write-to-convertHow are your social conversion rates? I am sure I heard some mental groans from readers, so I am going to assume they aren't great. Or, at least, they could stand to see some improvement. It really isn't your fault; social copy is hard to get right. There are so many variables, and it is a fairly new area that isn't like traditional (or even modern content) marketing.

Would you be surprised to learn that the most successful sites will AB test their content like crazy, specifically for social reasons? Headlines and calls to action are pitted against various variations to find the perfect and most highly performing patterns. It is exhaustive and tedious work that most of us just don't have the resources for.

One of the things to experiment with to convert social copy into clicks (or sales through those clicks) is by establishing a set of words that are (not) good to use on different platforms. It is a simple way to attract people to your social posts, which in turn makes them more likely to find their way to your linked content or website.

Words that Convert

Quicksprout did a study on this very issue, and they came up with some interest facts. They also provided some great advice. Let's look at some of it now:

  • Words have to be persuasive enough to drive our decision making process, subtly manipulating how we respond to certain information. Select the right words and you can push more people into clicking your links.
  • Use those trigger words in context. This can only be done by having a basic understanding of why those words are persuasive, and in what combination you will see the most benefit.
  • Different social platforms will have different persuasive words. While it doesn't state why, my personal belief for this phenomenon is that people will use different social networking sites for different reasons / in different ways. That may also inform their personality, when looking at what platform they have chosen to use. Twitter is more trendy and quickfire, for example, and Facebook is more user friendly and robust.
  • social-media-copyOn Facebook, your best bet is running a promotion or contest of some kind. That way you can use words like Win and Winning. However, avoid actually using the words Contest or Coupon, which you would normally think were positive triggers. They turn the average Facebook user off of the post. However, Events seems to be perceived as a positive.
  • Twitter is more about direct promotion. So words like New Post, Free, and Blog are all popular and will get your attention more quickly. Your followers should respond especially well, as it indicates an update on your site. How To and Great are also on the list, as is (strangely) the number 10. Maybe due to Top 10 lists and their popularity.
  • LinkedIn is a professional platform, so it isn't surprising to learn that professional words are the most useful. Increased, Developed and Accomplished all indicate progress. Even Reduced is positive, because it can so easily be attributed to benefits (reducing costs), unlike the word Decreased, which has a more negative connotation. Avoid Strategic, Innovative and other buzzwords that are used to death in the business world with little meaning behind them.
  • Most interesting was their Google Plus section. Words like Promote, Create and Discover were the most widely used and well received. That probably shows you the direction the network has taken on since its inception. The fact that creative and technical professionals are the most likely to use Google+ as a regular platform can be clearly seen in its list of positive social copy.

The Importance Of Headlines

Probably the single most important text element in social copy is the headline (image+headline).

Headline is the one part of your content that you should be truly agonizing over, in order to get the very best title possible. If you have a good headline, it will attract people to your link. If they are attracted, they will click. If they click, you have the chance to convert them, whether that is a product, content, or an idea.

Think of headline as the hook. When you cast it into the ocean of the social web, you want the best bait on the tip for the waters you are fishing from. Which is where the information above comes in.

You should be tailoring your headlines to meet your social needs. Which means not auto-updating them when your content is published, but writing individual headlines that will attract users.

Let's say you have written a blog post titled '101 Ways To Feed Your Wombat On $2 Per Day. You would want to write a different headline for each site, so it might look something like this (Note: I don't consider yourself a headline expert, so please suggest better options ;)):

  • Facebook: Should You Be Spending More Than $2 Per Day Feeding Your Wombat?
  • Twitter: How To: Feed Your Wombat On Just $2 Per Day!
  • LinkedIn: How I Reduced Wombat Care Costs and Came In Under Budget
  • Google Plus: I Discovered A Way To Feed My Wombat For Less... Share This!

You are using buzzwords that will attract, but specializing your social copy to take advantage of the audience that primarily uses that platform. It is a win-win for both you and your readers. You get more targeted copy with higher conversions, they get valuable content they might have overlooked.


If you take the time to narrow down your focus, you will see an improvement in your conversions. A lot of it has to do with customization. While you might not have the resources and time available to come up with viral leads every time, it will at least give you a boost in numbers. That is all any of us can usually ask for.