When it comes to increasing engagement in social media posts, people have two basic approaches to getting their posts noticed and shared: intentional and unintentional. Those who use the unintentional approach are relying on the virality or “shareability” of their posts—coming up with that magic formula where readers will perk up and say, “wow, I’ve got to share this.” The intentional approach involves crafting a call to action, whether direct or indirect, that will trigger a reader to click, comment, share, or like. Both are aiming at the same result: soliciting that golden measure of engagement that will juice the social media algorithms and send their posts out to more fans.
Why Use Calls To Action
- When you craft a call to action for your social media post, you are helping a fan bridge the gap between just reading your post and taking an action on your post. There is a decision to be made when a follower reads your post: is this worth an action on my part? We can help fans take that action by including a trigger, either implied or stated.
- A call to action helps a follower participate in a reciprocity culture that builds generosity. Engagement rates will climb higher when we add value to people by taking an action on their posts. If you want people to share what you post, get involved in sharing what you find online. A call to action needs to be about your follower, not about you. People share because they want to add value to their followers.
- When fans take an action on a post where the platform has an engagement algorithm (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), more fans will see that post. Our objective is to engage people in conversation and get them to share what we write. That is the only way an engagement rate will go up. If you are relying solely on creating a post that makes people say “wow” on its own merit, you will be disappointed.
Types of Calls To Action
I want to simplify this process by talking about just two types of calls to action: stated and implied.
- A stated or direct call to action is obvious:
- Please click to share this with your friends: (link).
- Tell me which of these is your favorite.
- Leave a comment and tell me what you think.
- Click here for more information: (link)
- An implied or indirect call to action is a copywriting technique where you “throw the ball into their court.” Implied actions can be anything from an offer they need to claim to a link to read another post or watch a video—just not saying something like “click here to.”
Getting good at indirect calls to action takes some practice. Asking people to weigh in often takes the form of you weighing in first. And it starts with the subject of the post. Are you connecting with something people can identify with, solving a problem, touching an emotion, giving something of value, entertaining?
Last year around Halloween I put together a post that got the most traction of any post over the previous 90 days. I had found an article online (the day before Halloween) about the most popular types of Halloween candy by state, posted it, and then made a comment that I wasn’t real excited about the candy from my state. I then challenged fans to see what they thought about their state candy, not asking for a comment, just asking them to look. In order to look they had to click on the link (first action). Most people hand out candy on Halloween so I was relying on a cultural norm for fans to identify with and click the link. But what I didn’t expect was the amount of comments people wanted to make about their state candy. Of course the link was accompanied by an automatic image that helped the post gain attention.
When it comes to getting people to engage with your social media posts, make sure you include a call action, whether stated or implied. I know there will be times when that isn’t possible, but you want to make it your goal, if possible, to craft the majority of your posts with a trigger. Just be careful to avoid the stated call to action on a regular basis. Learn the art of copywriting implied calls to action as well.