Structuring Calls To Action Within A Community

June 30, 2015Comments Off on Structuring Calls To Action Within A Community

When registered members visit your community landing page, what do you ask them to do? 

You can choose between four positive behaviours. 

1) Ask a question to get help on a problem (ask)

2) Answer questions (help)

3) Share advice/expertise (publish)

4) Find/consume information (find)

You want members to ask, help, publish, and find value. 

This often matches the stage of the lifecycle too. 

In the inception stage, asking for help is the key behaviour. In the establishment, getting responses from the right people is key. In the maturity stage, you need people to publish knowledge without prompting. Finally, at its peak, you want members to quickly find the information they need 


Key Elements of A Call To Action

A call to action has to cover three things:

1) What should the member do? (ask, help, publish, search)

2) Why should the member do it? (solve problem, help others, explore passion, build status)

3) When should the member do it? (right now, today, this week, when I have a problem, when you have a problem)

You only have 2 to 3 words to convey this action in a button.


The words you use matter:

Facebook, for example, uses "what's on your mind?

Screenshot 2015-06-29 09.52.38

Twitter uses a similar "what's happening?"

Screenshot 2015-06-29 09.53.33

StackOverflow offers several options. I suspect this is less effective than selecting a single behaviour to change. 

Screenshot 2015-06-29 21.56.32

NextDoor uses a combination of options (but guides the specific type of posts they want)

Screenshot 2015-06-29 21.57.46


Autodesk offers several calls to action, but they're harder to find. 

Search for information is most important, followed by asking for help. 

Screenshot 2015-06-29 22.01.45

Your community should have a clear call to action better than start a discussion, create topic, or even ask a question. 

The call to action must personify the action, motivation, and urgency necessary to get members to participate.


How To Create A Call To Action

A call to action appears as a button that appears prominently on the landing page that you want members to click. You train members in the behaviour

For example, let's imagine you're not getting enough questions, you need to train members to ask more questions.

One way is to put a call to action on the landing page of that community. This can be a simple button members click to take them to a place to 'post' a question. 

How you describe that button matters a lot. You only get 2 to 3 words. 

A few examples might be:

  • "Ask a question" (action, but no motivation/urgency)
  • "Get help" (motivation/urgency, but no action)
  • "Ask {communityname}" (action, motivation, no urgency)
  • "Ask for help" (action, motivation, and urgency)
  • "Post challenge" (action, motivation, urgency)
  • "Post your problems" (action, motivation, urgency)

You're training members here to ask a question whenever they're facing a problem they want solved. 


Calls to Action To Solicit More Expertise

You might want advice shared regardless if problems are posted. This occurs in communities dedicated to learning more about the topic and exploring new/related fields.

You will notice the very minutia of the words you use matter a lot. Most use 'give, share, or publish'. The connotations of 'publish' are usually strong. 

  • "Give advice" (not clear on the action, motivation, or urgency)
  • "Publish tip/advice" (action, motivation, urgency)
  • "Share advice" (action, urgency, no motivation)
  • "Give/share latest research"
  • "Publish a tip" (publish might be stronger than post)
  • "Post success story" (this trains people when to post. 

You have no shortage of words you can use at this stage. Creativity is useful too. 

Even better, have an open box with the option: "What are you struggling with this week?".

Now you're training members to post their questions to the community every week



Create a call to action that appears at the top right of the landing page for registered members of your community.

Decide if you need more members to ask questions, more members to reply to questions, or more members to share advice.

Use simple wording that describes the action, motivation, and urgency to participate now. 

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