Cialdini’s Principles of Influence Applied to Social Media

I just finished Jeffery Gitomer’s latest book, Social Boom. I’m a Gitomer fan and although the book was very basic I thought it was still pretty good nonetheless. It’s not a “how to” book on detailed things you can do with different social media sites. There are plenty of “how to” books out there to help you in those areas. Gitomer’s focus is more about the strategic use of different social media tools to build your brand and business. The best book I’ve read to date on social media was Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. I liked the book because the authors tap into many different principles of influence as ways to build your networks. That makes sense because social media is about people reaching out and connecting with one another and whenever people are involved an understanding of human psychology is helpful. Because I know many of you who check in on my blog regularly don’t enjoy reading as much as I do it’s a safe bet the vast majority of you won’t be running out to by a copy Trust Agents or Social Boom anytime soon. However, I know many of you enjoy learning tips that can help you get more out of your social media experience. So here are a few basics ways you can use the principles of influence to get more bang for your buck. Liking is the principle that tells us people prefer to say “Yes” to those they know and like. To engage liking in social media, here are two simple things to focus on – similarities and compliments. When you try to connect with someone it can be as simple as putting a personal message that highlights something you have in common in a Facebook friend request. I have many Facebook friends around the world because of this principle. I got those friends because I reached out to many of Dr. Cialdini’s Facebook friends and when I did so I included a personal message to let them know I knew him and was a one of his trainers. He was our connection or similarity if you will. Compliments are easy to use also. If you’re trying to connect on LinkedIn a personal message is the preferable way to go, also, rather than the standard, “I’d like to add you to my professional network.” In your message include something that you admire or appreciate about that person, letting them know that’s part of the reason you’re reaching out, and the odds they’ll accept your request will go way up. Reciprocity is the principle that describes the reality that we feel obligated to give back the same form of behavior first given to us. For example, on Twitter quite often simply choosing to follow someone will lead them to follow you in return. That’s why most people’s “Following” and “Followers” numbers are so close. I don’t advocate following everyone just because they followed you first but the vast majority of following happens that way. One other way to engage this principle is to reach out to others to help them. Whatever you have in terms of time, talent or expertise, look for ways to give some of that away because those who avail themselves will naturally want to help you when you need it. Consensus lets us know people feel comfortable following the crowd because generally there’s safety in numbers. When we see someone has thousands, or tens of thousands, of Twitter followers, or 500+ LinkedIn connections that sets in the minds of many that those are people worth following. If that wasn’t the case then why would so many others connect with them? Regularly working whatever networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Cinch, etc.) you’re on will eventually pay dividends because the more people who are connected to you the more others want to be connected too. Be patient because it can be like a snowball rolling down a hill. It takes time to see the snowball grow but once it gets going watch out! Authority highlights the reality that people like to follow the advice of experts. What is your expertise? Do you highlight it somehow on your social media networks? If you aren’t then you need to start because it gives people a reason to want to connect with you. Until a several years ago I was like many other sales trainers but my passion for influence and persuasion led me to go deeper in that particular area. Now that I’ve started blogging, people in more than 160 countries have taken time to read what I write. When that fact is shared it’s amazing the instant credibility with others. Consistency is the principle of persuasion that tells us people feel psychological pressure to behave consistently with what they’ve previously said or done. The key to tapping into this principle is either knowing what someone has said or done in the past or getting them to commit to you in some way. Getting them to commit to you is easy to do because all it takes is asking questions. Sometimes the person will say no to your request but when they say yes the odds that they’ll follow through go up significantly. So if you need help, ask people. You’ll be surprised at the number that will do so because social media is about connecting, helping and growing. Scarcity describes the reality that people want what they can’t have or what they perceive to be rare. For me something that I can highlight to tap into scarcity is the fact that only about two dozen people in the world are certified to teach influence and persuasion on behalf of Dr. Cialdini. When people learn that fact it makes them more curious and they naturally to want to engage me. What do you have that makes you rare, unique or different? Get that out there and it will make more people want to connect with you. This is a very brief overview of how you can use the psychology of persuasion to make your time and effort in social media more worthwhile. Hopefully you’ll find the tips useful. If you’ve seen how you’ve successfully used some of the principles in your social media circles please leave a comment so we can learn from you.Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

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