- Fri, May 04 2012
- Filed under: Social networking and web 2.0
PopTech has a nifty new edition on the science of unleashing social good in networks, and Fast Company has a great overview of James Fowler’s specific ideas for spreading the word. Here are the ideas I think are most important to us, with my thoughts on how to apply them to our work.
1. Remember generosity is contagious. Studies show witnessing acts of kindness or giving inspires others to do the same. Use social proof to your advantage by highlighting people taking action for your cause. That includes the amount of donation they give - if it’s one that will inspire more generosity.
2. Think of the network as a matching grant. The effect described above actually continues through up to three layers of networks (from person to person to person to person). Be sure you are giving your supporters ways to publicize their acts of support through social media so you get the benefit of all of those ripple effects.
3. Know that messages get amplified as they spread. Says Fowler, “The indirect effect of a message on a person’s friends is about three times larger than the direct effect on the person who received the message in the first place. The more you can get people to deliver the message naturally, the greater this multiplier effect will be.” Make it very easy for people to forward your emails, share information on social media and otherwise spread the word.
4. If you’re in the business of behavior change, focus on your target audience’s innermost circle. Says Fowler, “When we studied behaviors like obesity, smoking, and drinking, we found that spouses, siblings, and friends had an effect on each other’s behavior, but next door neighbors did not.”
5. Keep in mind that “connected” doesn’t necessarily mean connections. People with more friends and friends of friends aren’t necessarily the best champions. Says Fowler, look for people “1) interested in spreading social good, 2) influential, and can persuade others, and 3) influence-able by their friends (they are persuadable). Without these other characteristics, even the most connected person won’t be of any help.”