What makes you click on a link or share a post on social media? A picture? A fun headline? A question? There is no doubt that it is a combination of creative images, intriguing copy and some sort of emotional appeal that drives engagement.


New England Journal of Medicine is using this combination in its Facebook posts to get hundreds of clicks for each post.


New England Journal of Medicine targets people in the medical profession. They frequently post quizzes such as an image challenge, which asks users to look at an image and guess the diagnosis, or they post general medical question and give users 24 hours to answer. The interactions on these posts are all organic, meaning the organization does not use Facebook ads to engage with its followers. Seeing organic engagement this high is unusual on Facebook.


It is the organization’s use of, shall I say, medically intriguing pictures that gets clicks and shares to skyrocket. The New England Journal of Medicine’s engagement tactic makes some squeamish, but even so users still click and comment. The organization often posts extremely unappealing images, such as (caution: you may lose your appetite) this, with an accompanying caption like “Guess what this patient is diagnosed with.” These images certainly make me queasy, but I cannot seem to resist clicking the link to find out more.


I haven’t seen any other medical social media sites use this tactic. Perhaps they think it will turn users away and decrease engagement. However, this tactic has worked for New England Journal of Medicine.


So, would you click?