A successful social media marketing campaign usually starts with an effective call-to-action (CTA). While the quality of your content matters, it’s equally important to guide readers toward the next steps upon reading. A well-established CTA helps you drive the success of your online marketing and social selling campaigns, launches your customer journeys, and provides the key metrics for optimizing your marketing strategies.
What Call-to-Action Means
A call-to-action refers to a keyword (usually a verb) or phrase that prompts the audience to perform a specific action. You could add a strategic CTA to regular social media posts or add them to an ad. You can also integrate your CTA into social media profiles/bios and stories (and even lead users to social media landing pages).
With that said, a call-to-action doesn’t necessarily translate to a purchase.
Sometimes, a call-to-action serves as a part of your long-term social media branding and marketing strategy. For example, you might seek to raise brand awareness, attract subscribers for your monthly newsletter, or increase sign-ups for free webinars and product/service trials.
Setting up a quality CTA in the social media sphere can prove more challenging compared to websites or landing pages. That’s because social media users typically scroll through multiple posts daily, making it easy for them to overlook an unimpactful CTA.
The Must-haves for Effective Social Media CTAs
A social media CTA should clearly state the desired action from your audience without causing doubt or confusion. So it’s important to avoid cryptic messages at all costs. Also, you’ll need to engage and convince your reader to go ahead with the CTA, so keeping things concise without causing boredom is essential.
The most compelling social media CTAs usually include the following features:
A concise display with easily noticeable placement, separated from the rest of your content. (As such, you’ll often see a social media CTA at the end of the post captions, as text within an advertised image, or as a button. You could utilize all three tactics for maximum engagement.)
Complements your social media goals. Your CTA should support your main social selling objectives and align with the necessary S.M.A.R.T metrics for measuring success.
Uses conversational and action words. These engage readers and guide them toward a goal. It’s a powerful approach to personal branding, which builds trust.
Offers practical value. Quality CTAs should provide customers with value, such as free shipping or “securing your first 1000 followers on Instagram.”
Conveys urgency. Effective social media CTAs should present some form of exclusivity, rewarding your readers/prospects for their attention.
Effective Call-to-Action Examples
Top social media CTAs have perfected the art of making their message clear while evoking emotion and interest – in addition to the standard practices outlined above.
Example #1 – Headspace
For instance, the meditational app Headspace tactfully applied the action word “snuggle” while promoting its subscription and completed the campaign with a soothing graphic. Combining visual and content elements effectively embodied the brand as the ad encouraged audience engagement.
Example #2 - Quantic
In another example, the private business school Quantic encourages enrollment with powerful Instagram captions: “A free Executive MBA? Thanks to a generous corporate network, 1 in 3 studies free.” The amazing deal enhances audience engagement by making enrollment highly accessible and fuss-free.
Example #3 - Fancy Color Diamonds
At times, simplicity is key to a powerful CTA, as shown by jewelry wholesaler Fancy Color Diamonds. The marketing team clearly indicated the purpose of their campaign in their image (i.e., giveaway), and added the exact details of the qualifying instructions in the captions. This way, there’s nothing left to guesswork.
The Final Word
The most powerful social media CTAs are original and head straight to the point. While following the outlined best practices is important, it’s equally important to shape your CTA according to your unique brand style and target audience needs.
Ultimately, the CTA is more than the icing on the social media cake. It’s not a nice-to-have but a vital component in social selling. A CTA that works convinces your audience that it’s time to take the relationship to the next level, with more than words, by committing an action.
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