In today’s digital age, there is a battle for your attention on social media platforms. Behind captivating visuals, enticing headlines, and seemingly genuine engagement with the audience, there are tactics that are used to manipulate you to boost the engagement with content you might have not even wanted to watch in the first place. this post will go through these tactics and let you know how to distinguish between genuine content and engagement baiting.

  • The Visuals

The initial hook to  content; the use of eye catching visuals can range from pretty images to immersive videos and even just using bright colours. These visuals captivate your attention and entice you to pause your scrolling and interact with the content.

  • Clickbait

Clickbait is well known tactic that exploits your curiosity and your emotions to bait you into engaging with content. Whether through unbelievable headlines, misleading thumbnails, or exaggerated promises, its primary goal is to grab your attention through your curiosity and manipulate you into engaging with the content

  • Riding trends

Riding a trend isn’t always about genuinely engaging with ongoing topics and conversations; sometimes, it’s just a way to grab attention and appear on the for you page of people who, without that trend, would have never clicked on that content. Simply incorporating viral hashtags into their captions or hopping on trending topics, even when irrelevant to the content, is a strategic move to boost visibility and trick users into consuming content they might otherwise have ignored.

  • Timing

Strategic posting at optimal times isn’t just about convenience. by aligning content with the peak time of day of audience activity, creators ensure maximum visibility, subtly trying to capture your attention at the timeswhen you’re most likely to engage with their content.

  • Participation

Encouraging interaction through polls or questions isn’t just for engaging in genuine conversation. It’s a tactic using your willingness to engage to artificially boost the engagement metrics with the sole purpose of increasing numbers.

  • Storytelling

Simple storytelling has also transformed into an engagement tool. Personal anecdotes and narratives, while seemingly relatable or maybe not at all, are often crafted to provoke emotions and garner responses. Think of those Reddit AITA stories for example. many are exaggerated or fabricated, aimed at triggering audience reactions and engagement.

  • Ragebaiting

Ragebaiting is a way to intentionally incite anger or controversy to provoke strong emotional responses or arguments in the comments which boosts engagement. Content creators deliberately take on extremist opinions, mispronounce simple words or just flat out lie, just to manipulate your emotions to inflate engagement metrics.

  • Split screen

Split screen is the tactic of showing 2 clips at the same time, most of the time, one is the actual video and one is a clip of a video game. Creators use this method to capture and maintain viewers’ attention by presenting these 2 videos simultaneously.

  • Illusion

Behind this curtain of of enticing content lies a world where creators, only from their desire for increased engagement, strategically use these tactics to trick you into clicking, watching, rewatching, interacting and commenting on their content for the sole purpose of boosting their engaegment, even if this is at the expense of genuine user-creator interaction.

  • Awareness

Awareness of these tactics make sure that users are able to navigate this digital landscape with more caution and awareness. While these strategies may be effective in driving up engagement, understanding how and why they’re being used helps differentiate between authentic interactions with content and fabricated engagement.