No matter which social media channel you use, there is nothing more important than a high-quality call to action. Here’s the secret to a successful call to action and why it can be a slam dunk for your business.
Now I’m English, physically uncoordinated and admittedly, not the tallest guy on earth …
That said, basketball isn’t exactly my forte. Still, I remember seeing highlights of Michael Jordan playing while growing up — he was unbelievable!
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the sport or know next to nothing like myself, while watching Jordan dominate the court in the nineties, it was almost impossible to keep your jaw from hitting the floor.
Three-pointers, jumpers, layups — you name it, he did it better than everyone else.
But, there was one athletic maneuver in particular that had a way of captivating me more than anything…I’m talking:
It was aggressive. It was powerful. And in the blink of an eye, it had the capacity to inject thousands of people with enough energy to get them on their feet, yelling like crazy and smiling from ear to ear…
Not bad for a day’s work, right?
Fortunately, such a rewarding feeling is not only reserved for athletes like Jordan — you can achieve similar heights with great marketing!
The Striking Similarities between a Slam Dunk and a “Call To Action”
A few years after Jordan’s retirement, I found myself within a different arena of sorts: social media marketing. Thankfully, there’s no need for vertical agility or lean muscle out in the social sphere, but the field does have its own equivalent of the slam dunk — to be precise: the call to action (CTA).
No, I’m not crazy! Hear me out:
- They’re BOTH direct.
- They’re BOTH highly authoritative.
- They’re BOTH quick, timely and succinct.
- They’re BOTH energetic — (the more energy, the better).
- They’re BOTH compelling enough to elicit an immediate reaction.
Oh, and there’s one more…
- They’re BOTH extremely hard to achieve!
Seriously, based on personal experience, has that last point ever proven to be painfully true?
If so, I bring good news — though I can’t help you much with dunking a basketball on a 10-foot-tall hoop, I can teach you how to produce high-quality CTAs for social media.
The best part? This process needn’t be a mind-numbing exercise…in fact, it should be real fun!
Ready for some call-to-action clarity?
Follow each of my seven tips below and you’ll be engaging with social audiences in no time.
1. Make Your CTA Benefits Clear and Concise
Social call to actions don’t have much time or space to generate an impact.
So, it’s your job to be as clear and concise as possible when building one.
To almost guarantee this happens, make sure your call to action both accurately and succinctly tells a person why they should take action.
Think about it — if there’s no obvious reason to click, comment or share…why should a potential fan or customer take the time to do so?
They shouldn’t. And without clear, concise benefits on full display…they won’t!
2. Build Urgency Right from the Get-Go
You might not be a full-blown copywriter, but as a social media marketer, it helps to pull a page or two from their playbook — this is where immediacy comes into play.
Urgency is a psychological trigger.
For this reason, when producing the copy for your call to action, make use of words that escalate the action-inducing emotion in your readers.
Check this out:
- Option #1 – “Sign up for my one-of-a-kind course.”
- Option #2 – “Don’t Delay! Sign up for my one-of-a-kind course today!”
See the difference?
Better yet, can you feel the difference between the two examples?
When your audience feels the genuine urgency (and exclusivity) of the action you’re requesting; they’re more likely to pull the trigger…following through on your CTA’s invitation.
3. Give the Word ‘FREE’ the Attention It Deserves
It doesn’t matter if you’re a broke student or a booming billionaire; there’s not a person on earth who doesn’t love a great deal.
Sure, “25% Off,” “50% Off” and even “75% Off” are awesome offers. But if your CTA has the ability to use a certain four-letter F-word (not that one!), you’d be wise to make it the focal point of your next social CTA.
I’m talking about “FREE.”
And one more thing…
Instead of simply including the attention-grabbing term in your CTA, apply it in a way that makes it stand out. Whether made larger, emboldened, italicised or highlighted; place as much emphasis as possible on the fact that there’s a freebie up for grabs.
Heck, even go crazy ****<<<<<LIKE THIS>>>>>****.
4. Keep It Simple: Ask for Action
It’s a tough call, but this might be my favorite point on this list.
Why? The simplicity (yet equally acute power) is astonishing. Occasionally, marketers make times much harder than they need to be…
CTA stands for:
That final word is what matters most.
Yes, you are passionate about your business’ many products and services, but a social call to action isn’t an opportunity to share information — it’s an invitation to ACT.
Make this abundantly clear through the command verbs you use:
If it’s action you’re looking for, go ahead and ask for it!
Such a simple addition alone will put you light-years in front of many of your brand’s fiercest competitors on social media…you’d be surprised at just how rarely these fundamental techniques are applied.
5. Harness the Power of Header Images
They aren’t utilisable across every social network, but many of them do allow users to feature a banner image on their profile page.
This is true for heavy-hitting platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
But what most companies see as an opportunity to upload a large, high-quality image, in reality, is much more — prime real estate for high-conversion CTAs. BOOM!
Get creative with this stuff — boxes, circles, arrows, thumbnails, colours, short-form invitations…the list goes on.
Not much of a designer? No problem…
Using drag-and-drop tools like Canva, Skitch and Design Bold, it’s easy to customise header images within the correct size limits. This ensures they include the CTAs your social strategy needs to build an audience, provide value and most importantly: produce sales.
6. Use CTAs within Post Images to Ignite a Conversation
Using header images to creatively call potential customers to action is one method, but there’s an even simpler way to do it (while also pleasing the eye) — the images in your social posts themselves.
Don’t get me wrong …
It’s great to persuade, promote and propose within a post’s caption, but that’s old-school stuff.
Social media is increasingly a visual format.
Because of this, with over 500 million active monthly users, Instagram — the most eye-popping social device known to mankind — was definitely the first to light a fire under this technique!
Using the same tools outlined in the previous tip, overlay an image with a clear-cut CTA before sharing it with your followers.
Yes, it’ll take a little more time to create, but substantially more people will stop to consider your request when it’s in the form of a bite-sized image. Visual recall is everything.
7. You’re Human! Show Your TRUE Colours.
Jordan chose to stick his tongue out while driving to the basket — it was his signature move.
Don’t worry. When creating your company’s next CTA, it’s perfectly fine to keep your tongue firmly in your mouth. Stick it out if you wish…but this may not improve CTA performance.
However, do keep in mind just how important it is that you find a way to insert your tongue unique personality into your social CTAs.
Social media will always be about building REAL relationships!
To get the most out of such an innovative marketing medium, you’ll need to humanise your brand, giving it the individual flavour it needs to succeed.
Be unique. Be yourself.
Wrapping It Up (Or Dunking It Down)
Developing a perfect social call to action isn’t an exact science…
In fact, to find out what works for your particular business model, you’re going to need to roll up your sleeves and get your hands digitally dirty with some good old-fashioned trial and error.
You must measure the efficiency of your social output. When a CTA falls flat on its face, kick it to the curb. When something works, do more of that and test variations…
It really is that simple.
The sooner you begin, the sooner you’ll be creating CTAs that rival the imposing power of any one of Jordan’s rim-shattering dunks — until then, best of luck!
* Image credits: