Attention, Interest, Desire, Action: Using AIDA for Social Media


Most brands today have learned that a social media presence is a key asset of a successful inbound marketing strategy and that targeted cross-channel content distribution brings a better online visibility.

We see, however, that posting more content doesn’t necessarily lead to more engagement. Some 60% of small businesses don’t see any return on investment from their engagement online.

Those reports imply that something is rotten in the ways companies approach social media marketing. That may be because social networks “are inherently additive pieces of the conversion funnel rather than causative,”  states Jay Baer of Convince & Convert.

Despite the problems of calculating the ROI of social media, those platforms remain essential for a business’s online expansion because they represent something of an online counterpart of traditional word-of-mouth marketing.

Moreover, social media requires a strategic approach to deliver results.

One of the right approaches may be to use the popular AIDA model of marketing communications.

AIDA in Online Marketing Communications

The AIDA model has been associated with the world of marketing for years. It describes the exact order of emotions a particular message or a strategy intends to trigger in a person. The acronym itself stands for:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

This model can be applied to multiple areas of marketing. A specific example of its application is found in a case study by SmartInsights that describes how an award-winning hairdressing company benefited from using AIDA to successfully launch a business.

Copywriting and Design

AIDA can also be applied to some separate segments, such as copywriting and landing page design. In copywriting, AIDA has gained even more importance with the rise of blogs, where different visual elements can be added to enhance the efficiency of the piece.

The articles, written in accordance with the model, try to:

  • Grab readers’ attention with a captivating title
  • Inspire interest by compelling opening lines
  • Evoke desire in the text body
  • Add a call-to-action in conclusion

Similarly, Web designers have also discovered the efficient ways to implement AIDA in the process of creating different sales- or action-oriented Web pages. Designers follow the principle by using…

  • Header copy
  • Brief information
  • Click triggers or distinguishing properties
  • Call-to-action button
  • AIDA in social media

AIDA in Social Media

AIDA also may be applied to social media strategy. But unlike most traditional methods, social media seem to be a space where all the stages of the process can be naturally integrated. This was examined relatively recently by Bishnu Gurung of the Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences, who demonstrated the ways the model can be applied to social networking.

Through a set of suggestions for The Fenix Project, Gurung examines the application of AIDA to overall social media strategy, noting the following.

  • In the first stage, companies create awareness of themselves by being present on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other popular networks. Considering those networks’ potential to reach worldwide audiences, even small businesses can gain some (free) attention.
  • To shift to the other three stages, a company needs to optimize its content strategy based on the target audience’s interests and characteristics. The interest generally is accomplished by encouraging users to take an active participation in the online community, where the company shares engaging industry-related content.
  • The desire, however, is aroused through regular communication and engagement as well as through posts that give information about the product or service.
  • Finally, the last stage involves posting direct invites with call-to-actions, such as “try our new product” or “subscribe to our newsletter.”

Presented this way, the AIDA model application may seem generic, but such a segmentation of a social media marketing plan can be very efficient. Above all, AIDA helps in developing an actionable plan that lets companies focus on specific goals in each of these stages.

AIDA-Inspired Posts and Tweets

The AIDA model also can be implemented on a micro level (e.g., on the level of individual posts and tweets). In fact, that may be another useful formula for creating posts that drive both engagements and actions.

Consider the following Facebook post by HubSpot. Though the image may be enough to drive attention as the most conspicuous detail, the copy above it inspires interest. The desire is explicitly evoked by the “Of course you would!” part, and action by both “Find out how here” and “Double Your Lead Flow in 30 Days.”

Even on Twitter, something similar to the AIDA model looks like this:

Now, one would definitely have to compare the performance of such posts to the others that don’t follow the principle to determine its true efficiency. (Companies like Unmetric would come in handy for doing this.) Yet, the general idea may be effective, given all the areas where the AIDA model was proven to be successful.

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