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Calls to action (CTA) create clicks and clicks create leads – these are the actions you want social media fans to perform. However, a lot of brands don’t always incorporate effective calls to action in their content and if they do it doesn’t tend to provide a holistic voice, content and strategy. CTAs are important as they encourage engagement, clicks and shares and can make the difference between someone glancing over a post or eventually becoming a brand ambassador. You need to know what your business does, its value and what you want your customer to do before crafting a call to action. By knowing who you’re talking to and then crafting a message that fits with this, you create connections with customers and grab their attention. People receive around 12 hours of information a day or around 34GBs – that’s a lot even though we filter out much of it. All good CTAs have a level of urgency and this means you can’t just show people what you do, you also need to convince people to go with you over alternatives. The best ways to do this is to understand your audience and then tap into the things they like, find convenient or are interested in. People go to particular brands when they want certain experiences and you need to connect with these people in the way they expect – plain, simple language. There are some amazing statistics out there that suggest asking for a call to action, or seeing that someone else has done so, makes other people respond in the same way. Nobody likes to be the one to step out of their comfort zone and social media showcases this to a degree. The point is that by asking or showing others have done the same, people will be far more likely to do so. Imagery also works well with CTAs and in a lot of cases increases the amount of social real estate your post receives and so helps boost awareness and shares to your campaign and increases your CTA. These tips can be a great help for anyone hoping to improve their call to action in social media and can help you make more of social media.
To that end, your community management team works tirelessly to support your online communitya€™s value proposition and provide engagement opportunities ranging from social participation to live events to learning about how they can expand their relationship with your organization through additional products and services.
The problem is that your members dona€™t always know where to find the value in your online customer community. You know your community better than anyone, so from your perspective your calls-to-action are probably as clear as can be. In order to catch their attention, you need to make deliberate and purposeful calls-to-action (CTAs) that make the conversion process as clear as possible. A call-to-action or CTA is simply any deliberate action you want your members to take, usually designated by a button, graphic, or link that brings them to a landing page. CTAs can be text or graphical, but their goal is always to get the viewer to convert on an action. As with any designated marketing in your online community, you want to find what tactics deliver the best results. For some engagement opportunities, the call-to-action should be above the fold (visible without any scrolling), while others require readers to have more context to build motivation to click and convert (example: the CTA at the bottom of a blog post - scroll down on this post). Commonly, the rule of thumb in private online communities is not to bury the CTA below the fold or in the middle of a cluttered page. One of the most common reasons members arena€™t responding to your CTA is likely that they havena€™t even noticed it. If you want your community members to do something, you need to use language that makes the action clear.
When youa€™re asking your customer or members to do something, you shouldna€™t be surprised if their first reaction is but whata€™s in it for me? For instance, if you want them to download your online communitya€™s latest guide or ebook, include the title so theya€™ll know what type of information theya€™ll be receiving. It might sound silly, but your members might not be clicking on your CTAs because they didna€™t recognize them as buttons or links.

As you experiment with the types of CTAs work best for your community, make sure you keep track of your data to establish your online community's best practices.
Not only do CTAs help guide your members to value opportunities within your community, but the conversions on those offers help your business or association leverage the value in your community to achieve specific business outcomes. If youa€™re seeing low numbers for your CTA click-throughs, consider how you can help your community members to better understand the value behind each offer.
Socious provides online community software and services to companies and associations to increase revenue, improve customer retention, and create more market-driven profitable products. Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King has attacked the government for creating an unfair burden on high-street retailers by not doing more to tax online-only rivals such as Amazon. He called for a level playing field and said politicians should take action or risk seeing the high street shrink further. His comments came days before G8 leaders meet in Northern Ireland, with tax avoidance, particularly among retailers such as Amazon, topping the agenda.
Several retailers have called on the government to lower business rates, with the British Retail Consortium campaigning on the issue.
This contrasts starkly with the fortunes of the UK’s biggest supermarket Tesco, which reported a 1% fall in sales as the horsemeat scandal put a chill on its sales of ready meals. Sainsbury’s, which avoided selling unlabelled horsemeat in its products, also reported that sales of its upmarket Taste the Difference range had been growing at 10% to reach ?1bn in sales. The grocer, which opened 19 new convenience stores in the last quarter, said it was on course to open two convenience stores a week for the rest of the year.
Online sales were up 16% year-on-year and convenience store sales rose 20% over the same period. For our study (presented by Small Business Trends), we randomly selected the web sites from a ReferenceUSA database of businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Clearly, the web sites feature basic design elements like a primary navigation, logo, text and images that refer to services and products. We have also created the “Small Business B2B Call to Action Checklist,” a tool you can use and adapt to size up and track your own efforts (e-mailed with this study).
70% don't display clear calls to action for anything on their home pages, such as specials, e-mail newsletters, how-to guides, demos, and interactive tools. The study includes several examples of how small businesses fail to effectively use calls to action, such as poor web design planning that can turn visitors away. However, some small business web sites in the study do manage to create reasonable calls to action. A 2013 Online Marketing Coach infographic, “Small Businesses Keep Missing the Mark Online,” referenced several studies from the last couple of years. These are the things that can make the difference between a few clicks and dozens of clicks and shares. In essence, you don’t want people to filter out your CTA and this means you need to show them exactly what you want them to do. Speaking to your potential customer’s lifestyle and the needs of that lifestyle and then tapping into this through showcasing the things you offer, is a good way to create that sense of urgency. People like people who are like them, it’s a simple fact of life and brands that realise this are going to succeed far faster than brands that don’t. It is the value of the information, discussions, and connections that turn an initial visit to the community into a habit. However your customers or members are often busy and distracted when they visit your online community, making them less likely to notice an opportunity to engage. This is certainly easier said than done, but before we get into how you can improve your CTAs, leta€™s back up a bit. These offers encourage members to take some level of engagement action, whether ita€™s responding to a discussion, checking out a new forum, reading a blog post, or signing up for a webinar series.
This refers to any CTA that is linked to your revenue-generating products, programs, or services.

In this case, converting simply means saying, a€?yesa€? to the offer and completing the desired action. However, you wona€™t know where you will get the best results until you test a variety of CTA placements and analyze the data. Particularly if your community space is busy, a small graphic is easy to visually gloss over.
Your calls-to-action will be more successful if they can highlight the value proposition that your community members will receive once they complete the action.
Make it as specific as possible without using too much explanatory texta€”youa€™ll be able to go into more detail on your landing page to complete the conversion; the CTA just needs to get them there.
To clear up this confusion, make your online community's calls-to-action physically look like buttons so your members will know they are clickable. Test a few different strategies and see how they play out with your customer community's target audiences.
However, none of this is possible without clear and recognizable calls-to-action that help your members know what action to take.
But remembera€”the tips wea€™ve offered might not be the gold standard for every online community. We have had a strong year, that is reflected in a 40% increase in the bonus pot and that is what has driven my overall package up 23%. It also plans to open 10 or 12 supermarkets, although King said these would not be the big-box superstores with large non-food ranges favoured by rival supermarkets. Most web sites lack prominent calls to action, such as text or graphics referencing incentives like guides, demos, resources, e-mail newsletters, etc. They include corporate brochures, e-commerce, demos and opportunities to sign up for newsletters. Never assume that people will know what you want them to do, so make sure to craft the CTA in clear language and with high quality imagery. In addition, Socialbakers found that there’s a 73% higher chance people will retweet if you place ‘RT’ in front of a tweet.
It is things that are important to your community members and worth their time that motivates them to visit, click, and contribute. They might not understand what you want them to do and how they can get the most out of their participation in the community.
You might want members to sign up for a training class, attend a customer conference, download information about a new product or service (think upsell lead generation), or renew their membership (i.e. If youa€™re worried theya€™re still going unnoticed, try adding more white space around the call-to-action and make it a little bigger. Phrases like a€?Download Now!a€? and a€?Join in the Discussion Today!a€? make the action you want your customers to take clear and add a sense of urgency to the offer. Use graphics that have a two-dimensional element, like shadows, so they appear to a€?popa€? off the page.
Other factors, like page placement and size, can be big determinants, so use data to inform your decisions. If the data you collect suggests a different approach gets better results, test those CTA ideas to identify the language, design, and placement that work best for your community. But sometimes small businesses create well designed forms that request basic information without going overboard with the data collection.

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