The Formula To Engineer Social Media Success: A Masterclass From The World’s Top Social Media Guru

Hook point content model

Can you reverse engineer going viral?

According to social media extraordinaire Brendan Kane, you sure can.

Since 2005, Brendan has been the mastermind behind viral content for the world’s top brands like MTV, Sony, and Ikea, and celebrities like Taylor Swift and Rhianna. His agency Hook Point has helped clients generate an astounding 60 billion views and over a billion in revenue.

I recently attended a presentation by Brendan and Hook Point’s creative director, Luke Evanson, on their process for unlocking consistent virality for their clients. In this post, I will provide an overview of their key insights on how any business should approach social media, distilling the main takeaways from their viral content creation process in a way that can hopefully provide inspiration for your own social media strategy.

5 Mindsets You Want To Build Your Social Media Strategy Around

1. Creating viral content isn’t about luck; there’s a science behind it.

There are 4.8 billion people on social media all fighting for the same attention. To make your content stand out, you need to understand the science behind virality.

2. Social media algorithms are not engineered to suppress your reach on purpose to get you to pay for it.

Instead, they are engineered to do one thing: To keep people on the platform. The more time people spend on the platform, the more profit they can generate through ads. So they will always favor content that can grab and hold attention for as long as possible. It doesn’t matter who it is.

3. It’s not about beating or hacking the algorithms.

Instead, it’s about partnering with them by giving them what they want: Great content that grabs and holds attention so they can show it to as many people as possible.

4. Discarding the science and formula for what makes for great content in the pursuit of originality is a misguided approach.

It’s not about discarding originality, watering down your message, changing who you are, or pushing yourself into a direction that you don’t want to go in. But there is a structure and formula for how to express your message that will help your content break through the noise.

5. Producing a lot of content in hopes of getting lucky with the algorithm is a completely reactive approach.

With this approach, there’s no process for accountability, iteration, and learning from each piece of content you produce. Batch-producing content takes the learning and insights out of the process. We become like a content factory, pumping out content without ever learning.

How To Consistently Go Viral And Grow Your Business On Social Media

The Answer = Mastering a Single Format!

Successful content isn’t about

  • Producing as much content as possible,
  • Posting at a certain time of day,
  • Using the right hashtags, or
  • Chasing trends.

Instead, it’s about focusing your time, energy, and resources on becoming world class at executing a single top performing format.

This is the path to building a big audience on social media.

The Generalist Principle: Why Formats Are So Powerful

When you post content to social media, it is shown to a small group of people who all have different interests. When you realize that, your goal then becomes to create content about your niche, topic, or industry and make it as interesting to as many people as possible.

This is the power of formats.

Formats take your message, your subject matter expertise, and what you have to offer and put it into a structure that makes it interesting to a wide audience while not diluting your genius or expertise.

When this happens, it signals to the algorithm that it can send it to anyone, and they’ll find it interesting.

Overview of the Hook Point Viral Content Model

This is Brendan Kane’s signature model his agency uses to generate over 60 billion views for his clients, which he breaks down in his book Hook Point. According to Brendan, this model is designed to work for anyone, no matter your business, niche, topic, or subject matter on any social media platform. It aims to create content that grabs and holds attention, that stops the scroll, and gets people to watch longer than your competitor’s content. Below is a quick overview of the process.

Hook Point Model’s 5 Step Process

The basic premise of the Hook Point Content Model is to understand what is working and why before ever creating a piece of content.

1. Research and Analysis

The first step is to examine content from accounts that are having massive success and identify a format that works. A format is a storytelling structure that’s designed to work for any subject matter, and last for years, or even decades.

2. Data-Driven Format Selection

Based on your research, you dive deep into understanding the qualitative elements that make that particular content format successful.

3. Ideation Informed From Analysis

Once you have the research and the format selected, then it’s time to come up with your ideas for your post.

4. Single Idea Production

Then you produce a single piece of content at a time so that you can review the granular results.

5. Review the Results

Finally, it’s time to analyze the performance of the content. Where did you miss the mark? Where did you succeed? Here, you take what you uncovered and apply those learnings to your future content.

How To Perform Analysis And Research: Overview of the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Method

This is an extremely high-level overview of “step 1,” the research and analysis phase of the Hook Point Model.

1. Collect examples of content from accounts in a specific format. Classify each as gold, silver, or bronze

  • Gold = high-performing content in a particular format or for a particular account.
  • Silver = average performing content in a particular format or for a particular account. Essentially, this is the baseline, the expected amount of views a particular account gets when they post content.
  • Bronze = underperforming content in a particular format or for a particular account.

2. Perform a comparative analysis by examining the patterns.

Once you have your list of examples of gold, silver, and bronze content, compare the differences. Observe the similarities of the top-performing content for a particular account and form a hypothesis of what’s driving the performance.

3. Try to break the hypothesis.

Take your working hypothesis, and look at the low-performing examples you collected, and see if you can break that hypothesis. Once you realize that you can’t break that hypothesis, you mark that as a key performance driver. This is something to pay attention to.

2 Things To Look For When Analyzing Content

When choosing content for your gold, silver, and bronze examples, Brendan suggests keeping two things in mind.

1. Focus on context over content.

When observing your list of content collected during the research and analysis phase, it’s important to focus on the context of how the content is presented and not so much the content itself. Analyze the contextual nature of this particular format is being used by paying attention to things like:

  • Pacing and tonality
  • The opening hook of the post
  • The first few seconds of the video
  • The captions and title card

2. Understand the tactic versus the effect.

To recreate the success of other account’s high-performing content within the format that you’re analyzing, you have to recognize the difference between the tactic and the effect on the viewer.

  1. Tactic: This refers to all the elements you can see and hear in the content: words, music, visuals, story structure, etc. It’s any strategy or element used in the content.
  2. Effect on the Viewer (EOV): This refers to the impact a tactic creates for the viewer. How does it make them feel? What experience does it create? (clarity, curiosity, satisfaction, ease of watching, something else?)

The key thing to remember is just because you use a certain tactic or element that was successful for someone else, it doesn’t mean it’s going to drive performance for you. You have to dig deeper behind the tactic to uncover the effect it’s creating on the viewer.

This is just the beginning.

This is merely a high-level overview of what we are learning about engineering success on social media. My team and I will be learning directly from Brendan and his team, delving deep into their strategies and processes, with the aim of sharing them with you to help grow your business through social media. Stay tuned.

As always, if you have any questions or need help, just get in touch.

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