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How to Write Social Media Posts so People Pay Attention

How to Write Social Media Posts so People Pay Attention

How to Write Social Media Posts so People Pay Attention

Do you struggle with how to write social media posts that engage and make people pay attention? You’re not alone. The pandemic has created new societal norms and an increasing number of people are working and conducting day-to-day life mostly from home. More and more businesses and individuals are forced to become aware of the importance of their online presence and digital marketing strategies. Most of them are scrambling to catch up. Like it or not, social media is a huge part of that and is a growing epicenter for the promotion of products and ideas. 

Have you ever wondered what makes certain social media posts stand out and get tons of likes, comments, and shares? Have been frustrated that your posts get almost no engagement? Don’t worry! We are here to help. 

There are a few important elements that most successful social media posts have in common that you can start adding to your own to instantly boost the quality of your content today!

In a nutshell, they are:

  1. Use an attention-grabbing headline or caption
  2. Use quality pictures
  3. Have something to say
  4. Be conversational and concise
  5. Use humor

Let’s take a closer look at why these elements are so important if you’re struggling with how to write social media posts that really engage.

1. Use an Attention-Grabbing Headline or Caption

Lesson #1 in how to write social media posts so people pay attention is arguably the most important element: the headline/caption. Why is the headline so important? Because the quality of your content and what you have to say to your readers is relatively worthless if no one stops to read it! A well-written headline will be able to grab the attention of those who might otherwise just scroll past your post. It is what will make them actually stop to take a look. On average, 80% of people will read your headline, but only 20% of those people will read the rest of your content. Clearly the headline is important. 

So, what goes into writing a killer headline or caption? Here are a few things to start with:

  • Use numbers. Numbers are said to be like “brain candy” amidst pages full of words because they represent organization your mind craves, and your brain will subconsciously look for them. People read through so much content each day that scanning and speed reading is mainly what time permits. A number instantly suggests an easy-to-scan organized list and specific content amounts, more easily promising to be worth the time investment.
  • Use power words. Power words are words that have specific strong emotions inherently attached to them and adding one or a few of these in your headline or caption is essential. Some of the best power words are “new” and “free.”
  • Ask a question. A headline that asks a question creates action in the mind of the reader by already creating a logical “next step” of wanting to know the answer, and therefore is more specifically enticing.

2. Use Quality Pictures

“A picture is worth 1,000 words”. If you are wondering how to write social media posts that make people really pay attention, this phrase has never been truer. With Instagram increasingly becoming the most popular of the major social media outlets, people are beginning to expect pictures to catch their eye and interest, so the quality of pictures used is crucial. A well-crafted or chosen picture can convey what would take volumes of words to say so you can keep your actual word count and captions shorter and your overall message will be clearer and more successfully delivered. 

Don’t have a fancy camera? That’s okay! Smartphones are always getting better cameras installed, so pictures on your phone are already starting off more professional-looking than they used to, and there are plenty of resources online for simple tips and little adjustments you can make to start posting better quality pictures from your smartphone. 

Still just really, really bad at taking pictures, or can’t come up with anything on your own to accompany your post? The internet still has your back. There are several websites, like Pixabay.com, with collections of quality stock photos that are free to use (others come with subscriptions) that can add that visual element a good social media post really needs. Just make sure to get permission and give credit where it’s due if you choose to use pictures that aren’t yours.

3. Have Something to Say

Sound obvious? That’s because it should be. However, this is an element in social media posts that is often overlooked. People are busy and don’t like to have their time wasted. If a source is doing that consistently they begin to lose trust in them and stop paying attention. So, one of the most essential elements in discovering how to write social media posts is to make sure your content has a clear point or message and doesn’t waste the time of potential readers. 

How do you make sure your content is clearly saying something?

  • Know your audience. The first step in conveying a message is understanding who you are trying to convey the message to. What are their interests or struggles? If you are trying to sell something, what are their needs and the solution you can provide?
  • Make sure there is an overall purpose to your post. Are you seeking to inform? Instruct? Relay something interesting? Tell a story? Or simply entertain? Make sure you know the purpose of your post, and that the purpose is achieved.
  • Do some research. So much misinformation is passed around on the internet and within social media circles. So do your research to make sure the information you are posting is accurate, truthful, and interesting.
  • Be original. Don’t just recirculate the same information and concepts over and over or get stuck in a cycle of only sharing duplicate content. In fact, search engines are beginning to reward original content and penalize duplicates. You will get more traffic to your blog or website if you keep it fresh. So it’s worth it to invest a little time, energy, and research to keep your content high quality and original. 

4. Be Conversational and Concise

Flowery language, lengthy sentences, lots of technical jargon, and outdated formats are great for college papers and research journals, but that is not how to write social media posts. 

The overall tone of a social media post should be just that – social. Keep your post conversational and concise, the way you would talk to a friend, and not overly wordy. Feel free to use personable elements like well-chosen and placed emojis, expressive punctuation, simple to understand terms, and things like ALL CAPS to help get a feeling or statement across. 

The global attention span is decreasing. So if you have a lot to say, use paragraphs. Break up the content and make it easier on the eyes to digest. Or, better yet, use a list format to keep it more simple, organized, and concise. 

Encourage engagement and conversation by making your content inviting and actionable. Ask questions, ask for comments, seek or give advice on how to apply a lesson right away, etc. Get people talking!


Don’t be afraid to be funny! If you really want to know how to write social media posts that get people’s attention, add humor to your writing. You are sure to spark some interest.

In one study, it was found that over 60% of all viral ads used humor in some way. So clearly humor is an easy way to get attention to your content. People are looking for it and hoping to be entertained online. Everyone loves to laugh, because laughter lightens your mood, reduces stress and anxiety, and can boost your immune system. 

When appropriate, having a humorous and playful tone and personality in the written voice for yourself or your brand makes you surprising and memorable. The fast-food chain Wendy’s has gone viral for applying this element in their Twitter account, and people can’t get enough. Humor is a fun commonality that brings people together. It can make a person or brand seem more relatable, personable, and trustworthy, and makes people look forward to your posts and content. 

There’s no way around it: social media is here to stay. So it is worth a little time and effort to ensure you are presenting quality content.  We hope you’ll try out some or all of these simple tips and start writing some killer, attention-grabbing social media posts today! 

If you need assistance with your social media presence, The Dock Line’s professionals can help! Visit www.thedockline.com or email us at [email protected]

Want to read more articles about digital marketing? Visit TheDockLineMagazine.com/OnlineWithDockLine

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