How brain science and the study of habits apply to online patient communities

I’m a bit hesitant to admit it, but the first thing I do when I get up in the morning is check my email.

A few times during the day I check Facebook — partly to manage client accounts and partly to keep up on friends and family. And usually before bed I’ll check my AP news app for the latest news. 

Why do I do these things? Largely, because of habit. But there is a reason why I’ve developed these habits. Beyond personal interest, email, Facebook and even the AP app follow proven habit-building techniques, brilliantly and simply detailed by Nir Eyal in his book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. 

The same lessons can be applied to online patient communities. Research has found it takes an average of 66 days for a behavior to become habitual. You can see why the first two months after a member joins your community are crucial.

That’s why at Hive Strategies we help our clients establish a series of science-based triggers, actions and rewards that keep newcomers hooked for the first two months. Once visiting the community becomes a habit, there’s a very good chance they’ll stick with it.

This plan is something our clients continually measure and refine.

Brain science and the study of habits

Our approach is based on brain science and the study of habits. View this insightful slideshare that Eyal developed to cover the key principles: trigger > action > variable reward > investment and the cycle repeats. Fascinating! 

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *