social media how to

Want more traffic to your website?

What if you could double the click-through rates of your social media updates?

Extra traffic from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter would be nice, right?

In this article you’ll discover four steps for crafting a great call to action that improves click-throughs.

Why Driving Traffic Matters

Your website is the hub of your online marketing efforts. It’s where your audience can find the answers to their questions and where you deepen relationships with readers, offer value to visitors, and yes, maybe even encourage email signups and purchases.

In an ideal world, you’d be funneling all of your social fans and followers to your website so you could do just that.

a blog post shared on facebook

When you share your latest blog post on Facebook, you want your fans to click through and read it on your website.

Unfortunately, it’s been a time-honored struggle for businesses to get potential customers to take action.

In most cases, you need to give them a little push. That’s what this article is about.

Read on to find out how to entice your social media fans and followers to click through to your website where you can create a deeper connection with them.

#1: Tell Fans What You Want Them to Do

Most businesses make the same mistake in their social media updates: They don’t have a call to action that routes people back to their website.

In the example below, Evan Carmichael (a friend of mine), shared an image and quote from Michael Jordan. EDITOR’s NOTE: Please see the discussion in the comments section below. You should be aware of ownership and copyright issues when putting your name and logo onto an image that doesn’t belong to you.

branded image of a michael jordan quote on google+

Branding images you share is a great first step to expanding your reach.

I love that Evan put his logo on the image, because when the image is shared, people see the logo and it’s more exposure for him. Unfortunately, it won’t drive traffic to his site.

In the future, Evan can leverage his sharable images to drive traffic by including a link (within the update, on the image or both) to related content on his site.

Amy Porterfield is another friend that is uber-smart and uses Facebook wisely. You can see in the example below that the quote she shared was liked 72 times and shared 53 times (at the time of this writing).

robert louis stevenson quote image

Think about how you can use shareable content to get interaction on both your social update and your website.

While Amy is sharing a great quote and status update that encourages interaction on Facebook, the lack of branding and no link back to her site hurts her click-through rate.

To encourage people to interact both on Facebook and her website, she could ask the same question, but include a link back to a post that helps people brainstorm ideas or start a new project. That could be a nice boost in website traffic.

If she put her logo on the image, as Evan did, she’d also get more exposure when it’s shared.

#2: Give Fans a Reason to Click Through

Every piece of content you create should be used to help you deepen the connection with the people you engage with on social media. You can do that by writing and sharing smart stuff on your website that solves a pain point and leads your audience to the next step.

If people like what they read, then they may sign up for your email list or even consider buying something from you.

Marc and Angel are brilliant at using Facebook to drive traffic to their personal development blog; it’s usually their #2 traffic source each month.

Below you can see how they promote their audio book and entice their fans to visit their site. This kind of promotion and call to action can lead to big sales!

facebook post with text image

A smart mix of interesting text, an attractive image, a call to action and a link can drive a lot of traffic to your site.

So far I’ve given Facebook examples, but LinkedIn is also a great place to drive traffic to your website.

In the update below, Andrea Vahl created a strong call to action that included urgency. Her message told people what to expect, asked them to act quickly and included a link to her sales page.

linkedin link post with a call to action

Include a call to action that gives your readers a reason to click over to your website.

It’s great to talk about your own products and services, but if you can get someone else to talk about them, that’s when you’ll see the real power of social media.

Fans and followers are more likely to click through when someone they trust suggests they should take notice of something.

For example, Jon Morrow tweeted out to his 28,000+ followers that an article at Copyblogger was worth their time (link included of course).

tweet with a link and attribution

Leverage your existing network to create new relationships.

When a social influencer gives his audience’s precious attention to you, then you’re one step closer to getting that audience to trust you.

#3: Create a Cohesive Message

As you write and share your social media messages that (you hope) funnel people to your site, think about how all of the parts of the message fit together. If there is even a slight inconsistency, the reader will likely pause, then stop their forward momentum.

Ask yourself: Does the headline fit the image? Does the image fit the text? Does your call to action fit your goal, image and text? Does the landing page fit everything that came before it?

To get the most out of your efforts, look at which social updates, blog posts and advertising campaigns your prospective customers have responded well to in the past.

When you find the underlying connection and craft a similar message that recreates the response, you’ll start to see consistent improvements in your click-through rate.

And remember, the way you frame your message has a big impact on your success.

In the weeks leading up to Social Media Marketing World, Social Media Examiner was promoting a sale on tickets to the event.

facebook post that shows value

Providing high value is attractive to your fans.

The update calls fans’ attention to the high perceived value of the deal: If you buy a discounted ticket, you could meet Jay Baer and other influencers and be one of 2000 marketers at the largest social media marketing trade show.

The text, the image, the caption—the whole package—worked together to tempt fans to visit the Social Media Examiner website and buy a ticket to Social Media Marketing World.

#4: Make Your Landing Page Exciting

Now that you have everyone’s attention, what are you going to do with it? Where will your new visitors land when they get to your website?

If you go to the trouble of coming up with a great headline, writing a strong call to action and including a link to your site, it’s worth having your readers land on a page that gets them excited about what you’re asking them to do.

Gary Vaynerchuk knows that a great landing page focuses on the action that you want your visitors to take when they arrive from a social media link.

a blog post shared on facebook

Gary Vaynerchuk’s landing page has several options to let users buy his books, and a call to action to subscribe to his email list.

For example, you may want to share a free article with your audience in exchange for their email address.

Use your landing page to provide more information and another clear, strong call to action and the means to complete that action.


Strong relationships are an important part of conversion. The more value you offer your fans, the more likely they are to click through.

With a few tweaks to your social updates, you can draw your fans and followers to your website.

Be consistent with your messaging, brand your images, provide a clear call to action and share a link that lets your fans complete that action. You’ll see results in no time.

What do you think? What have you done to light your audience on fire? What’s helped you increase the click-through rate from your social media accounts? Share in the comments!

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  • Deepanshu Gahlaut

    Interesting stuff, thanks Karl. Inspite of these, Incorporating useful keywords and words that suggests urgency like ‘limited period offer’ may be helpful for increasing CTR.

  • Well written article!

    I agree on point #1, but I think one has to be careful when ushering people to do things – it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to be too authoritarian and just generating a rebellious reaction from readers.

  • Hi Deepanshu! Your call to action has to fit your personality and your landing page’s theme. Most of these examples were trust building posts that can help tip people to their website. You have to be very aware of how often you can create an offer on your social media accounts for them to buy from you. You should want to create more value posts than offer posts on all your accounts, so you are focused on earning their trust first and then going for the sale.

  • Hi Sebastian! It all depends on how you develop your call to actions. If all you do is ask people to visit your site I agree, but if you are helping them learn more information and deepen their connection with you then that’s a more positive experience.

  • Getting them to click though to your site is easy – getting them (Facebook Fans) to click on anything once they come over to your site is highly problematic

  • Thank you for the great share Karl.It seems you have written this after a good research.

    Nowadays i am noticing that post with the emotions is getting more clicks then others.

  • Candace Chira

    Excellent article. I got some really great ideas that I’m looking forward to trying out.

  • Paula Zimmerman

    Here’s a question-we’re running a non-profit. We’ve been able to compile a great list of African proverbs (our organization is US based and running programs in Africa) that we plan to create memes and re-tweetables with. When we do our CTA’s to get website opt-ins, how can we make a newsletter offering enticing to our social media followers?

  • Good tips, except for #1. If the image isn’t yours you shouldn’t slap your logo on it and pretend you created it. And slapping a url on the image would look ugly as well. Also sometimes you are posting a photo purely for engagement and not to drive traffic, that’s what link posts are for. And with the latest news feed algorithm updates posting a photo with link bait in the text may cause the post to be seen by less..

  • Nikita Alok Sharma

    Well done Karl! Nice and very useful information.
    These small tricks can give us very big benefits.

  • Great stuff here Karl… I can just choose one of these tips that I resonate with. Speaking of spreading the word through social media, one thing that I started doing was ask people that join my subscriber list to tweet about how great it is to join my VIP list. This is a great way to take advantage of the power of Word-Of-Mouth! Thanks for sharing!

  • Harshal Tote

    #1 is something that even i am a bit sceptical about.. will it not cause a copyright infringement? and even if the image is not copyrighted can you still put our company logo & link? how ethical (for a lack of a better word) would it be?

    Ofcourse Thank you for the rest, they are helpful.

  • Sounds reasonable – keeping the reader in focus is important as always!

  • Great post Karl. I am a HUGE believer in calls to action and I love your examples (especially Jon’s great “teaser” tweet) but I do agree with Scott for similar reasons. Some images (ie how-to, quotes, tips of your own) are served best by branding and url’s as they are your own knowledge/IP …but there is a place to remove all branding altogether. Quotes and lighthearted images are great for getting shares, and on Facebook and Google+ as they are still inherently linked to your page and they expose people to your content on that particular platform. Yes, it removes the direct link to your website but for that sort of “fluffy” content, the person is less likely to jump over to your website on the basis of a “quote” and more likely to share it with their friends. It comes back to the concept of people being on Facebook to be entertained and not to buy your products and services. But the kicker is this:

    I am finding more and more that if you remove all branding on an image that is highly shareable (designed just to increase shares and exposure “in-platform”) it does MUCH better than if you cover it with url’s and logos. Feedback from pages indicates that they love to share unbranded images as it is almost like they are sharing something original of their own (even though it is still linked to your G+ or Facebook page). I talked about this at SMMW with some examples and I intend to investigate the psychology of it more as well as experimenting and testing some more. Thanks again for a great article.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Good tips.

    I listen to the audience. It’s not about what I want, it’s about what they want and need. I also make sure they feel a pat of the community by encouraging them to share, whether it’s a photo or answer to a question. It’s about building, developing, and strengthening the relationship with the community and making sure the “message” (whatever it is) spreads.

  • Tracy Wisneski

    Some interactions are meant to be engaged with directly on the SNS – in order to build engagement, brand affinity and visibility in the news feed. People don’t always have time for a click-through while browsing, but would otherwise interact on the newsfeed. Building that engagement and visibility then makes the linked posts more likely to get the visibility and CTR desired.

  • Great Karl Staib !! I’ve seen great success with spending a couple of bucks on Facebook, they have great targeting.

  • Annon

    Does this blog post upset anyone else? There’s some fundamentally ridiculous advice here – the opening tip condones infringement and encourages placing links where they don’t belong. Then, the author fails to follow their own tip #3, and closes with a tip that doesn’t pertain to click-through whatsoever.

  • Hi Mitch! This is true of Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. as well. The key is to make the your message congruent with your irresistible site. That’s why great landing pages are so important to any thriving online business.

  • Hi Subodh! Yep, stories that touch people’s hearts are very important to having a chance at deepening the connection.

  • Hi Candace! Thank you. Let me know how it goes after you tried a few ideas out.

  • Hi Paula! Great question. The key is to make the offer more valuable than the time it takes to sign-up and process your emails. Why should they sign-up and what will be the results that they get when they do? If you want to dig a little deeper just send me a quick email.

  • Hi Scott! I completely agree. I’m not sure if Evan received permission to use that photo or not. It would have been much more powerful if the image was more inline with his business. The more congruent the post is with your brand the easier it is to deepen the connection.

  • Hi Harshal! I agree. I probably could have picked a better example.

  • Hi Donna! You make a very good point. Not every post is meant to deepen the connection with you. A post can just be a inspirational pick-me-up.

    The thing is the big brands can do this, but I suggest to most of my clients that they find a way to send people back to their site because branding is important, but connection is the main goal.

    You don’t always have to brand the image, but I would suggest putting a link back to your site in the message section so you make it easy for people who want to engage with you.

  • Hi Nikita! Thank you.

  • Hi Sherman! The more people you can reach the more people you can help. I would like to add that it’s important that you’ve earned their trust first before you ask for a tweet and that just comes down to testing.

  • Hi Amandah! Yep. Listening is hard for us to do. I admit that sometimes I jump in too quickly. When I stop myself and take more time to listen, I do a better job of building real connections.

  • Hi Tracy! I agree. The key is to let them make that decision. If you don’t give them a chance to deepen the connection they won’t take action.

  • Hi Saman! You have to “pay to play” as Amy Porterfield likes to say. 🙂

  • Hi Annon! Thanks for letting me know how you feel. I agree with you about #1. I replied to your previous comment. As for #3 I’m not sure what you mean. The last one is the next step to deepening the connection with your visitor. You may have a wonderful CTR, but if they are landing on a page that isn’t congruent with your message, you won’t have a chance to engage them.

  • Ya sure without doing that we can not deliver what we want to deliver to the reader.

  • Pingback: The Top 5 Emerging Technology Trends of 2014 & The 3 C’s of Content Marketing… It’s Skimming the News! | Blog |

  • Bravo, Karl — beautifully articulated! In your debt. Thanks for an immensely instructive post.

    You make clear, at last, that the social media best practices you describe so well — having evolved over decades directly from traditional, time-tested copywriting practices — are, in fact, not new. Which is precisely why your call-to-action (CTA) rules absolutely work! (Super examples, by the way.) Just as they’ve been working since the 1960s. When the likes of David Ogilvy popularized and tested many of these techniques in the golden age of print and direct mail. Later, fundamentally the same (positioning, messaging, and) CTA best practices found their way in succession to email, then social media marketing in the 1990s and the new millennium — where so much that is old is “new” again.

    So, you’ll understand, therefore, if I read one more time, in someone else’s post, that all bets are off, that all the traditional marketing methods are useless — outmoded by the magic of social media (recall the revolutionary, “disruptive” promises of the dot-com startups 15 years ago) — I think a capillary in one of my eyeballs might burst. 🙂 The theory some of these — dare I suggest? — *self-interested* social-media pundits are pushing is that, armed with their smart phones, today’s business and consumer buyers themselves — not just circumstances — are somehow profoundly different than they were a few short years ago. That today’s buyers are more sophisticated by leaps and bounds than they were before the rise of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Baloney.

    For sure, the *technology* at buyers’ fingertips is more sophisticated, informing their purchasing decisions, and enabling them to circumvent sales people to get what they need to decide. But, here’s the thing. When it comes to making purchasing decisions — depending on the individual product, service, organization, and market — buyers continue to want a combination of the same essential information they’ve always wanted. Pricing, reviews, case studies, references, for example. Social media does a good, often better, job providing this information to buyers than traditional media and sales people have done.

    The real trick, however, as your post drives home, I believe, is not to throw out the baby with the bath water — but to adapt and incorporate these tried-and-true marketing methods (in this case, some dynamite CTA tactics) into our social marketing. Buyers may be marginally busier than they were, say, 25 years ago when I first started selling to them — and ever-burgeoning media channels more cluttered with competing messages — but business and consumer buyers’ basic needs remain unchanged. They want and deserve good information, fast. And our job as marketers, if we wish to earn buyers’ business and loyalty, is to inform and educate first, employing the media most suited to the task — print, TV, web, direct, PR, social, what-have-you.

    The super thing about social media for marketers is not that it is a “game changer” or a “paradigm shift” (ugh!). No, it’s important to see it for what it is: a meaningful, though not necessarily permanent evolution — in technology and ideas — that we can exploit with marketing and sales practices old and new. What is arguably unprecedented, maybe, is that a vast and growing profusion of people around the planet are using social media. A lot. Like they once consumed TV. And, since people are still people — thank God, and thanks, too, to the gods of persuasion — we can continue to adapt and build profitably upon the tried-and-true CTA and messaging best practices you have set forth so helpfully here. Nice, Karl, thanks!

    P.S. Hard to pick a single favorite. Partial to triceratops, ankylosaurus, brachiosaurus. 🙂

  • Great observation! We’re all bombarded with so much information, so may options and places to turn. It’s definitely about really connecting with your readers, isn’t it?

  • Hi Donna, great points! Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

  • Thank you for bringing this up, Scott! Great discussion here. I’ve added an Editor’s Note to the article.

  • Hi John! Thank you for your well thought out comment. It’s true, we might have different tools, but people haven’t changed that much when it comes to making decisions. We need a compelling reason to take action. If we don’t then the next steps aren’t taken.

    We have to look at who our ideal visitors are and give them a reason to want to deepen the relationship with us. If we can’t do this then maybe our product or service just isn’t worth their time.

    I was a big ankylosaurus fan as a kid. something cool about an armored dinosaur.

  • Swaziland

    Thanks, dude!

  • Really great tips. Will start implementing them immediately. keep up the good work.