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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, 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?

There are three main types of content you can inject into your social media mix immediately.

  1.  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.

  2.  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 likeable, shareable, and often the most engaging content on social media.

  3.  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
  • Gif
  • Video
  • Meme

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.

Even if the information is valuable, a bunch of mistakes make 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 at a much higher rate.

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 the decision of your audience.

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.

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 –

  • Ideal length of a status update: 40 characters

Twitter –

  • Ideal length of a tweet: 71-100 characters with a link

Google+-

  • Ideal length of a post: 60 characters

  3. Plays to Your Strengths

Whether you’re just getting started on social media or you’ve been at it for a while, it’s easy to forget your why.

Why are you using social media your business?

And who are you looking to connect with?

I’m assuming it’s people that 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 posting 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 it’s 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.

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, entertaining?

If the answer is no, toss it.

  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.  

What you need is authentic, targeted information that offers insight into who you are and why they need to take action with you today.

Here’s a great example of this from The Instagram Expert, Sue B Zimmerman. She pairs a fantastic visual with text that resonates with her audience.

  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 with.

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”
  • Hurry
  • Immediately
  • Now

Exclusivity

  • Request an invitation
  • Now closed
  • Members Only/Subscribers only
  • Only available to ___
  • Pre-register/Pre-order
  • Limited spots
  • Exclusive access

Persuasion

  • You
  • Guarantee
  • Results
  • Free
  • Because
  • New

Final Thoughts

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 is suddenly going to drive a lot of traffic to your website.

Just like with 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.

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5 Elements of an Irresistible Social Media Call to Action