7 Triggers To Capture Attention On Social Media And In Everyday Life

by • March 23, 2016 • Experts TalkComments Off on 7 Triggers To Capture Attention On Social Media And In Everyday Life9491

If you have not read my post about the 3 types of attention, it might be a good idea to go do so now, before reading further. You don’t have to, but everything will make much more sense if you do.

Attention is the new social media currency. Forget views, impressions, and other vanity metrics – what you really need to do is capture attention, and make sure people see your message, so they can engage with it. With the announced end of chronological timelines, this is becoming more important than ever.

In the previous article, we established that there are 3 types of attention: immediate, short and long-term. Now, let’s look on how to trigger those.

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1. Automaticity

Automaticity is the only trigger for immediate attention. Automaticity makes the world around us make sense. It is about what we are programmed to know (instinct) and a subconscious influence on where our attention should be focused. It’s why we hear a gunshot over a crowd, or why we choose to focus on the lion and not the antelope.

It is why red is the colour that triggers our immediate attention. It reminds us of the colour of blood (no joke) and we are, by our instinct of survival, programmed to focus our attention on it colour. Now, do you want to talk about why Facebook is blue, or why some say orange and red are the colours that engage people the most on Facebook?

Automaticity triggers our immediate attention, but it is not enough to keep us focused. For that, you need to switch to short attention.

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2. Framing

While immediate attention is triggered by an event, short attention (and long attention) are goal driven: we choose to focus on something.

Framing helps us choose where we will direct our attention, based on previous experiences, and knowledge that we have acquired to make sense of our world. The framing trigger sets the stage for all other triggers, and that is why it is so important. It is the gateway to both our short and long attention.

Framing is used to capture attention by either adapting to, or changing your audience’s frames of reference.

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One the issues we have on Facebook today, is that people expect us to post branded, self-centred updates (the “Me me me” syndrome) and that is why it has become difficult to capture their attention. This is the frame we need to change. And we can do so with disruption.

3. Disruption

To disrupt, is to interrupt normal activity – to cause something to be unable to continue in the normal way. Disruption is one of the most common and most useful, triggers of attention.

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To disrupt, you need to

  1. Surprise: it can have a positive or negative emotional impact, but a surprise will always capture your attention
  2. Keep it simple: our brain is programmed to avoid complexity and this often results in us losing interest
  3. Keep it significant: you have captured their attention, now reassure them that they will get what they expect

Think of the last time you posted something unexpected (but significant) on your social media channel. What was the reaction?

4. Reward

As humans, we are all developed specifically to accomplish goals and seek rewards. This comes from deep down in our brain and a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine controls our brain’s reward centre and makes us want things.

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Our quest for reward will tend to focus our attention on everything which can potentially give us what we want. No need to remind you how much attention freebies and competitions get on Facebook and Twitter, right?

But, as you have guessed by now, reward will only trigger short attention, so once your competition is over, they will shift their attention to the next one, whether it is from you, or your competitor.

5. Reputation

Reputation is the sum of our beliefs about a person, a brand or a company. It is about labels, and it provides the decision-shortcut to why we use specific products, or decide to follow someone, or a brand on social media

Reputation is not built overnight, it is the sum of everything we have done, said, shown, shared. It is what builds expectation amongst others, and as such it is one of the main triggers of long-term attention.

You know what they say… we get the audience we deserve. And that applies to social media of course!

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6. Mystery

Mystery is a great trigger of long-term attention, because it is linked to our compulsion for completion: we do not feel comfortable with the unknown or the “unfinished” and as a consequence it fascinates us.

Imagine if I was to stop stop you from reading the last 10 pages of a book, or switch off the TV before the end of a football game… how would you feel? Your attention would definitely be focused on finding out what happened – or why I stopped you from doing what you were doing…

Well this is why mystery fascinates us, and why it is an amazing trigger for long-term attention. It will keep people focused until they find out what happens next.

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Have you tried posting trailers on Facebook? Asking questions without giving the answer? Telling you audience something is coming soon?

7. Acknowledgement

Acknowledgment is the final attention trigger. If you have made it this far, congratulations!

We all have a lifetime quest for acknowledgement. It is linked to our reward and pleasure-seeking nature. In fact, acknowledgement is what differentiates us from other mammals: they all want attention (again, think about your cat, dog, etc…) but humans need acknowledgement.

Acknowledgement is built around 3 elements:

  1. Recognition – Do you know my name? do you know i exist?
  2. Validation – Do you think i’m special, unique or important?
  3. Empathy – Do you feel what i feel?

It might seem obvious, but when you thank your audience for being there, make them feel special as part of your community and show them you are also one of thembecause you feel and think like them. How do you think they feel?

People engage with that which reminds them of who they want to be… People share the things that broadcast the image of who they want to be. Your job is to help them do so.

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These 7 triggers are the basics of what you need to be successful on social media, and to be able to capture your audience’s attention. Getting your audience to like a post, is easy… Getting them to do it over and over again, and to participate in conversation with others who also like your brand, is where the hard work really starts.

#BeatTheBuzz, London, April 14th: Learn how to capture attention on social media, and keep it to engage with your audience in the long term. Book your place now!

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