Whatever you read about marketing you will always find the words ‘call to action’ or CTA. It’s where you ask your readers/viewers/users to do something as a means to encourage engagement or conversions (think a button on a sales page or a question in a tweet). But along the way, the use of a CTA in content marketing has become distorted.
You only have to spend minutes online to come across tons of unenthusiastic, just-there-because-I’ve-been-told-I-should-use-one CTAs. And it rattles me because people are missing a huge opportunity to use them effectively to boost engagement, boost reach and boost conversions. I don’t want you to be one of those people.
Recently I was close to giving up with Instagram. Not because I blamed the algorithm (I believe we can work WITH them) but because I wasn’t getting a return on investment when it came to creating conversation. So I did what I always try to do (even when things are going well) and looked at what’s happening and why. I put myself into the shoes of my audience. And what I discovered is what’s triggered this post… people weren’t engaging because I wasn’t giving them a reason to – my captions and calls to action sucked. They were rhetorical, uninteresting and serving absolutely no purpose. Plus in some cases, they were asking users to take too many steps.
When I started to ask myself “is there anything to respond to?” and “does this make me feel like this person really wants to have a chat with me?” it changed the game. GENUINE COMMENTS started coming in on every single post – not just a few words either. I feel so much more connected to people now and I’ve started to build a community not just about the visuals.
My mum (who works as my Admin and Marketing Assistant) spends time every day looking for opportunities for both her and me to engage as Sparked Passion. Since she’s been doing this, we’ve learned a lot about what makes us want to interact and wanted to share with you the challenge she often faces –
“Sometimes there is nothing to reply to. The image AND the caption need to be powerful and engaging – they go hand in hand. Sometimes it feels like it is there for the sake of it. Even if people have not used a call to action, the caption needs to feel authentic, interesting, inspiring and valuable for me to be able to comment”
It’s not just Instagram that this is a problem. I’ve just hopped over to Facebook and spotted “what do you think?” – the most commonly used, yet most makes me feel like not telling you CTA question ever. Your CTA should almost be able to stand alone – if I hadn’t read/watched the rest of this piece of content, could I still know what you’d like from me?
Give some options like A-D or 🐵-🙈 so people who are short on time can get involved or to give people a jumping off point so they can expand. Janet Murray is the BEST at this, even if sometimes controversial (Y/N options sometimes isn’t enough and people won’t hesitate to voice that)!
Increasing engagement is about small tweaks like this on each of your platforms.