We should always respect the people who have made the commitment to follow us on social media. Whether you’re an individual or a brand, your followers have essentially said “I like you and I want to hear what you have to say.”

Our followers deserve to be respected and they deserve careful, thoughtful, and valuable information in our messages. They are bombarned with messages on social media across several channels and their time is split many ways.

It’s important to be clear in social media messaging, which is why I advocate the use of “social labels” in social media copy when sharing and linking to content. By using social labels your followers know immediately what type of content you are sharing.

For my examples below I am using Twitter because it’s the only channel that has a built-in character limit. I want you to see how social labels can be used even in the spare copywriting environment of that SM channel. But social labels are appropriate for all of your SM channels, most critically for Facebook and LinkedIn, two channels where you frequently may share content or link to your own content.

In the example above we have let the user know that the content contains useful TIPS. Note that we use the social label as the first words of our social media message and we are pithy.

Here are more real-world examples:

An excellent way to highlight that your content comes from a primary source is to use INTERVIEW as the social label.

If you’re going to use the term GUIDE, make sure the content is detailed and very useful. Reminder: one of the main reasons to use social labels is to prepare your follower for what type of content they will see if they follow your link. Do not trick or disappoint them.

In this case, we use the social label to stand out from other Tweets and content, and we’re not linking to a piece of content, we’re sharing it within the channel we’re on:

This is one of my favorite social labels. People love quality lists. This one has 100 items on it and it’s an emotional, personal subject.

In this case, the social label tells you that if you follow the link you’ll see photos. The user is prepared for a journey through this subject. It’s an effective way to message.

One of my big pet peeves is when people share an enticing headline that motivates me, but when I follow it, a podcast window or download pops up. I love podcasts, but I do not want to be confronted with audio without being told ahead of time. I may also be on a mobile device where I cannot listen.