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We’re continuing on the neuroscience theme a little bit longer, this time speaking to how the brain creates meaning, and how you can apply this to your social media marketing efforts.

To get the most from this post, I’d recommend watching this 6 minute 30 second video from about how the brain creates meaning:

From this video, we learn that there are 3 places in the brain where meaning is created:
1) the ventral stream: identifying “the what” of an object- clarifying what it is and how it fits our mental models of other objects like it
2) the dorsal stream: placing identified objects into 3D (or physical body) space
3) the limbic system: processing emotional information and content

Our brains create meaning from a series of “AHA” moments, where information we learn or experience is slotted into existing representations we have. All learning occurs by assimilation and accommodation- which means we can’t learn anything new without first understanding how it fits into the knowledge we already have.

To get people to move ahead, you must create shared mental meaning and shared mental models.

You can do this in social media through use of images, text, and video.

When creating images, you want to be sure the images are visually interesting, and allow the eye to move easily over them, in order to capture the overall picture (or gestalt) view. This technique would also apply when creating compelling powerpoint presentations, similar to this one I recently uploaded to Slideshare.

Create a way to interact with your content- ask people to select their favorite image, or to write something down- this creates a new level of engagement and mental modeling. Finally, reinforce your message, using similar phrases, words, and images.

In social media, where you may only have a few seconds to capture interest, you need to find ways to rapidly create mental models. Using interesting visuals, encouraging people to try your ideas or interact with them in some way, and reinforcing key points several times are three strategies you can use to attract and retain attention.

Once you have gained attention, you can use these three strategies to help your visitors or viewers create new mental models. As you help them create new mental models and representations- that is, new ways to see the same old things- you create influence with them.

Which after all, is the whole point of marketing.