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5 Psychological Social Media Hooks to Give Your Posts a BIG Boost

Social Media Tips Tripling Your Engagement

Dan Bischoff 4 min read
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Did you hear that Bigfoot was spotted in Britain in December of last year?

That story was first published on The Huffington Post, then shared all over the internet.

Less than a month later, Bigfoot (aka "Sasquatch") was sighted in Florida -- then stories of a family of the ape-like creatures in Arizona went viral.

It's not the first or last time Bigfoot will make the rounds on social media. Millions of people consume Bigfoot, UFO and other pseudoscience content every day.

Millions!

If you think about it, the longevity of Bigfoot stories is perhaps as much of a mystery as the enigmatic beast itself.

Those things exist because of society's desire to believe in the impossible. And the people who believe in such things do so with an unrelenting passion.

As much as it pains me, deep down I know there's no lurking monster in the woods. But it doesn't stop me from watching every new Bigfoot sighting video I come across.

Believe it or not, there's a lot we can learn from these sightings -- information you can apply to  help give your social media posts a BIG boost!

Ready for Bigfoot-style social media traction?

Read on!

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5 Psychological Social Media Hooks to Give Your Posts a BIG Boost

Here are some real examples of how advertisers view UFO buffs. These are the headlines to ads placed in the "UFO Universe" magazine:

  • Senior Research Scientist Discovers 2,000-Year-Old Secret to Wealth, Power, and Romantic Love
  • What Is Your `Special Mission' While on Earth? The Cosmic Awakening of Light Workers, Walk-Ins, and All Star-Born Representatives Has Begun!
  • This Is What You Have Been Waiting For: 24 Superb, Incredible Life-Improving UFO Seals of the Spirits
  • I Got a Girl. Do You? Stop Missing Out! Get Girls Now!
  • Amazing Psychic Research Breakthrough. It Takes Only 5 Minutes to Prove that Psychic Magic Powers Really Work!

In his book, "The Demon Haunted World," Carl Sagan asks: "What is the common thread that binds these ads together?"

Sagan goes on to explain, "Not UFOs. Surely it's the expectation of unlimited audience gullibility. That's why they're placed in UFO magazines -- because by and large the very act of buying such a magazine so categorizes the reader."

I would take that thought one step further: Audience gullibility doesn't just apply to people who are into UFOs. Audience gullibility applies to everyone. To get attention, professional advertisers rely on emotions and hooks that pull people into their content.

The upshot is this: IF YOU CREATE relevant content based on psychological hooks, you'll build a loyal audience.

Below are 5 of of those patterns.

Let's see how they can help us become better producers of content -- and more successful social media marketers.

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1. Create content to evoke emotions of awe

Bigfoot and other pseudoscience create an idea of a universe of possibility. "Awe" has a wide range of emotions that can bring pleasure, happiness, reverence, or power, dread and fear.

This feeling of awe affects almost everyone. It brings feelings of amazement and appreciation for life. Awe inspires, motivates, expands people's perception of time, alters decision-making and enhances well-being.

Those emotions are magnetic. People want to feel moved in some direction.

And all those emotions can be extremely successful social media strategy: IF YOU CREATE relevant content that creates emotions of awe, people will follow.

Posts like 19 Awesome Faces of Nature share well because of the emotion those pictures create. It's not just a collection of beautiful pictures, it's a collection of awe-inspiring pictures:

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This one is similar and had thousands of shares. For the average person, these places are unreal...

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2. Create content based on the idea that there's something beyond our reality

Bigfoot inspires hope that there's something more to this world than what is seen and known. It's a case of the mundane being blown away by awe.

It's imagination brought to reality. It's stuff like this article explaining that our origin may lie somewhere else in the universe:

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And this one telling us WE MIGHT BE SASQUATCH! Combine that with a picture of someone who could pass for Bigfoot... and the possibilities seem endless.

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This post about a potential massive underground ocean makes us believe there is more to our Earth than we know. What kind of life might be there? Some people believe in the Hollow Earth Theory, which postulates a whole other civilization unknown to us.

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3. Create content to educate a niche audience

This hook is extremely important for ongoing social media content. The post below analyzes Yeti hair in a way that educates and informs a niche audience. In content marketing you need to become the best answer to all the questions within your industry.

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Here's another good example of educating an audience on the state of Bigfoot: "A New Estimate of the Situation."

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4. Create content sure to drive curiosity

Curiosity is a powerful force in content. And few things hit the curiosity button like Bigfoot and aliens. Here's a report that seems to show something entering our atmosphere and ejecting an object in the opposite direction. If that doesn't get you concerned, better check your pulse!

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What is that blurry picture below? Is that not just a donkey? What is the Beast of Bodmin Moor?

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What is that triangle thing? I must click.

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5. Create content that acknowledges deep-seated fears

Optimism and fear both share well on social media. There's a huge audience of people who will re-post anything that predicts doomsday or allows viewers to be among the first to share some bad news:

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This one covers all of the above: fear, curiosity, awe and the belief that there's something more out there:

Social Media Hooks 145 Psychological Social Media Hooks to Give Your Posts a BIG Boost -- Wrapping It Up

There's a reason the supernatural, the pseudoscience and the mythological have always (and will likely always) captivate people. There are powerful psychological forces at work here.

Apply these 5 principles in your own work. They could get you a whole lot more social traction and make your social media efforts take off like a hiker stumbling on a Bigfoot.

You'll never know if you don't try.

Here are the 5 ideas we identified:

  1. Create content to evoke emotions of awe: Give your audience a reason to be emotionally connected with your content
  2. Create content based on the idea that there's something beyond our reality: Understand your audience and give them hope their lives can be better
  3. Create content to educate a niche audience: Educate your niche and please your best fans -- they are the group most apt to like, comment and share your content
  4. Create content sure to drive curiosity: Make your work irresistible by giving people something they absolutely HAVE to click on
  5. Create content that acknowledges deep-seated fears: Be careful with this one -- you could turn off your audience -- but the right doomsday content in your industry will receive lots of engagement.

Bonus Bigfoot Content

For those of you (like me) who can't get enough Bigfoot, check out the top 68 Bigfoot videos of all time. I know you want to watch.

Dan Bischoff
Dan Bischoff

Dan Bischoff learned the ropes early about building a content team from one of the world's largest content producers, The Associated Press. His articles have been featured on ESPN, USA Today, and Sports Illustrated. And has since used that same experience to drive content and social media for brands like SEO.com, Lendio and Nature's Sunshine. Dan now runs Content Hook, a content marketing fulfillment service for agencies and brands.

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