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How to use CTA’S on Social Media

How to use CTA's on Social Media

Social media is an excellent way to build up an audience and to be in constant contact with your customers, but one common complaint is that it’s difficult to get your followers to make purchases. In fact, the majority of this problem sources from the fact that most social media marketers are aren’t too great at using calls to action which prompt people to take action. Let’s take a look at what Call to Actions (CTA’s) are and why they are absolutely essential on Social while marketing on Social Media.

What are Call to Actions?

A ‘call to action’ is when you encourage a person to take the specific action that you want them to do. One example of this would be inviting somebody who is seeing your posts on social media to follow or like your account, so they continue to look at your posts.

One great example of this is the way meme creator @tank.sinatra mixes in amongst promotions of @bumble and others – simple reminders to follow him if you don’t already. This way when people tag their friends in the meme, or see it in suggested posts they can have an a call to action and though it seems simple, it works.

Example of a good CTA

But a more profitable and larger CTA would be telling a follower to buy your products or services. Using a CTA can be incredibly beneficial if you are convincing enough that the person follows through and does what you’re asking.

Example of a good CTA

This example comes from blogger @alexbeadon on Instagram and an article on Canva – Alex has clearly asked people to take action on a promotion she was doing and given time pressure so that if anyone was on the fence – they could get past their hesitation.

Check out this awesome article from Everyone Social for ideas on how to create eye-catching CTA’s on social media posts.

Why should you use CTA’s on Social Media?

On social media, most people fail to use any CTA’s because they are often worried about appearing to be too ‘pushy,’ which they feel could disenfranchise their followers. In reality, your followers are following you because they like your business and asking them to buy products or take another action is only going to deter a tiny minority.

Instead, a significant proportion of people will take an action that they otherwise would not have made, and that can have a considerable impact on your finances.

How should you use CTA’s on Social Media?

Here are 5 tips to effectively use CTA’s on your social media channels :

  1. Decide what action you want people to take

The first step to learning how to use CTA’s on social media is to decide what action you want people to take because that will impact how you should go about encouraging the person. Some of the most common responses are :

  • Following your company : To spread brand awareness
  • Liking and sharing posts : To increase the number of people that see your posts and thereby letting more people know that your company exists
  • Clicking links : An excellent method for companies that make sales on their websites. You are driving traffic through to your site where you can sell to them and generate revenue.
  1. Creating the Hook

If you look at some of the most advanced social media marketers like Gary Vaynerchuk, they are constantly talking about using hooks to bait people in. The purpose of your hook should be to capture the attention of people so that they don’t scroll past and look for something else.

When you are developing your hook, you must answer the question ‘what’s in it for me?’ because everybody is selfish. The first thing your post must address is the benefit to the reader so that they don’t scroll straight past your posts.

One example of this could be saying ‘grow your muscles’ or ‘look beautiful in this dress,’ clearly, both of these have a visceral benefit for the reader, and it intrigues them. When people are using social media networks they aren’t in a buying mentality which is why the hook is extra important; it draws them in with a selfish benefit rather than trying to sell straight to them by saying ‘buy.’

Example of a good CTA

This Instagram post from Muscle Milk is a great example of answering the question of “what’s in it for me” by showcasing how people will feel if they drink Muscle Milk ( bonus points for using an influential sports player.)

  1. Give them a Nudge

With most social media users looking for entertainment rather than products or businesses you often need to nudge them to take even the smallest actions like sharing your posts. To do this, you should offer some incentive or motivation; one method could be to offer a coupon or to enter them into a giveaway for a specific action. Check out this post to know how you should phrase your CTA’s to capture your audience’s attention.

While these might not be the best long-term strategies, they can generate publicity and increase your following so that you can market to these same people again in the future.

  1. Optimize for the Network

It’s vital to recognize that clumping social media networks together isn’t particularly useful because they are so different. You must approach CTA’s on Snapchat different to how you would on Facebook, and that’s why first understanding the platform and the mentality of its users is critical to your success.

For example; users who are on Facebook are more likely to be willing to visit your company website because they are already in a web browser, possible on their computer. Whereas Snapchat users are within an app on their phones and therefore they would be redirected to visit your website. Various ways of approaching CTA’s  will look different on each platform here are some examples of how they may vary:

Snapchat :

CTA on Snapchat

Facebook :

CTA on Facebook

Below are resources to creating valuable CTA’s on different social platforms :


Be sure to approach the platforms differently and use them to encourage your audience to take different actions depending on what social network they are using.

  1. Split Test to Improve

Perhaps the most important tactic to use is split testing which is where to simultaneously test two different elements against each other to decide which is best. The reason for doing this is so that you can optimize your existing CTA’s to increase your click-through rate and therefore generate more revenue.

Even the smallest improvements in your CTA’s can have a considerable impact on your follower count and your revenue.

When you are split testing, you might consider alternating the images that you use, the hook that you choose and the incentive for your audience to take a specific action. Testing these elements will let you know which is optimal.

But to gather this data and make conclusive decisions you must measure the results closely, and the only way to do this is with an analytics program. This software is often integrated into the social network and can give you information about which of your posts are doing the best and what links get clicked the most. One possible opportunity for doing this and automating the integration of results for Facebook ads is AdEspresso . Hubspot allows you to try several different images and automatically mixes and matches those with your call to action and description until it finds the ones that perform the best and slowly optimizes the ad set for you.

Hope these tips make the process of using CTA’s on social media as easy as possible, and have a positive impact on your results. Are there any other tips that have worked well for you? Let us know in the comments below!

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Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency - Social Media Marketing, Web Design and SEO, and is a web designer and SEO Specialist out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Tweet him at @hookagency

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