Luisa Brenton
July 19, 2016

5 Psychology Hacks to Improve Your Social Media Posts

Psychology hacks

Unless you’ve been spending far more time on the dark side of the internet than me, I wouldn’t suggest that you try to hack any of the social media sites. And that’s not just because their protection is pretty robust and the consequences of getting caught are pretty severe. It’s because doing so would be like going through the effort of blowing up a wall, while you can just walk a few steps and open the door.

Why take all that time to try to hack your way into computers when you can just hack the fleshy blobs sitting in front of them? As the FBI says, humans are the weak link. And if hackers with bad intent can make them hand over billions of dollars, passwords, and vital security details, then it must be possible to use that information to get them to give you a few ‘likes’ and ‘shares’, right?

So today we’re going to look at the tricks used pressure marketers, and how you can use them in a positive, giving way, to boost your social media.

5 Psychology Hacks


Social compliance

If we believe somebody is an authority, then we will do as they say. That’s why people give their credit cards to waiters, tell the police their personal details, let people who they think are from the water board into their house and were willing to give lethal shocks to other people just because they were told to do so.

For that reason, it’s vital that you present yourself as an expert. That means making information about your expertise available. But it doesn’t just stop there. You have to look the expert. Your social media has to actually look like an authoritative source. So make certain that everything is spick and span as even a little unprofessional glitch can cost you serious social media mileage.

And besides, you’re almost certainly an expert at something, however, niche it might be. So why not show it?

Herd Principle

We follow others – often even when we’re unaware of it. So if you want your social media to have traction, make certain it looks like it has traction. That can be achieved in a few ways. First of all, make certain you don’t broadcast that you don’t actually have that many followers. So if you’re getting zero comments and a handful of shares, make certain your sites don’t reveal these numbers (and certainly don’t reveal the number of comments at the beginning of a post).

Then change it over when you’re having a bit more luck and make everybody realize how many people like your stuff (and they’ll like it more themselves).

Secondly, let the world know when you do get support. Somebody says something nice about you? Blast it over the airwaves. You just got endorsed by a celebrity or influencer? Let everybody know.


Don’t want people to pay attention to the fact that you don’t actually have that many people following you yet? Then distract them with something else! Our awareness is like a long tunnel that swings around and focuses on one thing to the exclusion of everything else.

So if you want to get people to not pay attention to one thing (like how few follows you have), give them something else to focus on – preferably something with flashy lights and attention grabbing colors.

So run competitions that they can win, but make the conditions distracting (maybe people have to answer an engaging logical puzzle, for example, that isn’t too hard but at least captures their attention). Or instead provide them with high-quality content, with surprising statistics.

The trick is not to hide what you’ve got. People don’t like it if they can’t find something. No, it still has to be available, just not front and center. That way you can have your cake – by being honest – and eat it to – by having people pay attention to what you want them to.

Frame it in terms of gain

We like to get stuff. It’s true. That’s why sales work so well, that’s why we like vouchers, and that’s why we go bargain hunting. Now, we can use that on social media as well. And so, always frame everything you’re doing in terms of how the person on the other side will benefit.

So don’t say ‘join my page to help me grow’ but say ‘get the latest money making tricks by liking my page’. Always frame everything you do in terms of how the person you are talking to will benefit. In that way, you’re both engaging their sense of desire as well as talking about the most important topic in the world – them!

Time pressure & scarcity

We most certainly want something more when we believe it is limited, in terms of either time or amount. So give the impression that offers are ending, opportunities will soon no longer be available and contests have a clear finishing date and people will want it all the more. This is why shops have sales and this is why many adverts say ‘for a limited time only’.

Use the same strategies to make it appear that whatever you’re offering is of only a limited duration, and people will be more likely to do whatever you’re asking them to do. After all, if stocks are running out then everybody clearly wants it. And if everybody else wants it? Well, you get the picture.

Last words

If people think that you’re trying to trick them, they won’t like it, and will most likely turn against your attempt, with an ‘oh no you don’t’! Therefore, utilize these hacks subtly. You don’t want to blast the limited time offer all over the page, with glittering blinking letters. You want to put it at the bottom, where they’ll see it, but it won’t necessarily grab their attention.

Similarly, putting 20 exclamation marks behind how many likes you’ve got will not impress. Just put the number somewhere where people will notice it. And if it’s big enough, they’ll add the exclamation marks themselves.

Do you have any preferred hacks you would like to add? Tell us in the comments, below!


Lead/Featured image: Copyright: ‘‘ / 123RF Stock Photo

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Luisa Brenton

Luisa Brenton is a freelance blogger. She was born in Italy, graduated from The St. Louis School of Milan and went to Chicago to pursue higher education at the Chicago's Public Research University. Luisa is interested in modern literature and cinematography. She is interested in journalism as well. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.