This is the first part of an article which explains what type of rules we follow when constructing a social influence platform.
1. The platform must target a specific group.
First off there are a few concepts you need to know from neuroscience to get you started. The first is the reticular activating system (RAS). The RAS is one of the compound structures in the brain responsible for attention and orientation. The RAS is associated with most commonly the concept of selective attention, which means we as humans naturally orient to information that we are invested in.
An example of the RAS would be in a big crowd of people, let’s say walking down the high street where you can’t hear much of anything, but you suddenly look towards someone who has just shouted your name in a conversation. As our names are one of the many “buzz words” which are programmed directly into us from a very early age, we naturally focus on someone when someone mentions us.
Our key strategy when working with clients is to identify relevant and meaningful content that captures the audience, but the trick is that all our content when building influence platforms needs to be relevant, usable and meaningful.
2. The platform must assist users to interact with content in multiple ways, using modes of engagement.
The second theory related to neuroscience is the idea of motivating people to interact with your content in multiple ways. The concept of “multimodal learning” explains that people are more likely to learn and retain information if multiple sensory stimulation takes place.
We are more likely to engage and recall things that appeal to multiple senses, through modalities such as written (visual) and aural (auditory) at the same time. The content appeals more to the user if it’s offering multiple ways by which it can be consumed.
For example in our game Choices and Voices, we had multiple versions for different parts of the UK. Each version would have different voice acting accents, environments and story language to convey a sense of relevance to the user.
Prevent Project – Choices and Voices, Game Series
C&V – West Midlands
C&V – Southwest
C&V – Primary
3. Bring content in front of the audience.
We now turn to human psychology where we can identify a few concepts that are useful in terms of content authoring. We must remember that people tend to respond more strongly to meaningful stories within narratives. By which they go far as engaging with your content if it is logically presented, sequential and easy to understand. Also you may wish to include emotional components which will grab your audience’s attention. Use stories to communicate content, which makes it more personal to your audience.
For example within a community, be that in a game or on a social network create stories around your content, communicate to others through other users. Facebook is a primary example of this with their “User stories”, where advertising can be communicated through the user’s friends. Remember people can recall narratives better then a series of facts or statements.