How do you influence others?

If you look at the business world of 2014, the idea of being an influencer is pretty important. After all, social media has played a role in adjusting the conventional marketing funnel — and the standard relationships between advocacy and adoption are different. Think about this, as a small example: American Airlines let people into their club lounges last year if they had a Klout score of 55 or higher. Influence matters, especially social influence. In fact, if you were to sit through a wide variety of business meetings/presentations, probably a good deal of people would mention the term “influencer.”

So it helps to stop and think — what are the core components that make someone an influencer? (This is a little bit similar to how to get people to listen to you, or how to approach habit formation and re-formation.)

These are the six key factors:

  • Reciprocity: Giving back what you have received from others.
  • Scarcity: People want more of what there’s less of.
  • Authority: Be credible, have knowledge.
  • Consistency: Deliver what you say you will, and when you will.
  • Likability: People like to say yes to those they like.
  • Consensus: Looking to the actions of others to figure out your own actions.

These are all pretty basic things, but it’s a helpful way to look at the idea of “influence.”

In strictly business terms, “scarcity” is probably one of the easiest for an organization to achieve — think of ‘Limited Time Sales’ — as is “reciprocity” (maybe a little bit further down the chain). There was a big movement in social strategy around late 2012 / early 2013 to have social become a place where fans/customers’ concerns and needs were addressed; I’ve seen less of that recently, but there are still some companies that do a pretty good job with it. Authority and consistency come with time, as do likability and consensus (“consensus” in a business sense somewhat correlates to “market share”).

This is all based on the work of Robert Cialdini, for the most part:

Another way to look at this: tell your story, be humble, and gain consistency and authority through those means over time. If you want a more visual way to consider this, look at the following infographic:


Ted Bauer