When it comes to social sharing, calls to action (CTAs) are perhaps the most important piece of the complex social media puzzle. Whether you’re seeking retweets on Twitter, shares and “likes” on Facebook, or greater visibility via any other forms of social sharing, CTAs are crucial. But how can we build interest and integrate CTAs without making them seem forced? When composing and marketing a blog post, tweet, Facebook status, LinkedIn update, or even writing a job description for your applicant tracking system (ATS), the following steps lay the groundwork for creating effective CTAs.
What do You Want from Your Readers? Be Specific!
First and foremost, figure out the desired action. Do you want viewers to share the update? Are you trying to spread a certain message? Do you want your audience to stick around and view other (future and previous) content you have shared? Hopefully you answered “Heck yeah!” to all of the above. For recruiters, even if you’re tweeting about a job opportunity—you have a specific population in mind, and they need to know that.
Once you know the desired action and corresponding response that you are seeking, only then should you begin to compose your message. Write with conviction; if you don’t buy what you’re selling, neither will anyone else. This eliminates any chance of publishing fluff and can take your social recruiting efforts to a new level.
Craft an Effective Hook.
Developing a hook can be tricky. Your content needs to draw people in from the get-go, and this requires a hook that will resonate with your audience or, at the very least, spark their interest. A hook is the concept of your message in a nutshell; not just any concept, a fresh idea that instantly clamps down on the attention span of your audience and doesn’t let go until you’ve gotten your point across. Take classic film The Wizard of Oz, for example: “Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home.” Now that is a 140-character hook (128, actually) that has stood the test of time.
As I peruse my Twitter and Facebook feeds, I tend to lose interest in content that blends in with the masses. Think about it: There are literally millions of feeds across the globe, each one resembling a leaf on a tree. If that leaf falls to the ground right along with the thousands of other seemingly identical leaves, it’s going to get raked up and bagged without a second thought. A creative, quick and concise hook can incite clicks, shares and engagement throughout the duration of your content.
Ask Viewers to Spread the Word, but Earn Social Media Shares.
As you conclude your message, be sure to include a specific CTA. As Facebook and Twitter users well know, you can “like”, share, favorite or retweet all content that you come across. You have to earn that share, however. People aren’t charitable for charity’s sake; their time is a business, and they likely won’t invest in sharing content that is bland or uninteresting—even if sharing has becomes as simple as a click of the mouse.
As mentioned previously, CTAs require specificity, and what that means is taking all of the guesswork out of your request. While just about everybody on Facebook knows that in order to share something, you simply click the “share” button, it’s important to actually call that out. Obvious enough, right? Don’t be so sure.
According to HubSpot, tweets that include “Please retweet” are four times more likely to be retweeted at least once than those with no CTA whatsoever. Although this can come across as self-promotional, research indicates it does indeed work. The important thing to remember, however, is that it’s about finding a healthy balance. Asking your audience to retweet or share content that is unimportant to a greater audience will turn them away. But attaching a share request to meaningful content like a blog post or social media update will be respected and appreciated.
This goes beyond just social forums and blog posts; for example, when writing a job description for your ATS, include a CTA on that job. It can be as simple as “Click the ‘apply’ button today!” Your audience is smart, and they understand how to share content—but statistics show a polite shove in the right direction can increase viewership and interaction.
An effective call to action can increase your page’s overall visibility, your credibility and ultimately your reach. It can spark interest, organic searches and referrals. Likewise, being specific with your call to action can lead to greater social sharing. For instance, “Spread the good word by sharing this blog post with your friends. No really, do it.” This isn’t a drill, scroll up and click share! Just kidding, but you get the idea.
Post contributed by Andrew Rojahn, Pinstripe Social Media Specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn.