Becoming An Influencer And The Art Of Persuasion

The next movie you tweet about is the talk of the town. The simplest blog update of yours on high heels gets a ‘crazy number’ of  ’likes’. Your advice on the latest party spots is met with much appreciation and your Klout score is on the rise on any given day.

Yes, you’re an influencer. But what does that mean and why is it essential to increase your influence?

We give to you 6 principles of influence identified by Professor Cialdini to help you learn how to persuade and influence effectively. Not just because being an ‘influencer’ is the new ‘it’ word but also because being one comes with a whole lot of perks!

Return the Favour

People tend to return favours. No one wants to be considered ungrateful. So that one time you helped your colleague buy a pair of shoes on sale with your loyalty program?  It will help when you need her to cover for you when you desperately need a day off, Introduced to a new friend by an old one? Return the favour. No point compartmentalising friends. Invited to someone’s card party this Diwali? add them to yours for the next one!

Caution: Don’t be a ‘friend jumper’. Yes – it’s a word – reserved for those who become insta-besties with a well intentioned introduction and suddenly your Facebook / Twitter is full of them lunching / partying together.

Get a Promise In Early

People like to make consistent choices. So once they’ve committed to a project, they’re more likely to honour that commitment. Trust us, the good ones always do. No one wants to break a promise! So try to get people’s commitment to support your project early on – let them believe in you and your work. When you can get someone to commit verbally or even better, in writing, the chances go up sharply that they’ll (mostly) actually do it. Bingo!

Not just for work: It works for party planning too. Invite your key guests in early – involve them by asking for advice. Not only will they be there on time, but they will also help in pre-event buzz building.

Create Buzz 

People will do things they see other people doing – especially if those people seem similar to them. It’s the ‘lemmings’ principle.  We often decide what to do by looking at what others are doing. You can use this principle to your advantage by creating “buzz” early around your project through social media, your own contacts and even plain old word-of-mouth! If you won’t promote it, who will. Right?

How to do it?  This works for most things in life! Think of that friend who can make getting a glass of water an achievement simply by the tone of her voice and animation – we don’t suggest you do that – but your enthusiasm will translate into buzz. Everyone wants to attend an event their friends attend – just make sure you talk it up – nicely!

Become an Expert

People tend to feel a sense of duty or obligation to people seen to be in positions of authority. Here you can use both your own authority, and the authority of your supporters, as influencers. Establish yourself as an expert, present yourself as a thought-leader and you’re in.

What to do:  This works for social situations as well. Are kiddie- parties your thing – become the go-to resource for your set of friends. Are you obsessed with the newest restaurants – why not be generous with that knowledge?

It’s All About Being Liked

People are easily persuaded by people that they like, trust and respect. So play nice, be helpful!

But remember: It’s important to like people too. If you are not seen as approachable and friendly – it makes life so much harder!

Create Scarcity!

If it’s easy, it’s not worth it. Well, that’s how the world works. The harder things are perceived to be, the easier it is to get support for it. So with this principle in mind, ensure people feel that they’re missing out if they don’t act quickly. Think about the Birkin. Demand exists because it’s impossible to buy. The best invitations evoke that response! FOMO or ‘the fear of missing out’ is a real thing.

How to do it: Create it by cultivating a stellar guest list – exclusivity is not a bad word.

And the Final Touch? Social Media Love

With the rise of social media, you can now find out a lot about people by checking their social media identities on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs etc. ‘Social-stalking’ is something everyone does. So get on with the times and be generous with your interaction.  There are many platforms to share the love.

What to do: Attended a fun party?  ’Like’ the Facebook photos which come up on your timeline a few days later – it’s the ‘thanks for inviting me’ for the digital age. By all means like that photo of you looking amazing but do the same for your host. Spend a minute or two liking or commenting on your Instagram feed. Friends ‘like’ friends. It’s simple!

Published on Estylista on November 5th, 2013