I recently read an article on Buffer that shared several old-school copywriting formulas and how they apply to social media. The great part about the data available to digital marketers is that these formulas can be tested and validated.
I spent almost a decade in print journalism, more specifically as a sports writer, where formulas for quick and standardized copy were essential. When you wrap coverage of an event at 11:30PM and your deadline is 12PM, you don’t have the luxury of worrying about structure and format. You need to have that part laid out. The same is true in social media marketing, only we’re able to test and measure the results.
With that in mind, and the successful structures we’ve seen here at Simply Measured, I wanted to share two of my favorite Tweet-copy structures. By pairing these with our 10 Tips for the Perfect Tweet, and a well-developed calendaring system, your time spent on social media admin activities should be cut significantly.
Before, After, Bridge
Great copy helps you understand a problem, find a solution, and it evokes emotion as it does so. This tactic boils down that concept in a way that you can fit in 140 characters.
Before: Here’s your world, here’s your problem
After: Imagine what it’d be like to have that problem solved
Bridge: Here’s how to get there
This tactic is perfect for social updates with limited space because it hits the pain point and the solution in short form:
Buffer’s Kevan Lee describes how they apply this tactic at Buffer:
This is our current go-to formula for the Buffer blog. Describe a problem, describe a world where that problem doesn’t exist, then explain how to get there. It’s a super simple setup, and it can work for blog post intros, social media updates, email, and anywhere else that you write (or speak, for that matter). – Kevan Lee
Problem, Agitate, Solve
While the first option presented a problem and a solution coupled with a positive emotion (anticipation of a better future), you can also go the opposite direction, evoking frustration.
Problem: Here’s what you’re struggling with
Agitate: Here’s why it sucks and could continue to suck
Solve: Here’s the alternative
If the solution you present is a direct response to a problem that your audience regularly faces, this is a great formula, allowing you to discuss the problem and use that as the emotional focus of your lead.
You’re looking at one of the most popular copywriting formulas out there. Copyblogger calls this formula the key to dominating social media. It’s ever-present in copywriting lists and tips. – Kevan Lee
Like everything, be sure to test these and identify the most successful tactics for your own brand. For a comprehensive guide to measuring your content on Twitter, download our Complete Guide to Twitter Measurement: