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If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you know that I never miss out on the chance to talk about the three things that every good social media post needs – a picture, a caption and a call to action.
Now, even though we talk about these three things all the time in this podcast, I think it’s time we zoom in on one of these pieces that may be the most intimidating, possibly confusing, but definitely SO IMPORTANT. I’m talking about a call to action.
In today’s episode, we’re talking about what a call to action actually is, how to use one in your Facebook and Instagram posts, how to write a meaningful call to action, and I’ve got the most crucial tip on what your nonprofit’s BEST call to action is.
By the end of this episode, you’re going to be on fire about using these game changing tips to make your social media posts more effective than ever as we zoom in on the call to action!
A call to action is when you tell someone to do something.
For example, in your nonprofit’s Facebook post, when you say “call us to volunteer,” or “make an appointment today,” or “register now.” Those are each a call to action.
A call to action is when you are urging your audience to take action after seeing your post.
Now, why does a good nonprofit social media post need a call to action? Because your nonprofit’s social media post is meant to increase support for your organization, or inform and inspire people to take advantage of your services.
To do any of those things, you need to ask your audience to follow through. You need to give people direction on what to do next.
Think about it, if you and I were standing in your kitchen, and I showed you a cup that I was holding in my hand, and then, without saying a word, I just handed it to you and walked away…
What would you be thinking?
You’d probably be kind of confused right?
You’d be thinking, “What do you want me to do with this? Hold it? Drink it? Put it down?”
The main purpose of a call to action is to avoid this kind of confusion and drive your audience to the next step – clicking your link, reading your blog, signing up for something, learning more about your mission or your services on your website.
You have to direct their next step after they see your post.
If you don’t, do you know what’s most likely going to happen? Nothing.
This is why you need a call to action in your nonprofit’s Facebook and Instagram posts.
Now that you know what a call to action is and why it’s important in social media, let’s talk about what your nonprofit’s BEST call to action is…
This is the most crucial tip on what your nonprofit’s BEST call to action is…
The best call to action to use for your nonprofit’s social media posts is the one you can monitor.
You have to pay attention to the thing that you just directed people to do.
If you told people to call your nonprofit on the phone, you have to answer their calls, or at least return their calls within 24 hours. If you told people to send you a Facebook message or email or contact you through your website, you have to keep up with your inbox and respond within 24 hours – that’s what most people expect nowadays. If you told people to register for something, follow up with them to confirm.
In addition to choosing a call to action you can monitor, make sure that call to action is easy for your audience to use. It has to be one click, or one call, simple, straightforward and easy to understand.
Here are some tips on using a great call to action in your nonprofit’s social media post:
1. Use only one call to action per post.
Think of your call to action as the only door in a room. If there’s only one door, which one is your audience going to choose? The only one that is available to them. If you put more than one door in the room, then they have to make a decision, and that’s where things get complicated. That’s where people back out. It takes too much energy to make decisions, so they choose not to make one at all. So don’t make your audience make a decision, guide them to where you want them. Give them one door to go through.
2. Make it stand out and easy to read.
Make your call to action its own paragraph or line so there is white space around it. This will help it to stand out more and easier to read, so even if your audience is just scanning your Facebook or Instagram post, their eye will be drawn to your call to action.
3. Use action words and phrases
For example: Learn more, register now, read more, sign up, call today, make an appointment, join us, click the link, support, donate, fight, transform, act. These are just some of my favorite examples to help get you started.
You can even take it a step further if you want and add in some inspiration and emotion to those action words and phrases. You can do this by adding identity to your call to action – tell your audience who or what they’ll be helping or doing by using a call to action like, “Support a child,” or “Help a family in need today,” or “Save a dog from spending Christmas in a shelter.”
4. Make it urgent.
Use words like “now” or “today.” Instead of saying, “Call to make an appointment” say, “Call now to make an appointment.” It’s a little word with big power. You’re not only telling your audience what to do, you’re telling them to do it right away!
5. Keep it short.
The more words you add to your call to action, the more likely it is to become confusing. Keep it short – one sentence, for example: “Make an appointment today, call 555-4321 or online at agathasangels.com.”
You can give people more than one option for contacting you (like a website and a phone number), but stick to just one or two.
6. Save it for last.
Have you ever watched an infomercial? The other night, I found myself watching the infomercial about the steel nonstick frying pan - you know, the one where the chef melts a handful of peppermints, still in the plastic wrappers, in the frying pan and then easily wipes up the mess with just one swipe (I need to get rid of my TV). Every infomercial works the same. They present the problem, and their solution for it, and then, they hammer it all home with a call to action… “Call now to order your frying pan.”
They do that because they know they can’t just ask you to buy the frying pan without seeing how it works first. They make you recognize the need for the product first, then they show you the solution to the need, and then, they tell you how to easily get on board. You’re using those same principals in your nonprofit’s social media posts with a call to action.
For example, if you’re creating a Facebook post for your nonprofit pregnancy care center… In your post, you will identify the need or the issue – which is generally a pregnancy in which the woman needs care or support – then you spell out the solution, which would be your nonprofit’s services, and follow it up with a call to action – telling your audience to call you or visit your website.
Here’s a sample post to give you an example of a call to action.
(If the image is not visible, click here to view image of sample post.)
Remember, make it easy for your audience to act on the call to action you’ve given them, and to pay attention to them when they do follow through with it.
I hope this has been a big confidence boost to your call to action skills. This is just one more thing you can add to your tool kit in marketing your nonprofit organization.
You are doing a fantastic job – look at you right now, listening to this podcast, and taking steps to learn how to propel your organization forward and keep unlocking your nonprofit potential! You are doing amazing and I am so proud of you. I truly love hearing from you and what you’re working on, so please don’t be shy, send me an email, or find me on Facebook and Instagram using the links below and send me a message. Let me know what your organization is all about so I can be your biggest cheerleader.
If you have a question for me – be brave and ask! Send me a message on Facebook or Instagram or send me an email through NonprofitPotential.com and I’ll answer it on the show!
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