I was reading Megan O'Neil's blog post about adding a "call to action" to your Facebook Newsfeed video. (Her post is here.) It got me thinking. 

The call to action is a big deal when it comes to social media marketing. In fact, it's the difference between social media marketing that builds your business, and using social media just for fun.

Yet so many people who are using social media to build their business have never heard of or thought much about "CTAs," so they don't know what they're doing with the power they wield. 

UNTIL NOW. Muhahahahahaha. (Because I'm going to explain it.) 

First off, whether you follow Megan's advice or not, every single social media post already has at least one call to action built in. 

But let's back up. First, what is a call to action? 

What is a CTA? 

Take it away, Wikipedia:

In marketing, a call to action (CTA) is an instruction to the audience to provoke an immediate response, usually using an imperative verb such as "call now", "find out more" or "visit a store today."

Q: What do you think the most common online CTA is? 

A: "Click here."

"Click here" has revolutionized marketing. When you share a link, the implicit call to action is always "click here." That's why it's so important to think strategically about whether you're linking to your own website or to other people's websites. Your post is requesting something from your audience. "Like this post." "Share this post." "Click to the site."

They are all versions of "Click me." 

Understanding these implicit CTAs will help you focus on which one you want your audience to actually pay attention to. 

Understand your mission. Understand your CTA.

A single Facebook post has at least 3 implicit calls to action: Like, Comment, and Share.  

The link post above contains a fourth implicit CTA: "Click on me to read the whole story."

That implied call to action is the reason Facebook drives about one-quarter of all referral traffic. If you add an enticing turn of phrase at the top and a fun headline, that "click me" call to action is hard for your audience to resist. 

Now, apply this knowledge to what you share on your business' social media. (Because it's probably not articles about Star Wars.) But should it be? How you decide what to post has a lot to do with who you want to reach and what you want the audience to do when they see your post. 

Your "why" and their "why" 

You want to share posts that prompt people to check out your website and join your email list so you can begin developing a relationship with them.

That's your "why." 

But your audience's reason for clicking on something is because they find it interesting, period.

That's their "why." 

Your post needs to muster the interest of people who are receiving dozens of other updates from friends and family: new baby photos and engagement announcements, celeb gossip and food porn.

For this reason, many businesses post links that are intriguing to a large audience, but don't build a relationship with people who are likely to become potential customers. They even post links to pages that aren't part of their own websites.

Those fun posts may get a lot of likes, comments, shares and link-clicks, but if they're not generating value for the business, that engagement serves no purpose. 

Those businesses are aware of their audience's "why," but not of their own "why." 

On the other hand, some businesses (sometimes the same businesses) post links directly to their product pages, with a CTA of "Buy Now!"

That's the businesses "why," but it totally ignores the audience's "why." In other words, that post is gonna bomb. 

Remember: you're competing with friends and family! You need to create posts that take into account your "why" and their "why." 

How do you do that?

Content marketing. 

 

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