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6 Powerful Social Media Weapons Of Influence

6 Powerful Social Media Persuasion Techniques


Let’s be honest……you want your voice to be heard, repeated, and valued—and your message to be influential.


You’re after influence.


So, what better way to understand social media than by looking at the 6 fundamental principles of influence as taught by Dr. Robert Cialdini, professor of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University?




Here are Dr Robert Cialdini’s 6 powerful persuasion techniques


1. Reciprocation

  • In Cialdini’s words, the rule for reciprocation says that we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us”.
  • And so it is in social media: we’re more likely to retweet someone who has already retweeted us.
  • We link to people who have linked to us.
  • And we tend to give a business far more trust after it has provided us with a lot of free value.
  • If you focus on initiating reciprocity by providing no-strings-attached value to those in your network, you’ll ultimately wield far more influence.

2. Commitment and Consistency

  • “Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment.  Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify our earlier decision,said Cialdini.
  • According to the principle of consistency, you’ll want to remind people of their previous positive commitments through perks, public displays, an elimination of friction for increasing their commitment, etc.


3. Social Proof

  • One method we use to determine correct behavior is to find out what other people think is correct.
  • We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.
  • Whether we admit it or not, most of us are impressed when someone has a ton of blog subscribers, Twitter followers, YouTube views, multiple blog reviews for their upcoming book, and so on.
  • When it comes to social proof, tribes matter.
  • It’s not just about what the mass of people are doing on social media that constitutes proof, it’s what other like-minded people and peers are doing.
  • So according to the principle of “social proof,” you should concentrate your social media efforts on finding and building social proof within your tribe.


4. Liking

  • “We most prefer to say yes to people we know and like,” says Cialdini.
  • Extensions of this principle are:
  1. Physical attractiveness creates a halo effect and typically invokes the principle of liking;
  2. We like people who are similar to us;
  3. We like people who compliment us;
  4. We like things that are familiar to us;
  5. Cooperation toward joint efforts inspires increased liking;
  6. An innocent association with either bad or good things will influence how people feel about us.
  • How does this work for social media? 
  • To start with the virtual equivalent of physical attractiveness, we give extra credence to attractively designed blogs, messages contained in videos with higher production quality, and corporations’ landing pages displaying a better sense of social media savvy in their overall design and layout.
  • As for complimenting others, what else is a retweet, a trackback, or a positive blog comment than a social compliment?
  • And yes, those are all activities you should participate in authentically, sincerely, and liberally if you wish to leverage the principle of liking to your advantage.


5. Authority

  • Cialdini talks about “The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of authority…” 
  • In his book, he examines how authority can be conferred by (and also manufactured by) titles, clothes, and trappings.
  • In social media, authority is less about titles and clothes than about virtual trappings.
  • The most direct measure of authority is the number of people who will buy or download a recommended resource based on little more than an authority’s endorsement.
  • How many people would buy a copywriting book simply because Brian Clark said it’s a must-...?
  • One thing social media has seemed to spark is a dawning understanding that authority is (or should be, at least) limited to a legitimate field of knowledge.


6. Scarcity

  • “Apart from reciprocity, this is perhaps the most used tool in social media”…..says  Jeff Sexton, a copywriting and website optimization specialist 
  • When bloggers open up a class or inner circle membership or subscription service, it is never for an unlimited number of customers or for an always open/unlimited time.
  • Smart bloggers either create or fully leverage already existing scarcity by limiting seats available, length of time to buy, etc.


To sum it all up…….here are some very positive ways to leverage the 6 principles of influence to increase your social media success:


  • Focus on creating value and initiating the reciprocity principle by gifting your social media contacts with high-value content, insights, reports, etc.
  • Sincerely flatter your subscribers, friends, and commenters by responding to them and nurturing your growing community.  Actively reach out to people you admire using social media and pay them the compliment of commenting on their blogs, following their tweets, linking to their content, etc.
  • Commit to consistent engagement on the social media platforms you chose to use, to the point of staying away from new social media platforms that you don’t have the resources to actively participate in.
  • Use social proof as credibility cues where appropriate.  Show off your number of subscribers next to the Subscribe button.  Possibly use colleagues to “salt” your comments on important posts, build up your network by guest posting, commenting, and retweeting.
  • Put the extra effort in on achieving professional and inspiring design.  Dress for success on your blog, website, and social media landing pages.
  • When creating a contest or trying to spark immediate action, use the scarcity principle to positive effect.  But be honest about it—no changing “last day for” dates, no miraculously replenishing supplies, etc

What are your secret weapons of influence?


If you enjoyed this post and found TONS OF VALUE, please take a moment and share…..Thank You!

Sharing Is Caring!


To Your Success,
Joan Harrington


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