How to Create Social Media Headlines That Work

What are social media headlines?

The whole point of social media updates is to engage with your followers. That could involve showing them a video, illustrating something through an infographic, asking them to click on a link for an offer and it’s this last point I want to concentrate on.

The headline in social media terms can, at times, be the whole update. This is simply because of the character limitation imposed on some platforms. But the aim is to get the reader to click your link.

If you measure your effectiveness by shares, likes, comments and retweets you are missing the bigger picture. When a link is involved, the sole purpose of your update is to get clicks, so how is it done?

1. Ask them to download

OK, technically speaking an update that says: “Our new app will help you keep a track of your cash. Click here to download” is more of a call to action, but it’s still relevant here.

According to Twitter, after analysing 20,000 promoted tweets the most effective call to action was the one asking people to download something.

To make the most of this, offer an incentive for signing up to your email marketing list such as a downloadable eBook or something along those lines and tweet about it using the simple “click here to download” call to action.

2. Facebook wins

On Facebook (as with most other social media platforms) shorter updates work better than long ones.

The name of the game here is tempting your audience by hinting at something and offering a link to find out more. If you’re sharing a blog post, just offer a teaser and link through to the whole post.

3. Images

Facebook posts with an image out perform those without.


They immediately attract attention and stand out in the newsfeed. OK, although technically not a headline, an image can work in the same way.

4. Be active with your keywords

Dan Zarella has done some research in this area. These are not keywords in terms of what your customers use to search for you, rather a list of the most retweetable words and phrases Dan identified in 10,000 of the most retweeted tweets:

  • You
  • Twitter
  • Please
  • Retweet
  • Post
  • Blog
  • Social
  • Free
  • Media
  • Help
  • Please retweet
  • Great
  • Social media
  • 10
  • Follow
  • How to
  • Top
  • Blog Post
  • Check out
  • New blog post

Listed in order of popularity, using them within your tweets would have a positive impact in your click through and retweet rates.

Where does the active bit come in?

Well, Dan’s research also showed that using more verbs and adverbs and less nouns and adjectives also helped. That’s not all that surprising considering copywriting in general is much more effective using an active vocabulary.

Some words and phrases you can use are ‘act now’, ‘launch’, ‘save’, ‘boost’ and ‘earn’.

Make sure very tweet, status update and message you send out asks the reader to do something. Using the tips above you’ll soon see your click rate increased and, quite possibly, your sharing rate too.

Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd

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