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Have you ever started watching a movie, paused it halfway through, and felt an itch to finish it later? Or left a task incomplete and couldn’t get it out of your head until you finally wrapped it up? 

The Zeigarnik Effect essentially says that people remember unfinished tasks better than completed ones. This can be a powerful tool for us to keep our users engaged and coming back.

Zeigarnik Effect. Definition | by Wesley Chang | Psychology Secrets for  Marketing | Medium

Here are a few ways we can leverage this in our communities and marketing:

  1. Unfinished Thoughts: Have you tried posting content that leaves a question or a thought incomplete? It could be something like a cliffhanger in a blog post or an open-ended question in a forum discussion. The idea is to trigger that itch in your users to come back and see how the conversation unfolds or to share their own thoughts.

  2. Complete the Set: Ever noticed how some apps and games get you hooked by making you collect items or complete sets? This can be applied to our communities as well. Think about badges, achievements, or even a series of posts that users need to follow and engage with to get the full picture.

  3. Reminders of the Unused or Undone: Sending gentle reminders to users about tasks they've started but haven’t finished can be a nudge to get them back. Maybe they started filling out their profile but didn’t complete it, or they began a discussion but haven’t replied yet. These reminders can help bring them back into the fold.

So, have you tried using the Zeigarnik Effect in your strategies? How did it work out for you? Have you noticed any particular tactics that seem to resonate more with your audience? And on the flip side, have there been times when it didn't work as expected?

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