How to write a successful Call to Action for social media

CTASYour Call to Action is the driving force behind the interaction, engagement and overall response you receive to a post on social media. Learn how to craft the perfect call to action (CTA) for your community to provoke an immediate response, maximize conversion and get the results you want from your online presence. 

The Call to Action is not new or unique to social media or digital marketing. This term has been used in marketing for decades in the form of well-known phrases like “Call now!”, “Find out more” or “Visit our shop today!” to drive customers to interact with a business. Calls to action can be undemanding requests like “Choose a size” or “Retweet this post” or much more demanding like requests for the customer to purchase a product or provide their personal details for continued marketing communication with the brand.

In website design, the main goal of a CTA is to get a click from the user and the success can easily be measured with Google Analytics or other web analytics tools. A CTA on a website is often a banner, a button or an unique type of graphic or text to prompt a user to click on it and continue down the conversion funnel.

While the same can be said for social media, it’s important for marketers to build CTAs that don’t ask too much of a potential customer or jumps the gun completely. Smart marketers build a series of small, undemanding CTAs to guide potential customers towards a sale. These CTAs aim to create a pattern of behavior that makes customers more likely to click on a demanding request than if it had been asked out of context.

The only way to determine which CTAs work for a business is to run A/B tests to compare the response to both buttons/CTAs in a similar setup. A/B tests can be done manually by creating duplicate pages with different buttons to drive traffic to, or you can use free software and online tools to run tests for you. There are also agencies who specialise in these types of marketing research, and it’s worthwhile discussing it with them if your business makes most of its money online.

Great tips for writing effective CTAs:

  • Use the first person. Studies have shown that CTAs that use the pronoun “my” is 90% more successful than “your”. For example: “Get my free template now!” vs. “Get your free template now!” The difference is subtle, but it has been shown to have a massive effect on your audience’s response.
  • Stay specific and simple. Focus on getting your customer to the next step in your conversion funnel (you’ve already plotted this, right?) rather than trying to rush them to the end line. Think of what the next logical step in the buying or decision-making process is and try to answer that question for your user with your CTA. For example, “Read product reviews” or “Watch this demo” instead of “Buy now!”.
  • Show social proof. Humans are social creatures and we really care what others think, about ourselves, about our lives and most of all, about things out there in the world. By showing your customers social proof, you are convincing a potential customer that other people love your products. To do this, you can use testimonials, reviews, trust icons (like bank logos), videos and more. In your CTAs, you can demonstrate social proof by using copy like “Join 200 of your friends” or “Check out the reviews”.
  • Keep testing. People are unpredictable and you can’t assume that you know how someone will react to a certain CTA. This is why A/B testing is so important – you need to test and see how your audience responds in order to optimize conversions from your calls to action.

Top 10 elements of effective CTAs

  1. It uses actionable language and copy with action-oriented, second-person verbs.
  2. It aligns with the copy on the landing page.
  3. It contains a clear value proposition to allow the benefits of clicking to be crystal clear to the user.
  4. It is time-sensitive and contains an element of urgency.
  5. It is prominently displayed in big letters and above the fold on your website.
  6. It has been treated with eye-catching, highly contrasting design to draw the eye.
  7. It has a button that looks clickable on your website to allow users to click through.
  8. It takes up a prominent space on the website.
  9. It has been thoroughly tested with A/B testing to determine efficacy.
  10. It can be personalized for different segments of your audience.

Writing a successful call to action is the key to any successful marketing campaign, website strategy or even print advertisement. Tell your customers what the next step is and lead them there, and you will be one step closer to a successful sale.

Written by Marilize Nel. Marilize is a digital media strategist with 7+ years experience working on local, national and international brands. Marilize specializes in copy writing, media planning and website design. For more great tips and tricks to help your website and online properties perform at their best, sign up for Marilize’s newsletter on her website: