How to write authentic captions for social media posts

advice | copywriting

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know I’m not a massive fan of that word – authentic. Unfortunately, it’s a word that has become overused in the last few years, especially when it comes to social media. And, folks, as much as people bang on about authenticity in social media, there’s still a massive contingent of fakeness going on. That’s probably why the word has lost its meaning of late. But I’m a big believer in honesty and showing the real you. There’s a lot to be gained from being open and genuine on social media. So, if you’ve ever wondered ‘How do I write authentic captions for my social media posts?’ then I’m going to show you right now!

how do I write authentic captions for my social media posts

Treat social posts like you would a blog post

As you know, blogging takes a bit of time, effort and planning. Unfortunately, I’ve seen far too many people not give social posts even half the amount of care and attention. Think about it. For some people, seeing your social posts is going to be the very first interaction they have with you and your business. And if you’ve posted a photo with a couple of emojis or a few words that don’t make much sense, there’s a good chance you’ve blown that first impression.

I often tell people not to overthink what they’re writing for social media. And I still stand by that. You shouldn’t let the paralysis of perfection stop you in your tracks from publishing some posts. But I do think a little more effort needs to be made than a quick, flippant comment too.

Here’s the thing. Social posts aren’t just about a great image (although that helps!). The words you publish with it also matter. People do read that stuff, you know!

So, what are the steps you should be taking to write those authentic captions for your social media posts? Buckle up.

#1: Talk to just one person

They may be a figment of your imagination, but you know them in intricate detail. You know their name, what they like to eat for breakfast, what colour socks they’ve got on and what their Starbucks order looks like. So, talk to them. Picture them right in front of you and say whatever it is you have to say directly to them. Forget everyone else. I guarantee you, being able to talk to that person just as you would someone standing or sitting across from you will pull out all the best of your genuine, heart-filled voice. And people will hear that too.

authentic captions social media

#2: Write how you speak

I know I say this a lot, but if you read your words aloud and they don’t sound like you, then you need to fix them! Get to know the intricacies of your speech, pick out the words you use and love. Then, when people come to meet with you in real life, they already know what you sound like. There’s nothing more authentic than that. 

#3: Ask questions

I’m hopeless at small talk. Chatting to a stranger at a networking meeting is something I struggle with. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this. If you don’t know what to say, ask a question and let others speak instead of you. Conversation is a two-way street, and that applies even in your social posts! Raise a point, ask a question and then let everyone have at it in the comments. But remember to engage and keep the conversation going!

#4: Begin strong

When it comes to authentic social media captions, that first line is the all-important one. If that first sentence doesn’t grab them, then they’re not going to carry on reading. And they certainly aren’t going to engage. Use that first line to identify a problem, or show you understand, or that you see them somehow. Grip them with the first line, and they’ll keep on reading to see what you have to say. That being said… avoid the clickbait! No one likes a fake intro that doesn’t deliver!

authentic captions social media

#5: It doesn’t have to all be roses

If there’s one thing distinctly inauthentic in social media these days, it’s the seemingly perfect lives people are having. But you know for a fact that life isn’t that pristine all the time. Thankfully, there are tons of people now who are starting to show the good and the bad side by side. Because, guys, life isn’t perfect and that’s ok! If you’re having a tough day, or you lost a client, or you made a mistake, it’s fine to share that on social media. It shows that you’re a human being. And people like that.

#6: Stop hedging, get specific

I hate those comments that pop up on my posts that say: ‘love this’ or ‘so good’. I dislike it even more when people speak that way in their posts. If you’ve got something to say, say it. And be specific about what you mean. It’s ok to have an opinion for crying out loud! There’s a fear, though, that saying the wrong thing will put people off. Well, folks, I’m here to tell you that THAT is a good thing. Of course, I don’t mean you should start spouting hatred or nastiness on your feed. But if there’s something you do or don’t like, it’s ok to say that. It’s not going to send people running for the hills (and if it does, did you even want them as your client anyway?!). Saying exactly what you mean is a sure-fire way to get authentic captions for social media posts.

#7: Let people see the real you

Yes, it’s time to show your face and let people see who you are! People will immediately find your words far more authentic if they can see the person who’s behind them. Tell some stories from your life, share a few facts about yourself and let people in a little. I’m not saying you have to bare all online, but it’s ok to share a few things! I shared a post recently about why I didn’t lose weight for my wedding day, and it had so much engagement. In fact, posts about myself do quite well in comparison to all the others! I do use posts about me sparingly, though. I don’t want it to turn into an “all about me” effort!

authentic let people see the real you

#8: Nevermind the Joneses

It doesn’t matter what other people are doing. Stop looking to them and trying to emulate them and just do you. Too many people think there’s a secret formula or set layout to running a business and I’m telling you there isn’t. There are no hard and fast rules. No right or wrong ways to do something. Go with your gut. Share what feels right and acceptable to you, not what you see others doing. There’s literally no more authentic way to write your social posts than just being yourself.

What about those CTAs? 

Of course, everything you’re putting out is a little piece of marketing for your business. And that means you really should be including a call to action. For some, CTAs can feel a bit inauthentic, salesy and even icky. But here’s what I tell everyone. A call to action doesn’t have to be a ‘buy now’ or ‘book here’. You can ask a reader to leave a comment and engage. You can ask them to follow your account, leave a like or share a post. You can ask them to sign up to your mailing list, leave a testimonial or ask a question. The list goes on. There are so many other alternatives to just the direct sales CTA that people often forget about.

I will say, though, that there are times when even I will create a post that has no call to action. It’s not often I do it, but it does happen. And it’s perfectly ok to do that too if asking for an interaction feels too weird. Again, back to point 8 – do what feels right for you!

authentic captions social media

Need help getting your socials in order? Drop me a message, and let’s have a chat! I’d love to see how I can help you.