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

Writing Copy is Easy. Writing Great Copy is Tough

Pah! Writing is simple. writing copy

All you do is write down a load of stuff about your company that tells the customer how great you are and that they should buy from you.

If that’s what you truly believe your website is probably way under performing and your marketing materials are falling on deaf ears.

Any professional copywriter will tell you that writing copy is quite easy (once a fill brief has been obtained and the research done), but things start to get tricky when you refine and edit your text to create the final draft.

How to edit your copy effectively

1. Going from long to short

It’s much, much easier to cut copy down that to pad it out, so always overwrite.

Write anything that comes to mind and then, once the first draft is finished, go back through it, be ruthless and strip out anything that’s sloppy, doesn’t fit or is irrelevant. You might also want to rearrange your copy to create a better flow.

2. Find the perfect start

A common mistake by many writers is to waffle before getting to the point. When looking back through your copy, you may well find that the first paragraph or two don’t really drive the message you want to get across. If that’s the case, cut them and start the copy from where it really gets going.

3. Be lean, mean and active

What does that mean? Well, your copy should be fast and easy to read, that means short sentences and paragraphs with simple vocabulary and punctuation.

As for the active part, this happens when you use active verbs. Rather than saying “you can improve your sales technique” try “improve your sales technique”.

4. Build credibility

You build credibility by not over promising. Make sure your claims are realistic, which can be reinforced by admitting a limitation, such as “We can’t promise to make you a millionaire over night, but our investment course will help you identify the right places to put your money.”

Credibility also relates to the price you’re asking for your product. The idea is to show the value of what you’re offering. Saying “you will have access to over £300,000 worth of photos for just £29 per month” shows value for money as opposed to “subscribe for £29 per month for unlimited access”.

As you can see, there is far more to writing copy that first meets the eye.

Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd

Interesting Digital Marketing Stats.

I don’t know about you, but I find digital marketing stats fascinating. They give a bird’s eye view on what’s happening in the digital arena, which can often prove enlightening offering inspiration to try new strategies in your own marketing.

This little round up come courtesy of a recent article I read in Econsultancy:

Tablets encourage older generations to go online

  • The number of people aged 65 and over accessing the internet has risen by more than a quarter in the past year, according to the latest Ofcom Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report 2014.
  • The proportion of people aged over 65 that are accessing the internet reached 42% in 2013, a 9% rise from 33% in 2012.
  • One major reason for this is an increase in the use of tablet computers by older people aged 65-74. In just one year, the number of older people using tablets has increased from 5% in 2012 to 17% in 2013.
  • These findings come from a survey of 2,674 adults aged 16+.

Uncluttered sites aid ad recall

  • An eye-tracking study by Adblock Plus has found that ads on clean, uncluttered sites are far more likely to be effective.
  • Similarly, static ads are much easier to understand and far more positively received than flashy animated ones.
  • Participants spent 30% more time looking at ads on the ‘clean’ test sites, and were able to recall ads on these straightforward sites 64% of the time, a 36% improvement compared to the cluttered sites.

Twitter use varies for SMEs vs. big business

  • A survey of just over 100 marketers by SocialBro found that 57% of respondents are spending at least 50% more on Twitter marketing compared with two years ago, with 15% of respondents stating that their spending has tripled.
  • While the majority of SMEs (up to 200 employees) rated brand building as their key reason for using Twitter with lead generation in second place, bigger companies with 500+ employees were much more likely to list acquiring new customers as a top priority along with building relationships with influencers.

UK adspend predicted to hit £20bn by 2015

  • According to the latest quarterly Expenditure Report from the Advertising Association and Warc, UK adspend reached £17.88bn in 2013, up 3.9% year-on-year. It is predicted to rise by 5.5% in 2014 and by a further 6.5% in 2015.
  • Mobile adspend is predicted to continue to grow rapidly after increasing by 95.2% to just over £1bn in 2013 (within total internet adspend of £6.3bn) and is expected to rise by 73% in 2014 and by 45.5% in 2015.

4G drives higher mobile shopping?

  • More than two thirds (68%) of 4G users feel that faster access to the internet encourages them to make more purchases from their smartphone, according to a survey by eDigitalResearch and IMRG.
  • Similarly, more than half (54%) of 4G users surveyed have shopped online from their mobile compared to just under a third (32%) of non-4G smartphone owners.
  • And 70% of 4G users have browsed retail websites from their mobile, compared to under half (48%) of non-4G users who have done the same.
  • However it’s important to note that there is no evidence of a causality between 4G access and higher use of m-commerce.

Facebook comes top for mobile referrals

  • Data from Quantcast shows that Facebook accounts for a quarter (24%) of mobile referrals to top news and entertainment publishers.
  • In contrast Twitter accounts for 7% and Pinterest just 2%.
  • Quantcast looked at referral traffic for the top 250 publishers over the past year.

Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd

Should You Be Using Google+?


In my last post I talked about the potential end of the road for Google+ following the recent resignation of Vic Gundotra.

What does that mean for your business?

If you are a forward-thinker and have invested time, money and resources into a social media marketing strategy, where do the rumours leave you?

Well that rather depends on how you regard the platform.

Is it an SEO tool?

Google+ has never been (and is unlikely to become) an SEO sure thing.

Certainly, the public content and links offer potential SEO benefits, but they should by no means be the sum total of your SEO efforts.

One of the main benefits is Authorship that places your Avatar beside your content in the search results, which potentially offer a visibility benefit over the other search results, but that’s pretty much it.

It’s at the core of my social media marketing strategy

Having a business or personal presence on Google+ isn’t going to lead to fame, fortune and a shed load of business.

If you have gathered some connections and used the circles feature to organise them into like-minded groups and customer segments, then your Google+ account will be beneficial. You can send relevant content by email to specific circles, which can prove beneficial.

And, of course, there’s also Google Hangouts, images and post tagging that all help you build your profile.

Content marketing amplifier

One of the great things about Google+ is the ability to add blog length posts as well as just sharing links and images.

As with all other social media platforms, the more you share the more you’ll get back. If you just amplify other peoples’ posts, you won’t be listened to.

So, does it have a future as part of your marketing strategy?

As with every other decision you make, evaluate its impact according to your current needs.

Is it effective?

Are your customers and those who influence them active on it?

Can you create value for those audiences to support your business objectives?

Above all, keep an eye on what’s happening. If there’s a chance it could be shelves ask yourself if there is any point in investing time and resources into it.

And, if you were hoping for significant SEO value boost in the near future, forget it, it’s not going to happen.


Author: Sally Ormond – UK Copywriter at Briar Copywriting Ltd

Is It The End of The Road For Google+?

I’ve spent ages trying to get to grips with Google+

Yes, it’s yet another social media platform to get your head around, but considering it’s from Google it’s got to be good for business, right?

You can imagine my horror after reading a recent report in Techcrunch announcing that Google is planning to move 1000-1200 employees from its three-year-old social network to other divisions (its thriving Android mobile platform) just a week after the news about Vic Gundotra’s resignation, one of the chief architects of the Google+ project.

Techcrunch writes:

What we’re hearing from multiple sources is that Google+ will no longer be considered a product, but a platform – essentially ending its competition with other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Google has apparently been reshuffling the teams that used to form the core of Google+, a group numbering between 1,000 and 1,200 employees. … As part of these staff changes, the Google Hangouts team will be moving to the Android team, and it’s likely that the photos team will follow. Basically, talent will be shifting away from the Google+ kingdom and towards Android as a platform, we’re hearing.

Initially launched in 2011, Google+ has served both as a social network in an attempt to take on Facebook and Twitter and an identity service for Google to track users across services like YouTube, Gmail and Google Maps. The report suggests that Google are now backing away from this original strategy.

Google was quick to deny the report, with an issue stating: “Today’s news has no impact on our Google+ strategy—we have an incredibly talented team that will continue to build great user experiences across Google+, Hangouts, and Photos.”

Have your say

I’m interested to hear your thoughts about this, especially whether you’ve found Google+ useful.

Many people have found it confusing and at times clunky. How about you? Are you a Google+ fan?


Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd