How to Improve Your Social Media “Calls to Action”

Source: socialmediaexaminer.com

How to Improve Your Social Media Calls to Action

Is your audience responding to your social activities?

Have you integrated the right calls to action into your social media strategy?

A call to action is a way for you to entice your social media audience to focus their attention on the next action you want them to take.

Here are seven steps for crafting calls to action to get your social community to do what you’d like them to and transform your social media marketing to get the results you want.

#1: Determine What You Want Prospects to Do

Your call to action should encourage readers to engage with you further.

You’ll want to break the activity into smaller steps that make sense to your audience. You can lose prospects at each step of the process, so you want to make it very easy for them.

Make readers an offer they want. What will get prospects to commit now? Your offer will vary based on your business and where the prospect is in the sales process. You can consider offering white paper downloads, ebooks, ongoing emails, discount coupons and/or free consultations.

#2: Create a Great Hook

You’ll need to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” This is what your prospects want to know.

And your request must make sense to them. This means not asking prospects to purchase if they’re still in an information-gathering mode.

So you’ll want to assess the tradeoff prospects are willing to make. From a participants’ perspective, going to the next step means they have to consider if it’s worth their effort and social capital. Consider the 90%/9%/1% ratio of social media engagement.

social media participation ratesOn social media platforms, participants tend to follow a 90% view, 9% share and 1% create.

Skip the promotion. People active on most social media platforms are focused on socializing and aren’t prepared to buy.

Among the exceptions are blogs, Tumblr and Pinterest. These social media venues encourage sales by providing valuable content that persuades, not merely promotes.

For example, below are three sample implied calls to action. King Arthur’s Flour offers recipes with enticing photos and explanations of baked goods with links to their product.

king arthur flour muffinKing Arthur’s Flour blog has several calls to action above the fold.

By contrast, Target uses Tumblr to show customers the fashion backstory and how to style their clothes. There’s no “Buy, Buy, Buy” in their content. They use social media sharing and notes to build customer excitement and engagement pre-purchase.

prabal gurung targetTarget Style’s Tumblr for their Spring 2013 Collection featuring Prabal Gurung.

#3: Motivate Prospects to Act

Remember, you want to give your readers a reason to act.

Provide sense of urgency. Remember you’re not just competing against other retailers for the same item or other tradeoffs; your bigger opposition is customer inaction. It’s much easier for prospects to click to the next shiny item. Tests byMarketing Experiments proved that increasing the urgency of the call to action improved response.

Make people an offer they can’t refuseGive them a one-time offer to encourage a response. Realize, however, they may only buy when you provide coupons going forward.

#4: Optimize Your Call to Action

Like other aspects of your content, formatting matters! Here are some points to consider.

  • Use a contextually relevant presentation. Your offer should make sense based on the social media platform where it appears. Use a consistent voice and language to represent your 360° brand.
  • Make your call to action stand out visually. Use color, typography and wording to enhance presentation of your call to action.
  • Qualify your offer. Make readers feel that opportunities are limited or time-sensitive. For example, “There are only 100 tickets left”.
  • Limit selection choices. Don’t give prospects too many options or you’ll suppress response because readers will put off acting because they need time to consider your offer.
  • Place calls to action in multiple locations on your pages. Take the “Don’t make me think” approach. Don’t assume using only one call to action will yield optimal results. For example, put social sharing buttons at the top and bottom of articles.
  • Keep calls to action above the fold. Make your call to action visible so your offer isn’t dependent on participants scrolling down. Similarly, have a persistent banner or other calls to action below the fold.
  • Put call-to-action options in order of importance. While you can present more than one call to action, make the hierarchy of importance clear to participants. The more important option should be bigger, shown first or be given more prominent positioning.
  • Include social sharing. Ask participants to share your offer with their social network by using social sharing buttons. 
    ll bean million moment campaignL.L.Bean Million Moment Campaign uses social media calls to action on Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Foursquare, as well as at live events and on their blog.

#5: Maintain a Consistent Presentation on Landing Pages

This is one of the biggest reasons calls to action don’t work. Send prospects to the appropriate step in the purchase process.

Make sure you use the same wording and graphics. The goal is to show continuity. Don’t let the reader think that you’ve sent them to the wrong place or they’ll leave.

king arthur call to actionUse of implied call-to-action on King Arthur Flour recipe for Morning Glory Muffins.

king arthur linksKing Arthur’s Flour links to Morning Glory Recipe have a consistent look and feel.

Tailor landing pages to increase resultsHubSpot research found that using more landing pages yielded better results. This makes sense because it translates to more targeted offers.

hubspot researchHubSpot chart showing the increase in the number of landing pages results in increased leads.

#6: Test to Maximize Results

Every element of your call to action can be tested. When testing, only modify one factor at a time or you won’t know what caused the change. Among the attributes to test are:

  • Text. Check the text on buttons as well as information surrounding the call to action.
  • Color. Take a holistic view of color. Consider the text and button colors, the background and the use of white space around the call to action.
  • Graphics. Test the use of photographs and other images.
  • Size. Assess the size of the call to action relative to the rest of the content.
  • Placement. Consider where on the page the call to action appears.

#7: Measure Results

How can you measure your results? You want to track the impact of your social media calls to action back to your original objectives. Here are some metrics to track:

  • Impressions are the number of people exposed to the call to action.
  • Click-throughs are the number of people who take action.
  • Click-through rate is the percentage of people who checked out your offer out of the number of people who saw it.
  • Completions are the number of people who filled out your form and submitted it.
  • Completion rate is the percentage of people who complete your form out of the number of people who clicked through.

3 Easy Steps to Engaging Your Customers

By 

Published November 29, 2012

Source: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/engagement-marketing-book-review/

 

Are your customers spreading a good word about your business?

Are you happy with your volume of referral business?

If not, it could be that your “engagement marketing engine” is not revved up.

 

What is Engagement?

Engagement is not just about unending, feel-good conversations on your blog orFacebook page.

According to Gail Goodman, author of Engagement Marketing: How Small Business Wins in a Socially Connected Worldengagement is when people qualify themselves – when a prospect raises her hand and says, “Yes, I’m interested in your company. Help me to get to know you a little more.”

Invariably people who have engaged with you online become customers at higher rates, and they in turn tell their friends about you, revving up your marketing engine over and over again.

If you’re a small business owner who wants to strengthen engagement with existing customers, get more repeat sales and even more referrals,Engagement Marketing is exactly the book for you.

Here are a few things you should know about it.

Author’s Purpose

gail goodmanGail Goodman, author of Engagement Marketing.

Gail Goodman wrote this book for small business owners who understand what it’s like to struggle to find new customers, retain old ones and get the biggest bang for your marketing buck.

As a small business expert, she knows firsthand that word-of-mouth and social media marketing can be game-changers for small organizations looking to achieve more success.

This book is about making your company so interesting and providing so much value that people will want to stay connected and maintain a relationship with you.

What to Expect

At 185 pages, Engagement Marketing is an inspiring book with relevant ideas for small business owners. In a down economy where small business has borne the brunt of the recession, Gail’s book points to a silver lining that will have you feeling more confident about the future.

She shows how small organizations across the country (Gourmet Coffee, Maas Nursery, Currier Museum of Art, The Beantown Sound and many others) are using creative engagement tactics (despite the fierce competition) to find new customers, win back old ones and make more money.

Here are some useful things you will learn:

  • The engagement marketing cycle – the idea of getting new customers through existing ones.
  • How social visibility happens – when your social network shares your content, your business is exposed to new prospects whom you can subsequently convert.
  • Engagement marketing tips and tricks – 5 additional insider tips that further increase your social visibility and ultimately bring in new customers.
  • And much more!

Highlights

The gist of Engagement Marketing is that when you delight your customers by serving them well, and then deepen your relationship with them via social media, they will give you more repeat business and even lead others to you.

Engagement marketing is a three-step process.

the engagement marketing cycleThe Engagement Marketing Cycle – experience, entice, engage!

#1: Deliver a WOW! Experience

One of the best ways to figure out whether you’re delivering a great customer experience is to look at your business from the outside inAsk yourself the following:

  • When people call your office, are they put on hold for 5 minutes, stuck listening to “Your call is very important to us” every 10 seconds?
  • What happens when you try to access your website from a mobile phone?
  • Is your website built on Flash?
  • When a customer complains about your service, does someone from your office respond immediately or are these comments ignored?

Here’s what a WOW! experience looks likeGourmet Coffee Service delivers office refreshment products to companies in the greater Los Angeles area.

Following their slogan ”We’re going to spoil you,” they send a driver out to the customer’s workplace every four weeks. When the driver arrives, he doesn’t just drop off the products (and an invoice). He straightens up and restocks the pantry, and then he cleans and maintains the coffee brewer. That in itself helps to keep costs down for the customer. The company also sends out nice, easy-to-read invoices.

Remember, when you deliver a WOW! experience, customers will be interested and open to keeping in touch with you.

#2: Entice Customers to Keep in Touch

Now that you’ve wowed your customers, the next thing you’ll want to do is entice them to keep in touch via email or social media. It’s important to keep in touch with customers for two reasons.

  • It drives repeat sales because it helps draw them back to your business.
  • It keeps you top-of-mind. Even if they delete your emails, your name stays on their radar and the next time they need your product again, they’ll be more likely to call you.
reception bell with hand isolated on whiteRepeat business is more likely to happen when you’ve kept in touch with customers. Image source: iStockphoto

Gourmet Coffee Service knows how to entice customers to stay in touch.

First they use their email newsletter to feature new tea and coffee products, biscotti or eco-friendly cups and napkins. Customers choose whatever they want to sample and email their requests back to the company. Dedicated reps then handle the orders and ensure that customers get their “goody bags” when their driver visits next.

They also have a “Refer a friend” campaign whereby customers who refer a friend via email receive gift certificates for more delicious treats.

There’s one thing that you have to be careful about with email newsletters and social media content, however. “You have to walk a fine line between content that benefits your customers and content that is self-serving,” cautions Bob Tullio, owner of Gourmet Coffee.

#3: Engage People

Once your customers opt into your social content, you have to make sure they stay by engaging them on a regular basis.

Engaging people means delivering interesting, relevant content that gets them to take an action. Engagement includes everything from likes, comments and shares to downloads, event registrations and online purchases.

Keep in mind that online participation often translates into offline engagement.

Gourmet Coffee engages fans on their Facebook page with exciting giveaways and contests such as their “Driver Contest.” Customers were invited to post comments about why they love their drivers. (Editor’s note: All Facebook competitions are subject to Facebook’s guidelines. You can find out more here.)

The company also committed to giving away valuable prizes (e.g., Bose SoundDock Digital Music Systems) by entering people who liked their page in a weekly drawing. Winners were announced each week through videos posted on Facebook.

In just 11 months after implementing these easy engagement tactics, Gourmet Coffee earned more than $100,000 in additional revenue, and the “Refer a friend” campaign netted dozens of referrals, with 7 of them turning into $5000-a-month accounts!

If you put yourself in customers’ shoes, you can see why it would be easy for them to keep in touch with a company that delights them with sample goody bags, clean pantries, dedicated reps and drivers, interesting newsletters and amazing content.

Key Takeaways

  • Figure out how you can provide a WOW! experience to your customers. It doesn’t have to break the bank, it just needs to be delightful (being on time, nice packaging, thank-you notes, customer rep phone calls to ensure everything is OK and so on).
  • Start with one initial connection method (e.g., email newsletter or a blog) for enticing customers to keep in touch. Remember engagement marketing is an opt-in strategy, so give customers a reason (i.e., a benefit) to keep in touch with you.
  • Once you have that piece gaining traction, add a social media platform(where your customers hang out) and experiment with different types of content to see what your potential customers like. Be sure to measure results and repeat what works.

Personal Impression

Gail’s book offers a practical, hands-on approach to using social media for customer engagement. I especially enjoyed her case studies because she used ordinary small businesses that were easy to relate to.

I also liked many of her budget-friendly content marketing tips. For example, when creating incentives for your email newsletter, do something simple and cheap such as bundling your five most popular blog posts into a special “toolkit” report.

On the downside though, I felt that the whole idea of “engagement marketing” is nothing new. Most business owners know that they must provide a great customer experience if they want to stay in business.

It’s true that social media has created new opportunities to entice and engage customers (and the book gives many good examples), but even that has been in place for a long time.

That said, I highly recommend the book because it delivers very important yet achievable strategies for using social media to attract repeat and referral business.

Social Media Examiner gives this perceptive book a 4-star rating.