May 24, 2022

If you run social media accounts for your own brand or a client’s, you need to understand the importance of including a call to action in your post.  

Every component of your marketing strategy should move your audience from one step to the next along their customer journey. A major part of helping them take the next step is a strong call to action.

If you have a product, course, or free download to sell, you’ll need a CTA to tell your followers what to do. Or, if you want your audience to subscribe to your email list, you’ll need to be able to show them where and how to sign up.

When people can’t find and access your offers effectively, they also can’t get their hands on your products or services. That means you risk losing valuable members of your audience–and potential customers. 

Let’s talk about why a call to action is so important on social media, and how you can effectively include them in your posts. 

What is a Call to Action?  

A call to action, or CTA, is a line of copy that clearly tells users exactly what specific action you want them to take and, ideally, how. 

CTAs can appear in organic posts or on ads. Either way, they make your posts more actionable because they tell your users what you want them to do. 

Most of the time, CTAs encourage users to shop for a product, sign up for a download or email list, or engage with the brand in some way. This might look like including a link that sends the user off-site to purchase something, or asking them to comment on your post.

As far as social media is concerned, you’ll likely see CTAs on images, in the post caption, or as a button on the post itself. Outside of social, you’ll see CTAs on websites, landing pages, and email marketing. 

In fact, data from CampaignMonitor suggests that CTAs featured on a button have a 28% higher click-through rate than CTAs featured in the text. 

Some posts contain more than one CTA–a primary and secondary call to action. You might see a CTA button on an ad, for example, plus text in the caption that prompts the user’s next step.

Including more than one CTA on a post once in a while can give your users options. For example, a follower who might not be ready to buy from you might be willing to subscribe to your email list if you tell them how to do that. 

Plenty of your followers will take the exact actions you direct them to. There are multiple strategies you can use to lead them from one step to the next, too. 

Why Do CTAs Matter in Social Media Marketing? 

CTAs matter in social media marketing because they increase the odds that people will take action on your posts. 

A social media post that doesn’t contain a CTA also doesn’t tell your followers what to do next. Even if they pause scrolling to read your post, they won’t know what to do with the information. Most likely, they’ll absorb it and move on. 

That’s why you want to tell them where to go from here. You can use your posts to direct followers to: 

  • Visit your profile and follow you
  • Tap the link in your bio
  • Buy products you’re selling in your Instagram shop (or offsite)
  • Engage with you by liking and commenting on your post
  • Share your post in their Stories 
  • Tag friends in the comments 

Users are more likely to take action if you tell them why taking action is important. Use your caption and your images to inspire them to action, and then give them the next step.

If you tell them why they should follow the CTA, what to do next, and how to make it happen, they’ll follow your lead. Make it as easy and straightforward as possible. 

When your users understand why you’re talking to them and care about what you have to offer, they’ll be much more likely to buy-in. Your CTA goes beyond just making your followers think your product or service is great. Instead, it inspires them to take the next step and make a purchase. 

How your CTAs perform can tell you a lot about the effectiveness of your marketing strategy in general. Many social media platforms include native analytics tools that you can use to track how effective your social CTAs are. You can also create trackable links that give you insights into whether users are clicking on your links, and how effective a particular CTA is. 

Ultimately, CTAs matter in your social media marketing because they’re the single biggest driver of user action. Without CTAs, you’re just publishing free content. Your ability to monetise your social media channels and see ROI depends heavily on your CTAs and how effective they are.

How to Write Great Calls to Action on Social Media 

Writing a great call to action on social media is straightforward once you understand how a CTA works and where to place it. Let’s look at a few tips for writing your CTAs.

Set Up the CTA Well 

To set up your CTA well, make sure to write a line or two, at minimum, explaining why users should take the action you want them to take.

If you’re selling a physical product, show and tell when why they should jump on your offer. Announce your product’s best features, the fact that it’s new, and any limitations on your offer before you tell them to shop.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to get signups for a webinar or course, explain the value of what they’ll learn before you ask them to sign up or click. If they know what they stand to learn, and why they should trust you to teach it, they’ll be more likely to get on board. 

Even if you have a well-written CTA, your users will need to see the value you’re offering upfront, or they’ll just keep scrolling. 

Tell Users How to Complete the Action 

When you write your CTA, tell your users exactly how to complete the action you’re asking them to take. 

If you’re selling a product, use simple copy, such as, “Shop at the link below,” or, “Shop by clicking on the product tag.” 

For Instagram users, you’ll want to be more specific in your in-feed posts. You’ll need to describe the action (“Click on the link in our bio to sign-up!”), then immediately follow up to tell them how to do it. You could try something like: 

  • “Sign up for our newsletter to gain exclusive access to sales through the link in our bio!”
  • “Our master class only has 30 slots— don’t miss out. Sign up for free at the link below.” 
  • “Snag your change to win— tag a friend in the comments below!” 

Wherever you can, make sure your CTAs are speaking directly to your followers, too. Data from Hubspot suggests that personalised CTAs have a 202% stronger performance than CTAs that aren’t personalised.  

One way to achieve this would be to consider changing your CTA from “Buy Now” to something like “Send Me My Book.” Help the user feel some sense of ownership before they ever tap or click the link you’re sending them to. 

Add Clickable Elements Whenever Possible 

It’s also important to add clickable elements to your posts wherever it’s possible to do that. On platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, you can include a live link in the post itself. Instagram requires a few extra steps unless you’re running a sponsored post with a clickable link at the bottom of your image. 

Whenever there’s an opportunity, make it as easy as possible for users to take action, whether it’s to “Click that share button!” or “See our Facebook shop here.” 

For Instagram, having a clickable link in your bio that takes users to where they need to go is good. Check out Like2Buy and Linktree for solid options. Alternatively, you can create a custom, vertical Instagram links page on your website, which you then link back to your bio.

Calls to Action & Facebook Ads

CTAs in Facebook Ads are essential in several ways. Let’s look at each.

In-Copy CTAs 

In-copy CTAs in your Facebook ads follow most of the same rules and best practices listed above. 

The CTA will typically be toward the end of the ad, appearing after the value proposition. However, you can place them in the ad headlines to draw extra attention to what you want your users to do. Placing the CTA in your ad headline could increase your click-through rate (CTR) because it’s scannable. 

Your CTAs for Facebook ads should be direct and clear. Ideally, you want to leverage a sense of urgency or scarcity, like “Shop the sale before it ends!”

Facebook Ads Call to Action Buttons 

Facebook offers multiple call to action button options for users to choose from. This makes it easy to customise your CTA based on your offer.

When you create a Facebook Ad, you can choose from the following CTA buttons: 

  • Apply now
  • Book now
  • Contact us
  • Download
  • Get offer
  • Learn more
  • No button
  • Shop now
  • Sign up
  • Watch more

You’ll see the options listed in the “Creatives” stage as you move through the ad creation process. 

Be sure to test your CTA options on your ads. Sometimes, users who are early in the funnel will be more likely to click a “Learn More” CTA than “Download Now,” even if the ads are sending users to lead magnets that they ultimately need to download.

You should always include a CTA button on all qualifying Facebook Ads. AdEspresso ran an experiment with CTA buttons on Facebook Ads and found that ads with no button not only decreased conversion rates but made the cost per impression higher.

If you want optimal conversion rates on your Facebook Ads, you should absolutely use one of the provided CTA buttons. Test different options to see which ones are most effective for your products and services. 

6 Great Call to Action Examples in Social Media Marketing 

Now, let’s take a look at a few great call to action examples in social media marketing. 

First up, check out this Facebook Ad from HolyClothing. This carousel post has minimal, but effective copy that entices the view to be among the first to order their latest style. 

Next, this Grabie ad on Instagram leverages a Shop Now button. The button appears just below the image to send users to their Instagram shop. 

This sponsored Hulu post from Instagram is advertising a Disney+ upsell to subscribers. The post uses both concise copy, a CTA button, and an image that adds extra context to the offer.

Next, this native Instagram post from Amy Porterfield uses an in-caption CTA. In this case, Amy drives users to the link in her bio to listen to her latest podcast episode. 

Here’s a native Instagram post from Sam Vander Wielen that contains more than one CTA in the caption. The first CTA directs users to visit her YouTube channel. In the second, she prompts followers to leave a comment. 

This Tweet from the official Star Wars account contains a CTA asking users to @ them using a specific branded hashtag. Users who participate could be featured in an episode of the brand’s weekly online show. 

Final Thoughts 

A strong call to action in your social media posts, whether native posts or paid ads, is essential to guiding your followers through their journey with your brand. 

Remember to write great CTAs, leverage CTA buttons wherever possible, and make your user’s next steps crystal clear. When your audience knows exactly what you want them to do next, they’ll be that much more likely to act. 

Ready to up your social media game? Check out our Social Media Marketing Intensive Course here.

About the author 

Jonathon Tanner

Jonathon Tanner is the Co-CEO of Social Media College, Australia's leading educator and trainer for social media.

He co-authored the Diploma of Social Media Marketing, the world's first and only Australian Government recognised course in social media marketing, delivered by 25 leading colleges and TAFEs across Australia, and articulating into several Bachelor programs at Australian Universities.

His deep expertise in social media spans content marketing, social media strategy, 15 different social media networks, paid social advertising, personal branding, email marketing, and social media conversion.

Jonathon has also co-founded several other businesses, as well as spending 12 years as a management consultant specialising in mergers & acquisitions for private equity firms, growth strategy, and operational improvement.

Jonathon holds a combined Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Sydney.

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