Building a brand presence online is crucial: 43% of customers regularly purchase from companies they follow on Twitter. So, as informal as social media is, if you’re not writing posts that engage your audience, you’re not driving business to your store. Here are seven tips to help you write more effective and more compelling social media posts:

Use a Casual Tone

Use a Casual Tone - Target - Instagram
Image credit: Target

Language that’s too formal doesn’t engage social media viewers. Keep a friendly, casual tone in your posts and treat social media like it’s a conversation, because it is. Stay on top of online chatter with Connectivity’s Social Media Monitoring product so you can quickly respond to customers’ comments and concerns, and let them know you have their best interests in mind.

Keep It Brief

Airbnb - Twitter
Image credit: Airbnb

Customers don’t want to see blocks of text when they’re browsing social media, so make your point, quickly and directly. For Twitter, you should do it in less than 100 characters, and for Facebook, it’s even shorter: just 40 characters. Not all your posts have to be super short, but you don’t want to write an essay when you post on social media. Save your words for your blog.

Embrace Images

Facebook - Michael Kors
Image credit: Michael Kors

People love to look at images on social media. Photos on Facebook get an 87% interaction rate from users. Tweets with photos are 94% more likely to be retweeted. And according to a Google+ study, viewers were three times more likely to reshare a Google+ post if it included an image.

Ask Questions

Image credit: Amazon

Asking your readers a question gives them the opportunity to be part of the conversation with you. If you’re marketing a gardening store chain, ask your followers what they’ll be planting in the spring. If you’re promoting several restaurants, ask them about their favorite meal. By interacting with your followers online, you’ll increase engagement and learn more about your customers. (With Connectivity’s Customer Insights product, you can gain demographic information that you can use to tailor your social media posts to your target market.)

Offer Useful Information

Image credit: Etsy

If you’re in charge of marketing a boutique chain and the weather forecasters predict a cold snap, you can capitalize on that. Post a link to an article about the cold weather, and offer a special winter coat sale for your followers. It’s helpful for your readers, it gives them a reason to visit one of your stores, and it promotes your products. And on social media, the timelier the better.

Create a Clear Call-to-Action

Starbucks - Twitter
Image credit: Starbucks

Your followers aren’t mind readers so be upfront about your call-to-actions. The best ones are both specific and creative. Don’t just write “Our February newsletter is out. Read it here.” Readers might gloss over this. Instead, compose something more playful and engaging like “Ever wondered when the best time to plant your spring flowers is? Find out here.”

Double Check Your Posts

Image credit: Simply, Sylvie Says

Not everyone will notice if you’ve used the wrong version of “your,” but some people will, and it makes your company look less professional if you don’t catch it. Get a second set of eyes to read your content before you post it—you don’t want a great, creative idea to be diminished by a small typo.

These tips will have you well on the way to building a strong online presence. For more tips, check out our guide on setting up an effective social media marketing strategy.

Top image credit: mama_mia/Shutterstock

Alex Vaccaro is Vice President of Marketing and Client Services at Connectivity.