Tips on writing for email vs. writing for social media

By Austin Ray
Best practices

From time to time, we invite industry influencers to write a guest post on our blog. We turned to our friends from @MailChimp to share their writing tips.

As a business owner, you know you need content. But it’s easy to get overwhelmed with options. What makes sense for email? What’s the best way to approach social media? And how should those two channels work together? 

Generally speaking, social media is best for quick hits of information used to spread personality and awareness. And email is best for slightly longer content that leads to conversions. But the two can dovetail nicely in a certain way, and they’ll always vary from business to business. Below are some simple best practices that can help you make the most of your content and sell more stuff.

Brevity is essential for social...

Space is a limitation on social media, but it can also help you distill your message down to the essentials. Keep it short and sweet, and make sure your words support any links or images that also appear in your posts.

...but it can be put to good use in email, too.

Your customers don’t want to read a novel when they’re perusing your latest store items. A tidy paragraph or two with a photo and a CTA should do the trick nicely. Use clear, direct language, linking out to longer content where necessary. Read your words out loud before sending to make sure they sound human.

Know your audience.

You know your customers better than anyone else. Do they spend a lot of time on Twitter and rarely engage with emails? Maybe you should be Tweeting your sales more often, then. More than just channel considerations voice and tone and personality come into play. At MailChimp, we know a lot of our customers respond well to our personality, which is a little offbeat sometimes. That won’t be the case for every business.

Have fun and be yourself.

Social is a place for personality. Try emojis, experiment with hashtags, let your personality shine. Since Tweets are ephemeral, they’re a great way to test ideas. They can even be a way to try out longer content ideas. Ask your customers what they want from you, then expand on that in an email later.

Repurposed content is your friend.

Running a business is hard and time-consuming. While it would be nice to have the time and resources to write original content every day, that’s simply not reasonable for most business owners. This is where repurposed content comes in. Roundups of relevant previous content, bestseller lists, photos from social media, popular evergreen posts: there are dozens of ways you can repurpose old content in a new light for both social and email audiences.

Teamwork makes the dream work.

Use your social following to build up your newsletter subscriber base by tweeting out links to your signup page. Then, use your newsletters to build up your social following with social share buttons. It’s a virtuous cycle.

Write, test, repeat.

At the end of the day, trial and error is a great way to figure out what content works best for your business on your social media and email marketing channels. Don’t be afraid to try something new and fail. And remember, even if shoppers aren’t always purchasing something from you, they’ve chosen to become part of your community, including the engagement that comes with that. That’s the first step toward selling them something. Lean into it, and show some personality. That’s why they love you, after all.

Additional reading:

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