A couple of weeks ago I discussed the first 3 weapons of influence and today I’d like to talk about the last 3 weapons of influence you should use to convert visitors to your social media platforms, encourage fans and followers to share your social media content, and build your community.
As I’ve said before, influence is the grease that makes actions easier. You can just put up a sign in box to collect addresses for your mailings, but you’re not likely to get very many. Use the secret weapons of influence and you’ll see your sign ups jump dramatically — grease.
4. Authority – people are hard wired to obey authority. It’s a survival instinct left over from the days when we followed the best hunter to ensure we had enough to eat or followed the best fighter to optimize our chances of surviving the battle.
Google uses authority in determining page rank and where you end up in an organic search. Consumers use authority to determine actions. And, it’s authority that Klout measures (primarily) in determining your online influence.
- Create compelling content –– whether it’s on your blog, your fanpage, or other social media platforms. Content that is helpful, insightful, well-written, and readable builds you as an authority.
- Provide answers — answer sites like Quora are great ways to build authority. Every week I run “Ask a Marketing Expert” on the Facebook fanpage for Marketing That Works.TV — one of my properties. This is a great way to build authority, especially since these conversations have incredible SEO value — often showing up on the first page of a Google search for many hard-to-reach keyword phrases.
- You’re judged by the company you keep — Not only does this help build authority, it builds social capital, which capitalizes on one of the other 6 weapons of influence — reciprocity.
- Comment on other top blogs in your area (just make sure your contributions are valuable. Throw away comments about how great the post are do nothing to build your authority).
- Network at major events and try to get on the program at these events. Volunteer as a speaker or volunteer to help with registration or anything else that sets you up as an “insider” with prestigious groups.
- Guest post on leading blogs in your area.
- Review books and products produced by major players in your area.
- Share posts by leaders in your area through your own social network.
- Interview major players in your area.
5. Liking – people like to help people they like and they buy more from people they like. They also buy from people their friends like — which is the whole reason social media marketing works SO effectively. Buying and consuming is really a social process that we like to share rather than do alone.
So, the trick is to be likable. Guy Kawasaki’s new book, Enchantment, is really all about being likable. I highly recommend the book, not because I make a few bucks each time you buy (which I do), but because I like Guy and think his book is highly readable and valuable.
6. Scarcity –works well in social media because people are afraid they’ll miss out on something valuable. Scarcity also provides social proof (another of our 6 weapons of influence). You see this work all the time — both online and off. If a store limits the number of items you can buy at a reduced price, studies show they’ll sell much more of the product than without the limit (at the same discount price).
Facebook used this strategy very effectively when introducing enhanced messaging (effectively email) integrated into its social network. It rolled implementation out slowly with those who didn’t have the feature clamoring for it.
To work properly, people must believe true scarcity exists and overuse of this tactic can cheapen the brand image when consumers feel true scarcity doesn’t exist.
Inter-relationships Among Weapons of Influence
Certainly, these weapons don’t exist individually as separate tools of persuasion. Instead, the weapons of influence reinforce each other creating a web of persuasive influence. Subtle differences among the weapons provide a valuable arsenal for the skillful manager. However, there are some caveats:
- Care must be taken so the tools of persuasion are NOT overused. Otherwise they will stop working.
- Influence must be subtle — influence that is TOO overt may not work and reflect badly on the brand.
- Persuasion must be authentic. If efforts appear forced or too commercial they won’t work.