so you can engage through social captions AND by using social copy to encourage interactions.
The key is understanding that each platform has different audiences, and so your use of social copy will be different on Facebook versus Instagram. And that’s perfectly normal, but also gives you the chance to promote your products and brand to different people!
Ready to take your social content to the next level?
We get it - you’re a busy pet brand owner with a focus on driving sales, not managing pesky content calendars. And while social media can help grow your business (and acquire customers, to boot) sometimes we all need a little helping hand in optimizing our social channels to work for us - not the other way around!
At StreetDog Marketing, we’ve got the inside scoop on how to make social work for your business, and we’d love to help you work smarter (not harder!). Feel free to contact us to learn more about how our team can help you succeed on social!