6 Ways to Increase Your Influence and Persuasion

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Influence and Persuasion

Image credit: Why Choose When You Can Have Both ? by an untrained eye

Working in today’s niche markets, we all want to know if there’s a magic bullet. Is there a way to influence your buyers, clients, fans and/or Twitter followers to do what you want them to do? With so many tools to use, decisions have to be made about which shortcuts to take. However, several studies resulted in somewhat unusual findings on what persuades people to act.

The Art of Online Persuasion in 5 Easy Steps

1. Give, give, then give some more.

It should be no surprise that people are more likely to do something for you if you’ve done something for them first. Think about this in your everyday life. Aren’t you more willing to help your neighbor with moving some shrubs if they helped you with your yard work previously? How about when someone asks you to RT or Like something on your Twitter feed or Facebook? It’s human nature.

We all want to be liked and will do nice things to help our fellow man, but we all want our fellow man to do something nice for us, too. Give a lot, and get at least a little back. When you make a request, however, personalize it. Personalized requests are the most persuasive and bring the best response.

2. Offer fewer options.

Too many choices scare people; not everyone is a cut-and-dry decision maker. I’m guilty of giving too many choices, but have learned to curb my offers. The truth of the matter is if you give too many choices people get confused, frustrated and eventually give up; they can’t make up their minds. Offering fewer choices lessens the frustration of trying to figure out which option is best. Studies show that companies offering fewer choices have better conversion rates that those with a large number of options.

3. Build social proof.

Although we say, “don’t talk about yourself”, social proof is not the same. Social proof is a conglomerate of information. For instance, consider your reaction when you see someone with 10,000 Twitter follower, 1500 blog subscribers, 100,000 YouTube views, etc. Our initial response to these numbers is “Wow! They’re hot stuff!” We go look – because we want to know what it is about these people that makes them “hot stuff”.

So, build social proof. Create value for others; write guest posts, share information, interview industry authors, etc. Concentrate on the social media users running in your own arena; these individuals will help you build the most social proof.

4. Build trust.

Social networking – it’s about the people you’re networking with, not you. People need to trust that you aren’t looking for self-promotion. A compliment is always better – and more believable – coming from clients and friends rather than yourself. Otherwise, it just sounds like bragging. Trust is critical to persuading people to act.

How do you build trust? First and foremost, be honest. Now, this doesn’t mean you spill the whole history of your product or service from back in the day. What it does mean, however, is that you share a small flaw in yourself, your product or business. Immediately after, follow with your best strengths.

5. Share the benefits – sort of.

Rather than tell them what they’ll get if they buy your product or service, talk to your audience about what they may lose. Studies have shown that one of the best ways of persuading people to act is by causing them to miss the product/service before they even pay for it.

6. Give them a goal to reach.

Turn your offer into an attainable goal, and then help them on the way to attaining it. For instance, “Introduce 10 friends to our online magazine and get a free subscription – we’ll start you off with two credits, so you only have 8 to go!”

The art of persuasion is a science, capable of being studied, quantified and qualified. This means that pretty much anyone can be persuasive if they study the formula and rules. Learning the formula and following the rules can help you become more persuasive and influential.

Gabriella Sannino
For the past fifteen years Gabriella has held positions as a consultant, web developer and creative director until she decided it was time to open... Read Full Bio
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  • RebeccaOsberg

    This post is so true. I think it's one of the best parts of social media – that you have to give, not just take for it to work. Where else in the business world do you see so much of that? And truthfully, most of it seems genuine to me. Maybe people know they're giving in order to receive, but they're more than happy to do it. This seems like business world progress.

    • Acai Max Cleanse

      Social Media, especially Twitter Followers and Blog Readers are gaining huge exposure.

      • SEOcopy

        Agreed, after all where or when in our technological advancement has one person been capable to yield so much power? Maybe, that's a bit strong but I think you ladies get my point… lol I Need another cup of coffee.

  • web & graphic design

    It's all basic human psychology. No one wants to visit your site unless there is something in it for them. Are they interested? Are they getting something? Are they receiving useful information? The list goes on…

  • Jurgen Estanislao

    Great, simple article you got here Gabriella. Nudge is a good book to further expound/support what you have here.



    • SEOcopy

      Thanks Jurgen I will look into that book 😉

      • Jurgen Estanislao


  • Shannon Gilmour

    I have to say, this article is very informative and it is stuff you can use. Being a crisis line worker/ motivational speaker, I interact with people daily and giving of yourself, your time, your help, your effort goes a long way. If you put yourself out there without thinking you are putting yourself out, people sense your willingness to help and are appreciative, and will help you if ever you should ask.

    Thanks again.

    Is there a print button?

    • SEOcopy

      Shannon, thanks for taking the time and sharing your thoughts. Giving without expecting anything in return is the ultimate goal… Not a lot of us can do that. That's what missing in our society. It's people like you in the health care industry that are the big winners. I know a lot of this seems foreign to some people, but heck I believe in Karma and granted we all need to put food on our table but nothing can put a smile on my face and a skip in my heart than giving to someone who needs.

  • Blog Angel a.k.a. Joella

    Giving is the key to building online I think. The more you give the more potential you create for receiving. Reciprocity is more powerful than many people believe.

    I really need to build towards being able to show social proof. It's not an easy thing for me, but I keep trying.

  • Victoria Rickert

    Yes, sharing and building a network of like minded people is a wonderful thing. I was thinking about how social media is changing the the social fabric of our society. Do you know where I can find some studies on this? I am sure it is all still fairly new and hasn't reached it's peak yet and as our technology evolves so do we. Weird, strange and oh so interesting…..

    • SEOcopy

      Hello Victoria, I cannot think of “one” place that has studies. There are many online with their own interpretation. I try to think of Social media like a big cocktail party. The connections aren't going to happen on the first meeting… it happens sure, but they are rare. As long as you can build on the relationships from that cocktail party and continue to add value you will notice a shift and a perception that others have about you. Amazing how many times I think no one is listening only to get an email or a DM stating otherwise. So basically, you have the world at your fingertips, how you use it is up to you.

  • DrKND

    Good article, and makes the point that sending signals of reciprocity, authority and speaking to people's motivations has the potential to work as well online as off.

  • Dr. Rick Kirschner

    Good article, and makes the point that sending signals of reciprocity, authority and speaking to people's motivations has the potential to work as well online as off.