A Case For Using Calls-to-Engagement

As social media professionals, there are certain things we love to hate. I’m guilty of being cynical about a few things (like real-time marketing), and I’m sure you have your “thing” too. It’s easy to get tired of certain platforms and tactics when you live and breathe it everyday. When I’m feeling a little cynical though, I always try to remind myself of this: You are not the audience.

One of the things I often see people get down on are calls-to-engagement (I got this term from Kelly Mosier). Yes, I’m talking about the times when brands and teams ask their fans to retweet, like or engage with something. These things work though.  Posts that ask a question get 100 percent more comments (Kissmetrics) and asking for a retweet gets 12x more (Salesforce). There’s no denying the bump they give your content.

I understand the argument against calls-to-engagement. They can feel gimmicky and forced.  I also think that fans and consumers will naturally engage with good content. If you create content that resonates, you will get engagement (for the most part). It’s a pretty simple philosophy. I also believe that calls-to-engagement can be a powerful rallying cry though; they can catapult a great piece of content even further, draw new fans in and simply help to build a stronger community. I think when used strategically and sparingly, calls-to-engagement can be a great tool in your toolbox.

I define a call-to-engagement pretty broadly. It’s not simply asking for a retweet or a like, but asking your fan and consumer to interact with your content in any form or fashion.  

If you feel like your community needs a little burst of energy, then consider planning a few call-to-engagement posts. I’ve compiled ways you can get fans to start interacting. Don’t be shy, give them a rallying cry and reason to engage with some of the tactics below:


Subtle copy plays.

If you want fans to like or share a Facebook post, think about how you can subtly include action words into your copy. When you have a compelling post, a little encouragement to take action can go a long way. Remember you can be subtle in your copy; you don’t just have to say “LIKE THIS”.


Retweet for this.

This tactic often gets a lot of frowns from social media professionals, but the truth is that it works. I don’t think asking fans to retweet for x should be used all the time, but in certain cases it makes sense. When emotions are high, it can be powerful.


Click to unveil.

Lately we’ve seen a lot of teams and leagues leverage Twitter’s PNG trickery that will allow you to click and unveil something. While this does not spur retweets, it’s still a great way to get people clicking and interacting with content. In fact, people might be so surprised at the trick that they are more likely to retweet and share with friends. If you want to learn how to do this, here is a good article.


Twitter quizzes.

Twitter’s multiple-photos feature can be leveraged as a quiz function (see examples below). Again, this is another opportunity to get fans clicking and engaging with your account and content. It’s simple, fun and effective:



Questions are a great way to engage your community. They are far from gimmicky and make fans feel like they have a voice. Keep your questions short, simple and to the point.


Caption or name this.

Have a crazy play, moment or picture? Caption or name this is a great way to get fans to engage with your content. Find a way to reward fans who come up with the best name:

While I realize you don’t want to always resort to gimmicks, sometimes your fans need a little nudge.  Calls-to-engagement aren’t something to be ashamed of. They’re just another tool in the toolbox! I hope this post inspires you to give more calls-to-engagement a try (strategically and sparingly of course). You are not the audience: As long as your fans enjoy the content, you are on the right track.

So what do you think about calls-to-engagement? Love them, hate them or indifferent? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading! 


  1. Great round up of useful tactics. Had never seen the png click to reveal before — awesome! Thanks for putting together Jess!

  2. Our recent #UnitedatOSU call-to-engagement was received well. Tying this tactic with an event, holiday or idea that allows people to tell a little but about themselves seems to be helpful with interaction, sharing, etc.

      • Fans provided all of the content themselves, old wedding pics, pics of them while on campus, pics now with their families and gave insight into their respective stories. We allowed the content to live on each of our social channels as is and then we pulled everything together on storify with commentary. That then was re-shared by those who provided the original content. The great thing was that other areas of the university (ex: alumni association) got in on it as well. It’s a way to allow people to be proud of their alma mater without being tied to X’s and O’s or wins and losses.

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