How to Craft Irresistible Social Media CTAs

August 17, 2020

Have you ever been in a room of marketers and uttered the words “call-to-action” and “social media”? Have you noticed how they all get excited at the sound of those words? How it becomes a serious discussion and everybody wants to contribute their opinion.

If you have, then you know exactly what that scene looks like and you’re probably smiling right now just thinking about it.

And if you’ve never experienced it because you’re new to content marketing you’re in luck! You’re about to learn a crucial part of conversions for your brand or organization.

But what exactly is a call-to-action, or CTA as the cool kids in marketing like to say? What does it have to do with social media? And how do you go about creating the perfect one?

Here are your answers to these important content marketing questions.

Defining a Call-To-Action

Content marketers may have different opinions about CTAs but they all agree on one thing:

Calls-to-action are, without a shadow of a doubt, crucial!

A CTA is what’s known as a request for your audience to take a certain specified action. Online calls-to-action are clickables (links, buttons) that lead readers to a different page.

“CTAs are important for two reasons: first, they can be used to drive people into a page where they become a conversion—whether that means contacting you, buying something, requesting an estimate, or something else. Second, CTAs help increase your click-through rate, which is the number of pages an average visitor views when they visit your site.”

Doug Ridley, Vital

Examples of where CTAs can lead audiences to include:

  • Buying guides
  • Blog articles
  • Stores
  • Subscription forms
  • Visual content (think YouTube or Vimeo links)
  • Comment sections
  • Product or service pages
  • Other online platforms (think Quora, Reddit, etc.)

Whichever action you want your audience to take, CTAs will get them there. They’re the difference between readers converting or just reading and leaving.

Great CTAs can take you from having a high bounce rate to a high conversion rate. And every irresistible call-to-action has the following key factors:

  • Strong action verbs: Telling your readers exactly what you want them to do.
  • Urgency: Making your audience want to act now in this very moment.
  • Excitement: Inciting an emotional reaction from your audience.
  • Short length: Getting straight to the point and being easy to understand.
  • Relevance: Useful and relatable to your audience and their wants or needs.
  • Structure: Standing out from other content and easily noticeable by your audience.

The best way to ensure you’re getting as many site visits and conversions as possible is to work with a content marketing agency. A content marketing agency handles all your content marketing needs.

From creating custom content at scale to crafting irresistible CTAs that will get you clicks.

Tips for Terrific Social Media CTAs

In this day and age, social media is one of the best ways to reach new audiences and update existing ones.

There are over 2.85 billion social media users in the world right now. Meaning you could reach more people through social media than any other medium.

Brands and organizations have realized that and so they compete for a user’s attention. And they do so through the content and CTAs they use.

Those who manage to achieve their goals and even surpass them, have CTAs that stand out. And these compelling CTAs follow key principles.

Use Language That Prompts Immediate Action

Social media is filled with content, meaning users’ attention spans aren’t long. People consume content one moment and then move on to the next almost instantly.

You don’t have long to convince your audience to act; you need to do so within seconds. There’s no time for hesitation on their part, you want them to act now.

For them to know immediately what it is you want from them, you need to start by stating it. You can’t be vague about it or give them different options about what to do. Neither can you be too polite and ask them whether they’d like to or not.

Tell them what they need to do. In no uncertain terms. Use short and direct action verbs to get your CTA across.

Popular CTAs begin with phrases such as:

  • Buy
  • Comment
  • Subscribe
  • Enroll
  • Download
  • Try

The urgency your CTAs need to incite action is created with words and numbers that refer to time. Some of these include:

  • Ending soon
  • While stocks last
  • Today only
  • Now
  • 10 units left
  • Deadline

Convince Your Audience They Gain by Taking Action

If users understand that what you’re offering would benefit them, then they’ll likely act. People like good things and they like gaining something from every action they take. It’s basic logic.

So you need to use that fact to your advantage by offering them a reason to act. Offer them a convincing incentive and they’ll click that button or link before you can say, “Thanks.”

Incentives could mean:

  • Free samples or demos of a product or service
  • Entering a worthwhile competition
  • Exclusivity to your expertise or perks of your brand
  • Resolving a pressing issue

Your audience needs to notice your offering and say, “I never knew I needed this in my life.

Use Visuals to Amaze

Social media is filled with visual content that excites and makes everything relatable. Scroll through any of the main platforms and you’ll notice memes, GIFs, videos, and images.

These forms of content pop out of a timeline and content marketers understand this very well.

Visuals and eye-catching colors have the ability to:

  • Make audiences feel deeply.
  • Easily explain your offering or demonstrate it in action.
  • Retain users’ attention for longer than written content.
  • Reach an even wider audience through shares and comments because of their appeal.

When including colors in CTAs, you want to use ones that contrast with the platform’s background. Always remember that colors have meaning:

  • Cool colors: elegance, knowledge, trustworthy.
  • Warm colors: excitement, urgency, full of life.

Customize Your CTA According to Your Platform

The thing about social media is that there are a lot of different networks to choose from. And the best choice you can make is using different networks to reach your audiences.

The only downside to that is that you need to customize each piece of content for different sites.

Each social network has distinct features for you to take advantage of. Meaning your CTAs aren’t going to be the same on each site.

Consider a site’s pros when crafting a CTA, such as:

  • Instagram is for visual content like captivating images and creative videos.
  • Twitter works for CTAs with short text of up to 280 characters and trending hashtags.
  • YouTube was created for videos in which you can add CTAs through end cards and overlays.
  • Facebook is the mother of all social media platforms and is ideal for all kinds of content.

Personalize Your Tone

People are mainly on social media to create connections with the people and brands they like. They want friendly content they can relate to and enjoy.

That’s why social media is definitely not the place to sound sales-y. So avoid coming off as a business only interested in cold hard cash. Otherwise, your intended audience could avoid you and your content.

Instead, try to communicate like you would with a dear friend. Reel audiences in with an interesting story and build genuine relationships with your community. Build that all-important trust you need to succeed.

Remain relaxed, use humor, and have real conversations with your audience. Great communication is the key to any lasting bond.

Test and Test Again, and Then Test Some More

The best way to know what works is to keep testing your CTAs. More specifically, you should A/B test them.

A/B testing involves making slight changes to different sets of the same CTA or ad campaign. This provides you with concrete evidence of what works better than something else.

You can test aspects such as:

  • CTA text you choose to use.
  • Colors to captivate audiences with.
  • Visuals to entertain or inform your audience.
  • CTA placement in your posts or social media pages.

To be honest, there’s no one way to craft the best CTA ever. It takes a combination of factors and principles, and it depends on your audience and brand.

And even when you get a CTA right, there’s always room for improvement. There are always new ways of grabbing attention and getting people to take action.

Social media is an ever-changing landscape with new trends every other week.

Katrina McKinnon


I'm Katrina McKinnon, founder of CopySmiths and Small Revolution. In my 20 years of experience, I have helped online businesses create high-performing content specifically on an eCommerce store's blog. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.