Hello, traveler. In past posts, you’ve heard me ramble occasionally about fictional characters and their importance to me. Well, for both our benefits, I’ve done some deep-diving into my own history and performed some mental dissections. I’ve put together an insight into my brain — and even created some visual goodies to promote it.
In a previous post, I discussed Gary Vaynerchuk’s catchphrase: “Content is King, But Context is God”. The research performed for said post allowed me to better understand the need for fine-tuned, tailored content — and made me realize why my own posts on social don’t perform well.
I’m a social person, but I’m by no means a social media marketer. I have the awful habit of posting, then disappearing (especially on my art Twitter). I don’t create what Vaynerchuk explains to be “context”, nor do I respect the context of my posts. I’ll usually copy/paste the same caption for every platform and hit send. Wrong. Content for Twitter =/= content for Instagram. I learned that the hard way.
I’ve just published “As in Life, So in Fiction” over on Medium, and I’d like to share it with my friends and connections on social. However, in order to do that, I need content with engaging and respectful context. I can’t just spam my timeline with the same mediocre, copy/pasted jargon, after all.
Let’s take a look at how I crafted each mockup.
I know that Twitter is a realm of discord and discourse where the shortest caption reigns supreme. It’s also one of the reasons I opted to not have any hashtags. I myself rarely see hashtags on Twitter nowadays unless someone’s participating in a trend. Omitting hashtags was the first decision I made in designing this post mockup. I don’t need to add to any pre-existing discourse.
After reviewing a set of social media post length guides I’ve referenced before, I eventually pared my caption down to 97 characters. Both #SMPerth and Hoootsuite suggest that shorter posts yield higher engagement, with a character limit of 71-100. Hyperlink characters unfortunately count towards your total, so I finalized the post by removing the “[Click to] read more” CTA I had. I’m hoping the emojis, the visual, and the bit.ly link are enough to entice viewers to click through.
Twitter (and every other social media platform, for that matter) is slowly turning into TikTok, where the “media embed” or visuals do all the heavy lifting. I wanted to lean into that with a striking image. The first visual that came to mind was the combination of art and reality — something that would illustrate the convergence of fantasy and reality. I (thankfully) had a digitally painted self-portrait on hand with its original reference photo.
I composited them in Photoshop, but wanted to push its message further. I’ve been a sucker for this year’s glassmorphism UI trend, so I blurred the background — then created a shape frame. I slapped some shattered glass in there for good measure, to drive home that “shattered barrier” motif. Hence the mirror and hammer emojis. Let’s smash some barriers, people.
For Instagram, I wanted to get a little abstract and experimental. I really wanted to further push the idea that fiction and reality exist in the same plane, and that one cannot exist without the other. I did a lot of digging for “reflection” and “abstract”/”experimental” photos on Unsplash, but the above by Serrah Galos stood out the most.
It truly embodied the concept that fiction is so close to reality that you can almost touch it. There’s a ton of other imagery and symbolism that this picture can (and does) represent, but it’s as specific as it is vague — which allows the viewer to form their own conclusion. I’m hoping this will create for meaningful and engaging context that will prompt the viewer(s) to respond/react, and hopefully click said “link in my bio”.
I’m hoping that my caption does the same. It’s both vague and specific enough to [hopefully] entice the viewer to go, “What is she talking about??” or, “Yeah, I totally relate”.
However, both #SMPerth and Hoootsuite agree that an ideal Instagram caption sits between 138 – 150 characters. Mine’s 160. I probably could’ve removed one of the beginning snippets (“Forever intertwined./Eternally inseparable.”), but it felt stilted. I needed that parallel: that “two sides to everything” platitude. I needed the symmetry. I’m hopeful that the symmetry creates for some visual harmony and enticement. I fear that without it, my audience will scroll right by and roll their eyes for my inattentiveness. Social posting is always a balancing act.
Both guides also establish that 5 hashtags is the sweet spot minimum. I used to be a serial “hashtagger”, so I tried to keep this post’s hashtag count short. Maybe I can fool the algorithm faster than I can fool myself.
LinkedIn is a more serious social platform. As such, I needed to take a more serious approach. This post is the one I spent the most time crafting a caption for, since LinkedIn engagements can be finicky. Hootsuite published a research article that found linkless posts to be superior to linked posts. I.E., posts without links perform better than those with and yield more engagement. Bad news for people like me who only share links on LinkedIn.
However, this article also placed heavy emphasis on content and context. “Converse with your audience” and “spark conversation” were 2 / 4 takeaways from the data collected.
My article doesn’t exactly spark conversation — it tells my side of the story in a way I hope will resonate and spark self-reflection in my readers. I would love nothing more for people to respond with their comfort protagonist or the villain that impacted them most, but there’s a reason that CTA is singular: Call to Action. It’s not Calls to Action. One action per demand. I’d rather people read my article first. That way context has been created for them to engage with.
RevenueZen’s Alex Boyd put together a list of 12 examples of successful LinkedIn posts. #1 and #3 on that list related to the self.
#1: Be Personal. Okay, another opportunity to talk about myself and how fiction/reality has impacted me. Perfect.
#3: Don’t Be Too Self-Promotional.
Well, now you’ve got me.
How do you post a link to something you’ve written and not be too self-promotional?
I ended up compensating by making the most 98% personal, 1% self-promotional, and 1% open-ended. I’m hoping that the last sentence will open the conversation enough so that viewers see the article as my take on a much larger, much more complex matter. I’m also heavily relying on that visual to do the talking for me.
Long text posts are the WORST.