By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS — One of the hot phrases in social media and content management right now is “call to action.” It’s a phrase I remember hearing not long after I first got into radio. However, now it’s a major buzz word in the digital media world, where it’s a new and rapidly evolving concept.
As I learned it in radio, it was a phrase that basically asked for the sale for whatever was being promoted at the time. “So join us at noon and phone in your request.” “Make sure you come early for this special sale.” “We’re offering free trials of this special new weight loss product, but only if you call before midnight.”
A call to action is the tool that turns a flat spot, promo or jock liner into one that directs the listener to take some action. Thus, it takes something ineffective and makes it effective.
Now, social media is jumping on the call to action bandwagon because businesses and brands need their fans to be more responsive than they’ll be if left to their own devices. A social media call to action is a way of phrasing your posts and content so as to elicit a particular response. That response would be for your fans to engage repeatedly by liking, retweeting, commenting on, favorite-ing or sharing, so that your posts get shown to more people.
For example, think about your radio station’s Facebook page. You could see your page’s audience as the people who have chosen to “Like” you. However, that’s thinking too small. If a social media manager does his or her job right, the target audience is not only your followers, but all your followers’ friends, too. The more your content is engaged with, the more it gets shown to people outside your small circle of followers. That potential audience is geometrically larger than the number of people who simply “Liked” your page.
What we’ve learned is that if followers are not immediately pulled in by your first few words, you have probably lost them. They’re not going to click “Like” or “Retweet” if they don’t bother reading the whole post. You might grab their attention with expressive or emotional language, a clear, compelling opportunity, or information that not everybody has. There are multiple ways of driving engagement, depending in part on who you are, what social platform you’re on, who your target is and what you want them to do.
In the radio world, there are a lot of promos that start with, “Radio 103 and your local Shell dealers are teaming up to save you some money!” Then, they end 30 seconds later with, “and you’ll have a chance to win a $100 gas card!” If you’re going to put this on your station’s Facebook page, you’re going to want to create a post that just says, “Here’s how to win a $100 Shell gas card,” with a great photo of the card or a Shell station or a happy winner, and a link to more information.
There’s no one perfect way to do this, but there are lots of ways to try. It takes a little extra thought instead of just tweeting your promo liners, and a little extra time to keep your eye on what posts get responded to. Your motivation to do so? You can turn a couple of thousand followers into more than a quarter of a million impressions over a month’s time.
Chris Miller, owner of Chris Miller Digital, is a leading radio consultant specializing in research-based strategic planning and smart use of digital media. He can be phoned at 216-236-3955 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.