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Call to Action on Social Media: Learn What Works

What is call to action? Why is it important and what do you get out of an effective CTA? More importantly, how do you discover your most effect...

call to action on social media

What is call to action? Why is it important and what do you get out of an effective CTA? More importantly, how do you discover your most effective CTA?

Defining call to action

A call to action is you telling your target audience what you expect them to do after your marketing pitch.

When you are crafting a CTA, remember that you are calling the shots – guiding your audience through an imaginary journey and telling them where to go: read this, consider options, register, buy. Think of yourself as a tour guide on your customers’ journey from their need or desire to its fulfillment.

Well-placed CTAs lead the way – to a purchase, download or subscription.

This means that labelling each step of the way correctly is crucial. If your CTA says “Shop now”, your link needs to lead to your webstore. If your CTA says “Sign up here”, clicking your link has to open the correct sign up form.

Why good CTA on social media is important?

“Social is cutthroat, I’d be happy with 5% CTR in social,” was the first thing content marketer and Orbit Media co-founder Andy Crestodina told me when talking about CTAs on social media. That’s why providing a good reason for your audience to follow your call to action is vital.

I’ll start with a quick overview of built-in CTA buttons on Facebook and Instagram you can use for your marketing campaigns, and get into more detail with in-the-post CTAs as those are totally up to you and there’s much more variety when it comes to the copy you can use for them.

Built-in CTAs on Facebook and Instagram

Built-in CTA buttons on Facebook and Instagram have been designed and tested by teams of professionals and are much easier to use.

On Facebook, click the Add Page Button next to your page cover and pick one of the available options:

    • Book Now
    • Contact Us
    • Send Message
    • Call Now
    • Sign Up
    • Send Email
    • Watch Video
    • Learn More
    • Shop Now
    • See Offers
    • Use App
    • Play Game
    • Visit Group

facebook cta buttons

Image from Facebook

Pro tip: Learn More has the highest conversion rates as tested within campaigns upwards of 0.5 million dollars, as per marketing experts we talked to when preparing this post.

Here is where Facebook built-in CTA button in located on the page:

shein facebook page cta button

You can also add a CTA button to your promoted post, like so:

promoted post cta button

On Instagram, built-in CTAs include:

    • Buy/Get Tickets
    • Start Order
    • Book
    • Reserve

To add one, go to Edit profile > Contact options > Add an action button.

The installed button appears next to the contact information buttons of the app interface for business pages:

instagram built-in cta

In-the-post CTAs

Crafting a call to action to add in your post is arguably the most essential part of your social media marketing as users see your timeline updates and promoted posts way more often than they visit your business page.

The very first thing you want to do in your post is convince your readers to act in the first place.

“Offer a glimpse of what they’ll get from subscribing,” advises content and influencer marketing strategist at Go Fish Digital Jessie Butner. “Pull a meaningful quote from the content that will grab [readers’] attention and make them want to read more,” she adds.

Here are three practical solutions for effective in-post CTAs you can use right now:

  • List clear, measurable advantages of immediate action, e.g. saving x dollars, having a good time or solving a problem, finding out an answer to a relevant question, etc.

For example, in this post by Roberto Cavalli the brand explains why one may need fancy dinnerware and calls to show now:

cavalli dinnerware facebook post

  • Create a sense of urgency to your offer – set a deadline and remind the audience that they are running out of time.

Here’s an example of a time-limited offer from Chili’s Grill & Bar:

chili's grill & bar facebook post cta

  • Ensure your CTA corresponds the step your user is at: don’t try to get them to buy before they get the chance to make up their mind about your offer.

Staying true to your voice

No two companies are the same, some prefer simple CTAs that do the job at the very end of their post, others like to weave them into the post more organically.


microsoft store shop now cta in facebook post


google kermit the frog facebook post cta

Marketing expert Maureen Jann, Marketing Director and Strategist at SuperDeluxe Marketing, recommends sticking to your brand voice in your CTA.

“Where you are really going to engage with your most profitable audience is when you infuse your voice into every nuance of your copy, INCLUDING the CTA,” she says.

“For instance, if you sell ice cream and you’re sharing a tidbit about ice cream on social media and you want to drive them into a longer blog post, make a CTA like Grab a Sweet Surprise or Eat up More Interesting Facts. Ensuring that you’re weaving the voice that attracts your best customers into each CTA helps drive customer through funnel with a micro-yes that will pay off in the long run,” she explains.

What works

  • Just say it

Getting to the point in your CTA is what Twitter recommends in their study of 20,000 promoted tweets. The study showed that straightforward calls to download, retweet, follow or reply notably improved results.

For example, explicitly asking users for a retweet increases retweets on average of 311% for timeline tweets and 317% for tweets that appear in search. Tweets that ask for a reply saw reply increase by 334% (timeline) and 307% (search).

  • Engage emotions

Answering my question about ideal CTA in a social media post, the words that work and if shorter CTAs work better, BBC World Service social media editor Yolanda Valery explained.

“We normally don’t get set on length. When you are writing, think of: making what you are offering clear (no riddles or bait!) and what is going to generate a reaction (emotion, wow, practical info).” [emphasis added]

BBC World Service twitter cta

Image from Twitter

A/B testing

In order to know for sure which CTA wording will get you the best results, you’ll need to A/B test your selection. Run split test using Facebook built-in A/B split test tool and manually track your CTA results for platforms like Instagram or Twitter using to create links for each of you test options and analyze results.

split testing on facebook

Split testing process visualization on Facebook. Image from Facebook

Facebook offers split testing of your posts by dividing your audience “into random, non-overlapping groups” and calculates cost per each ad set. You can run split tests for most types of ads, including ads to gain traffic, generate leads, get reach and engagement and more.

Implement our advice and let us know the results in the comments below or in VistaCreate Users group on Facebook!

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VistaCreate Team

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