Complete Guide to Call-to-Action (CTA) in Social Media Marketing

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The use of social media in today’s business world is incredibly important, and the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts can be drastically improved with adequate use of call-to-action (CTA). First of all, by properly utilizing your CTA, you can motivate your sales funnel, thus increasing the profitability of your enterprise.

Second, by adequately implementing this element, you’re giving your customers exactly what they want, thus improving the overall customer satisfaction. Lastly, there is more than one way in which a proper CTA enhances the success of your digital advertising as a whole. All in all, here are several things that you have to know in order to get the most out of your social media marketing.

What is call-to-action in marketing?

The first thing you need to understand, in order to make a proper CTA, is to understand what the CTA in marketing is, to begin with. The simplest definition of the term would be to say that a CTA is a statement that is designed to cause an immediate response from your target audience.

From a technical standpoint, it’s a button or a link that your audience would click in order to sign-up, register, subscribe, buy, donate, share, follow or download something that you’re offering them. However, using this technique properly in the social media environment is something else entirely.

Why button?

Previously, we’ve mentioned the fact that a CTA can be a button or a link (or any clickable element really). However, there’s a reason why the majority of the business world opts for button design. You see, from a psychological standpoint, it was proven that the button shape helps people make up their mind a lot easier.

In fact, about 45 percent more people are likely to click a button-shaped CTA. Not only the shape but the color also makes a huge difference. For instance, it was proven that a red CTA also gets better results with about 21 percent greater click-through-rate (CTR) than its green counterpart.

What are some great CTA examples?

Previously, we’ve mentioned some of the most common phrases that are associated with CTA buttons (sign-up, register, subscribe…). Still, these are some of the most direct examples which don’t necessarily make them the most effective, especially in the world of social media.

There’s this thing known as a customer lifecycle which implies that not everyone is ready to commit to being a paying customer right away. Therefore, you might want to use an alternative phrase like “get started”, “learn more” or even something inclusive and inviting as “join us”. This decision, nonetheless, is mostly context-based.

Generally speaking, you can divide all the CTA on social media into four major categories. The first category is the opportunities to sign up, register, buy, etc. The second one is the share button, which is the simplest way of organically expanding your reach on social media. Then, you have social media links to your profiles and, lastly, you have the contact button. The choice of the CTA, once again, is determined by your immediate goals, intention and, of course, your industry.

CTA Improves your SEO

One of the most controversial topics in the world of SEO off-site optimization is the question of the impact of social media on your search engine rank. For instance, while it is true that search engines, like Google, display results from social networks, as well, these platforms usually have algorithms of their own.

Also, it’s dubious whether social media shares are really counted as backlinks. Still, according to the majority of veteran SEO experts, it’s undeniable that your social media activity affects your SEO rank. Here, proper utilization of CTA may be crucial.

How to Write a Call to Action

Setting goals

In one of the previous sections, we’ve mentioned the importance of making your CTA and your goals align. While your goals may seem as something subjective, at the moment, here are several of the most common goals to help you figure out what you really want in life.

Before you write your call to action, set the targets you tend to reach. For instance, you may want to immediately drive sales or traffic, alert your customers of incoming discounts or start a new conversation (comments, etc.). Other than this, you might also want to encourage user-generated content (UGC), thus benefiting the overall engagement, as well as gaining content and social proof at the same time. You can ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your goal to increase subscriptions?
  • Do you want to boost sales?
  • Lead readers to another page?

When you know what you have decided to do, you can reason about how to do it best. The finest call to action expressions are brief and use solid verbs. They speak straight to the user. Instead of a weaker call to action word such as click here, a good call to action phrase example will use more specific words that speak directly to the anticipated result:

  • Discover your best life
  • Join our community
  • Book your next adventure.

Let’s take a look at a few different CTAs.

This site has great call-to-action samples on their page. At the very top, a bright red button invites you to give your gift. Just below that, a red heart (clearly suggesting you have one in case you click) appears over the word “donate.” In the white space below, this site tells you that they are supported by listeners, and includes another link to make a donation.

All of the CTAs mentioned above aid one purpose: to get people to donate money.

Traditional & DIGITAL Call to Action Examples

First, let’s look at some samples of direct mail promotions from magazines.

Many of these are from magazines encouraging readers to start or renew a subscription. More specifically, they’re from the inserts that often fall out from within the pages while you’re reading, and look something like this:

I was studying these direct mail promotions, and I found three features that almost all of them have in common. Some are more noticeable than others in their implementation, but all take a similar method to drive action.

  • A risk-reducing/removing statement. In many cases, they’re requesting a free trial rather than a purchase. In other words, “try us, you’ll like us.” This gives people the sureness to buy.
  • All of them include some version of “Mail your acceptance card.” This is plain usability. You should tell people what to do next. Today, it would be like, “Click the button below.”
  • Encouragement to answer right away. That’s the typical direct reply. Don’t give people a choice to wait and think.

Together, these three essentials make for a simple, straightforward demand that requires little of the customer, and for most businesses, that’s pretty ideal. Now, let’s have a look at how these elements can be changed into digital campaigns.

When marketers started using digital channels to get to their customers, it was a reasonable option to simply replicate their print campaigns in a new format. Why would they devote time rewriting and redesigning what already worked? That caused some of the initial digital marketing campaigns and their CTAs totally mirrored old direct mail advertisements. The ads were an almost equal approach to copy and simply swapped out the “mail the enclosed card” directive for a link or button.

Just have a look at this advertisement for a 1-2-3 Shrink diet program:

A similar ad could’ve worked on paper of course. But instead of asking possible customers to pay $4.00, then wait a few weeks to receive the program, they’re offering it instantly following payment. For a reader who’s already attracted to this program, that’s a pretty low barricade to entry. They could have the diet plan in minutes, and all that’s standing in their way is a few bucks. So, why not? There’s no noteworthy reason they wouldn’t want to take action.

Today, most people are accustomed enough to digital marketing that they know what’s expected of them when they reach a landing page. Most of us unsurprisingly know to look for large, brightly-colored buttons with a clear call to action, since they’re now a common landing page staple. If your page doesn’t embrace a noticeable call to action, you risk losing potential customers.

Personalize the message

The last thing you need to learn how to do is to personalize your message to the best of your abilities. For instance, in order to reach out to people who are still on the fence, you could try to create a sense of urgency (with phrases like “you don’t want to miss this”, for instance). Then again, you can engage your silent audience by choosing a strong voice and picking a controversial opinion that is bound to start a debate. Polarizing questions can get the ball rolling in no time. If you know your audience really well you can always use a pop culture connection.

In conclusion

At the end of the day, you need to keep in mind that any option that you make regarding your CTA may have a major impact on your online presence and your business as a whole. Moreover, seeing as how there are no one-size-fits-all solutions you’ll have to make all the choices that are right for your business. With the above-listed six tips on your side, your job of tailoring a perfect social media marketing plan becomes a lot easier and potentially more efficient.

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