Most of us intuitively accept emotions drive behaviors better than facts.
But we get clumsy with the messaging to make people feel the emotion.
Too often we make the mistake of naming the feelings we’re trying to amplify. i.e. –
“Don’t be frustrated, ask for help!!”
“Build a powerful reputation in your field”
“Be empowered to take control of your health”
This intends to provoke revolution. No-one likes to be told what they’re thinking (or what to think).
The magic is stoking the emotion without having to name it. The magic is telling stories which connect to your members’ frustrations. You have to find the objects and situations that represent those emotions.
You don’t need to say waiting in line is frustrating, we know waiting in line is frustrating. Likewise not knowing how to solve a problem is frustrating and exasperating, you don’t need to name the emotion. You don’t need to say building a reputation is joyful, you need to find objects that represent that feeling. The more visual the objects are, the better. The more people can imagine encountering those objects, the more effective they are at amplifying the emotion.
This has to be reflected in the copy you use, images you deploy, stories you share etc…
If we think frustrating people with problems will drive someone to ask a question in a community, we’re not going to use the word ‘frustration’ at all.
We’re going to find objects which represent the alleviation of that frustration. We’re going to share stories of people who solved their problems, features images of collective time saved in the community, and posts about mistakes avoided etc…
The secret is always not to name the feeling you want to amplify, but to find the objects (words, ideas, images, etc… ) that will make people feel it.