The 5 Triggers of Social Media

How to Get Anybody to Do Anything on Social Media

By Greg Tozian,

Chief Storyteller, Big Brand Stories

Type “social media best practices” into Google and you may get, as I did, 154 million references in under one third of a second, most supposedly aimed at enlightening you on how to conduct social media more effectively.

That’s too much to sift through, thanks.

I think I can reduce social media best practices — at least what you should post text, photos and videos about — to only five things.

In doing so, I give a tip of the hat to Abraham Maslow, the American psychologist who published his theory of the hierarchy of human needs in the early 1950’s.

Below is Maslow’s pyramid of needs. If you simply post, in some fashion, about one or more of these, you’ll go a long way to getting people interested, and maybe even be able to get them to do something you want them to do.

Social Media targeting

To illustrate my point, here are five social media presences, which I found in 10 minutes on the Internet. Each strives to satisfy one of the five basic human needs, and in so doing, each is, I think, pretty successful:



On Pinterest: Whole Foods (2,700 pins; 150,000 followers)

Why: Often cited as one of the “top 10 brands on Pinterest,” Whole Foods knows that making organic food sexy, and doable (they’ve got recipes on there, too) proves the point that any army of followers travels on its stomach.

Whole Foods on Pinterest

The popular Whole Foods Pinterest page

 See proof: Whole Foods on Pinterest



Blogosphere: The Firearm Blog (covered in The London Times, Wired, reddit, and, of course, Fox News)

Why: Maybe it’s actually on the blogos-fear, because many Americans believe that if they’re armed to the teeth they’ll be “safe” from whatever, or whomever, they fear. At least the cops and ex-military people behind the blog use as their slogan “Firearms Not Politics.”



See proof: The Fire Arm Blog



Facebook: Sephora (5 million followers)

Why: Sephora knows that Oscar Wilde was just being sour (clever) grapes when he said “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” Beauty is fashion, too, and Sephora alters their Facebook page (posting anew) multiple times a day. They do it to the delight of five million followers worldwide who love belonging to a bringer of beauty. It’s not uncommon for the brand to get 5,000 likes in a few hours on something as earthshaking as how to apply eye shadow. Sorry, Oscar.



See their Facebook page: Sephora on Facebook


LinkedIn: Anthony (Tony) Robbins (615,000 followers)

Why: Robbins knows that in capitalist culture, where conspicuous consumption is considered good taste, there’s no limit to the number of people who want to be number one in the sandbox. People Also Viewed on his page, by the way: Deepak Chopra (hey, shouldn’t he be in self actualization?), and business biggies Richard Branson and Jack Welch, natch.

Best practices for LinkedIn page

See proof: Tony Robbins on LinkedIn


Twitter: Deepak Chopra (1.6 million followers)

Why: The Indian-American New Age guru knows that people also want to do more than exist merely as vehicles driven by conspicuous consumption: we want to know what the heck we are doing on this planet in the first place! And, so, Maslow’s “morality,” our needs to be be open-minded and solve the world’s problems, are also key  (thankfully).

Deepak Chopra on Social Media


Before you say, yes, but I don’t have hundreds of brick-and-mortar stores, like Whole Foods and Sephora, and I’m not a cop, or a celebrity like Robbins or Chopra, it doesn’t matter.

When you go to post on social media, if you are delivering “content” that helps in some way your target audience to move ever so slightly closer to fulfilling one of their five basic needs, you are doing something right.

Greg Tozian is the Chief Storyteller for Big Brand Stories, a Portland, Oregon brand storytelling company specializing in business videos, social media and search optimization consulting. Contact him at