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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What Millennials Seek, Desire in an Employer


shutterstock_226171327I just read an interesting article online entitled, Stop Treating Millennial Employees Like Enigmas, written by Sara Roberts and Michael Papay and featured on[1] As the title suggests, the article focuses on how businesses can best utilize the skills and talents of Millennials, generally defined as that 80-million-strong cohort born between 1977 and 2000, making it larger than the highly influential Baby Boomer generation.

Since Millennials will make up fully one-half of the workforce in the next five, short years, and 75 percent in the next ten years, it certainly would seem to be in the best interest of businesses to pay at least some attention to this huge group of current and future employees, to learn what it may take to attract and retain them in the not-so-distant future.


Strictly as a broad overview, here are FOUR key things the authors say Millennials desire from employers:

  • Treat us like our heads count, not like a head count. In other words, they want to be engaged in a human way, not treated in the abstract. They want to be allowed to provide input, not simply be receptacles for input from the top.
  • Set up collaborative environments. Millennials say they thrive on both giving and receiving feedback from an employer, and they want an opportunity to “weigh in” on important issues and strategy. They want to be actively involved in shaping the direction of their organization.
  • Talk frequently with us. “Like you, we are constantly learning and growing,” the authors write. “The annual cadence of the employee engagement survey or annual reviews is not (emphasis mine) working for us: They are way too slow. We enjoy and can evolve with constant feedback.”
  • Explain why. Millennials want to work in an environment where it is “safe” to ask and explore “why?” “Gone are the more simplistic days of the industrial era when a rote job description and manual sufficed for someone to do their job well,” the authors write.

It’s of course hard to argue convincingly that any of these job desires are wrong headed or ill conceived. In essence, all of these desires can be distilled into just another way of employees asking to be treated with respect, to be valued as people and not mere cogs in some giant industrial wheel. They want to have their opinions and contributions valued, and which of us don’t also desire such treatment? Nonetheless, a jolt of reality is also called for, I believe.


At the beginning of our careers, had we been asked what it would take to make us “happy,” the majority of us quite probably would have answered the question by citing wants, needs and desires similar to what Millennials are said to seek in the article cited in this post. Never mind the fact that most of us were not in fact asked this question in the first place because companies then—and, surprise!, many companies TODAY—didn’t really have as their top priority making employees “happy.” A hiring company’s TOP priority then was making money in order to stay in business. Coincidentally, that priority has not changed for hiring companies today.

Now, for those of you who may be feeling the urge to rush to your computer to blast me as being a dyed-in-the-wool, “old school” cynic (I much prefer to think of myself as, and to be classified as, a realist), please hear me out. Yes, most hiring companies of yesterday, today and tomorrow placed, place and will indeed place a top priority on employee morale, and that’s particularly true of market leaders. Significant to note, however, by the very nature of business it can never realisticallybe expected to become the TOP priority of any business enterprise! Here’s why:

Business are not now, nor have they ever been or are they likely to become . . .

  • An institutional democracy. Not all “votes” are equal in any business. As a matter of fact, in most businesses, the vast majority of employees get no vote whatsoever when it comes to key business decisions!
  • An organization designed to “create jobs” or hire people who need/want jobs. Notwithstanding the implied “social responsibility” obligation for being able to do business in a free society, most businesses create new jobs and hire new people for one principle reason: They have determined it is the best, most efficient, quickest way to add to the bottom line, in order to make the business successful or even more successful.
  • A social organization. Since most of us spend at least one-third of our working lives on the job, it’s just natural that the workplace can easily evolve into an important environment in which to “socialize” on a regular basis. But to imbue the workplace with the characteristics of a genuine social organization is to entertain career disaster if circumstances were to suddenly head south.
  • An employee’s “extended family.” One good thing about family is that, once part of it, one can never be “fired” from the family. That same claim cannot be made by those employees who allow themselves to be lulled into believing that fellow employees are in actuality part of his or her “extended family.”


Virtually all of us want to be in a position to be valued and given the opportunity to make a difference in our chosen career. We all want to be taken seriously and treated with respect, and the sooner the better. That’s especially true when we first enter the workforce. We may have just earned our degree in our chosen professional specialty and we’re excited about having—and widely sharing—the knowledge and skills we believe we possess. But you know what? Until you are actually offered a position, hiring companies don’t really care what you want, need or desire in a job. They principally care just about one thing: What can you offer the company, i.e., how can you make the company money, save the company money, or both? Hard fact of life.

Once you are in fact offered a position, the hiring company definitely will then seek to learn what it is that will make you “happy,” will make you want to accept the offer. Still, even after you are hired, nothing will be given to you simply because you want it or desire to have it. You will have to earn the right to be heard and taken seriously. In other words, you, like virtually every person in virtually every profession, will have to first “pay your dues.”

Can the 80-million-strong Millennial generation ultimately exert enough power and influence to mold the future workplace into an environment more to their liking? Perhaps. Still, history and experience clearly demonstrate the uncanny ability of those who are now the “oppressed” easily morphing into the new “oppressors,” if and when they take over the reins of leadership.

We shall just have to wait and see what develops.

[1]Roberts is CEO of Roberts Golden, a boutique consultancy. Papay is CEO and co-founder of Waggle, a real-time employee feedback platform.


To learn more about how to get your career back on track, be sure to check out Career Stalled?, Skip’s latest job-hunting book in the “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets Series of Career Development & Management publications featured on

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