Humans have an attention span of about 8 seconds. A little less than a goldfish.
This might be depressing but we can only work with what we’ve got! So getting attention for your social media post will depend inevitably on the headline and there are a few tried and tested headline rules that work for social media.
- Negativity – according to research headlines with negative superlatives (never, worst, stop) earn 59% more clicks than positive titles. This is why TV current affairs shows favour the “fear, fat or finance” method of choosing a story. Anything negative sells more and is guaranteed a larger audience. Sad, but true.
- How to – educating your audience is always a winner as we are constantly seeking to improve ourselves. To use a “How To” headline correctly, you should focus on the need of the reader and promise to fulfill that need.
- Curiosity – we are curious creatures and we like to be to be tempted (Hello Adam and Eve). Humans are curious creatures and tempting interest with curiosity works. Give your audience enough to whet their appetite – if your post is too vague, then it won’t pique as much curiosity.
- Ask a question – asking a question can engage your users – this tactic can be used on instagram with their gifs set up for YES/NO polls. Choose a question that has a higher percentage of ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ answers (ie. ‘do you like icecream’, as opposed to ‘do you like cricket’. A ‘no’ answer will fail to engage your customer. Also stay away from anything totally polarising (like cricket).
- Use numbers – human beings LOVE certainty so if you use a headline with numbers (5 Things to Help You Make it Through Hump Day) the expectation for the reader has already been set. They are less likely to be disappointed or have ‘unrealised expectations’ and more likely to be engaged.
#Pro Tip – Use Imagery
We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%. If you attach meaning or factual knowledge to a sensory input (such as a visual), that’s called semantic encoding.