If there's one social media question I receive more than any other, it's this...With over 4.75 billion pieces of content shared daily on Facebook alone, how do you get seen? And more than that, how do you encourage your audience to take action?
While visibility and engagement are tough nuts to crack, my answer is simple. Get specific. Because without a clear call to action, your fans and followers have no directive.
Should they comment, click, like, share, or retweet? Or do they simply read and move on? More than likely, the latter is happening to you. So let's get to it and put a straightforward call to action into play.
Below are 5 elements of the perfect call to action. Add 1 or add 2 - each piece will spice up your social media posts starting today.
1. Compelling content
If you plan on using a call to action to:
- Boost your social media engagement
- Drive traffic to your website
- Convert readers into buyers
- Turn fans and followers into lifelong, raving fans
Content is the most important factor. And not just any content, but content that's aligned with your business goals. So how do you determine what type of content you should share? You can inject three main types of content into your social media mix immediately.
a. Content that educates
This is the number one content marketing choice for most B2B and B2C businesses. Have a long sales cycle? Educational content can walk your prospects through the consideration process. Share content that helps your readers evaluate their options. It should also elevate the experience around your business.
b. Content that entertains
People love entertainment. From Gifs to Memes, this type of content is heavily shared across social media. It usually involves videos, comic strips, images, and webisodes. It's entertaining and visually appealing. It's likable, shareable, and often the most engaging content on social media.
c. Utility content
Utility content helps your audience do certain things and make the right decisions. This type of content does not tell stories – it gives users tools to get from point A to B. Utility content is what your fans and followers need to make an informed decision. So, which type of content sounds most appealing to your audience? Your goal is to choose one and create unique content that you'll share with your audience. Choose from the list below:
- Quote graphic
And while you're creating content, this should go without saying. Before you post, take a few minutes to read it over. Any content that's littered with typos and grammatical errors is a huge turn-off. Always, always read the messages you schedule. Make sure they’re true to your brand (and typo-free!)
Even if the information is valuable, a bunch of mistakes makes you look sloppy. This, in turn, makes your business look sloppy and unprofessional. That’s why it’s important to edit ruthlessly or have an editor review. Never hit publish on any piece of content until it’s reviewed for:
2. Copy that's concise
Want to attract attention on social media? Get to the point. Stop the rambling and save the detailed content for your website. On social media, you're speaking in what we called in radio, "sound bites."
It's that quick snippet that best highlights the topic and your key takeaway. TV employs this same idea too. Think about it...You're watching your favorite show when a commercial for the evening news comes on. Did they give you the full details or a long, drawn-out explanation? Of course not.
Instead: They drew you in with a quick highlight to whet your appetite. They gave you enough of a taste that you knew you didn't just want a snack. You wanted the full meal!
That's exactly what your social media CTA's should do. Give just enough to entice. Why? Because too many words can be a buzzkill. But the right amount (think short and sweet) can convert much faster.
This Moz Top 10 graphic was revised 6 times. Easy to see which one has the highest click-through rate.
How to use this idea in your business
On social media, people are moving fast. They're glancing at content and moving on. If you want to pique their interest, keep it snappy. Use a tool like LetterCount.com to write your posts. Start with your first draft, count your letters (characters), and now whittle it down. Remove any weakening words or modifiers that do little to contribute to your copy.
For example: totally, definitely, maybe, probably, unfortunately, however. All are a waste and do nothing to impact your audience's decision.
Here's a quick example:
What if Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, had said - “Your brand 'may be or probably or could be what people say about you when you're not in the room.”Instead of...“Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room.”
Kinda losses impact, right? Don't do the same to your social media CTA. You have a short amount of space to get your point across. Make sure your words pack a punch.
“Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room.” Jeff Bezos #InfluencerChat pic.twitter.com/iiplmJm3rW— Rebekah Radice (@RebekahRadice) June 8, 2016
Make every character count
So, what's the ideal character count for social media? Hubspot breaks down Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. And maximize the engagement you see with every word you write. Facebook -
- The ideal length of a status update: 40 characters
- The ideal length of a tweet: 71-100 characters with a link
- The ideal length of a post: 60 characters
3. Plays to your strengths
Whether you’re just starting on social media or have been at it for a while, it's easy to forget your why. Why are you using social media for your business? And who are you looking to connect with?
I'm assuming people are looking for your product or service. With that in mind, it only makes sense to stick with topics that draw them to you.
But all too often, I see one common mistake. Companies post irrelevant content that has nothing to do with their area of expertise. I'm sure you've seen it too. You follow your favorite landscaping company because you're looking for inspiration. Your garden isn't going to grow on its own after all.
But then one day, they start posting recipes. What the? Why? Because they got lost. They got derailed by the lure of that horrible sickness known as...WEEID. What everyone else is doing. Don't be this company. Stick with your plan. One that's focused on the needs of your audience.
“The aim of marketing is to know the customer so well the product or service fits and sells itself.” Peter Drucker pic.twitter.com/eGuZLC63qT
— Rebekah Radice (@RebekahRadice) May 18, 2016
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying you can't mix up your content, because you should. Just make sure it speaks the language of your fans or followers. And always ask yourself...Is this content aligned with my brand? Is it valuable, educational, or entertaining? If the answer is no, toss it.
Ask yourself with each tweet, is this content aligned with my brand? Is it valuable, educational, entertaining? If no, toss it! #TwitterTips— Rebekah Radice (@RebekahRadice) June 16, 2016
4. Includes an eye-catching image
Struggling to increase organic Facebook engagement? Visual content could be the key. According to a study by AdRoll, adding CTA's to your Facebook Page can increase the click-through rate by 285%. And how about Twitter?
Kissmetrics found that content with a relevant image gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. There's no doubt about it, visual content can have a huge impact on your CTA. If you want to inspire your audience to take action, intersperse fun, relatable, educational, and informative visuals.
You don’t need to do a hard sell to get people to buy from you. You need authentic, targeted information that offers insight into who you are and why they need to take action with you today.
5. Moves traffic to your website
I'm going out on a limb here and presuming you have a website and social media profiles for your company. I'll take another stab in the dark and assume you're using that website to capture leads, contacts and sales. But here's the rub. I'm guessing your social media call to action isn't aligned with that goal.
Your first step is understanding the 3 categories your audience is split into. There are those who...
- Follow you on social media but haven't engaged your business
- Follow you on social media and are a past client/user/buyer
- Don't follow you on social media, but need your product/service
Each one is an opportunity to engage, renew or create a new relationship. So how do you begin to take them from your social sites over to your website? Be clear in what you're asking them to do. A strong call to action has one objective. Get people over to your site.
The only way to do that is to make the text in your post or tweet irresistible. It should include everything they need to know to stop, drop and read. It also needs to offer guidance and direction.
What words to use in your CTA
Most calls to action are in the form of a simple statement. That statement encourages and motivates the reader to take the next step. It can also turn them off. That's where the power of words comes in.
Here's a few that Sprout Social has found to make the biggest impact. Sprinkle them into your content to create urgency and interest.
Sense of Urgency
- Only X days left
- Limited supply
- Closing soon
- While supplies last
- Today only
- Last chance
- Offer ends on “date”
- Request an invitation
- Now closed
- Members Only/Subscribers only
- Only available to ___
- Limited spots
- Exclusive access
Which element within those CTA examples are right for you? And which one will you add to your social media posts? The main thing to remember is that no CTA will suddenly drive a lot of traffic to your website.
Like any other marketing tool, you need to put some strategy behind how you use it. Then begin to test regularly. Iterate as you see necessary, changing one thing at a time.Identify a champion and then rinse and repeat.
About Rebekah Radice
Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.