For decades, researchers have been studying the factors that compel people to not just listen to certain speakers but also act on their ideas.
In the business world, where we talk about “conversions”, we’re talking about the audience – fans and followers who have been convinced that a particular brand or product can actually meet their needs in the best way possible.
So what drives people to believing a few influencers over the others? Research indicates there are certain psychological factors at play.
Understanding why people watch and follow certain YouTube channels over others, or why people retweet and share certain tweeple’s tweets over others, helps us better understand how we can use this science to improve our marketing strategies.
The science behind influencer marketing is also meant to help entrepreneurs and marketers develop ethical marketing strategies based on actual science.
In the context of influencer marketing, this hypothesis tells us that the more certain influencers are about their subject matter, the more believable they will be and the more influence they will yield.
In other words, if an influencer has mastery over their subject, they are likely to have more influence on their audience.
When picking an influencer, find one who is able to:
81% of marketers who previously used influencer marketing campaigns approved that influencer engagement is effective.
When dealing with groups, a minority in the group can hold a lot of influence by converting the majority to their cause.
This is often the case because the majority in the group may not have formed strong beliefs or opinions yet. The majority may simply be going along because there is no better alternative, or because it is much easier to just go along with the cause of the group.
Additionally, the silent majority may be disillusioned with the groups process, purpose or leadership, and may be seeking a worthwhile alternative.
If you have an idea that is probably not yet universally accepted, seek voices or influencers within the group that are consistent, confident, unbiased, and reasonable – and you may still be able to sway popular opinion to your side.
54% of marketers agree that niche communities allow for more influence.
Priming involves offering a seemingly unrelated stimulus to influence short-term thoughts and actions. Additionally, priming makes it easier and faster for audiences to recognize what you want them to take away from a message.
In essence, priming brings old thoughts or ideas to the surface. It introduces new things to a person’s subconscious thus making the primed ideas more accessible and more likely to be accepted.
|1||Repetitive priming||Where an idea is repeated severally so as to influence a future thought.|
|2||Conceptual priming||Where a related thought or idea elicits a specific response. For example, “butter” may be priming to elicit thoughts about bread.|
|3||Perceptual priming||For instance, when an image that has been seen before is used to prime a part picture presented.|
|4||Associative priming||When related ideas, especially free association word pairs, are linked. For example, an airplane primes the thought of speed.|
|5||Reverse priming||When people who know they are being primed feel they have been biased and therefore overcompensate by choosing the opposite idea.|
|6||Masked priming||Where an image or word is flashed and is thus not consciously recognized.|
83% of consumers trust recommendations and 66% trust consumer opinions posted online.
People usually tend to feel obliged to return a favor. The giver is then usually able to either:
For example, if you offer a small inexpensive trinket or helpful “usually-paid-for” information as a gift, you can easily request and get audiences to subscribe to a certain website.
If you offer your time, money, insights, or information in a way that’s helpful to your audience, then they will very likely feel obliged to align themselves to your cause by returning a favor.
Use social currency with influencers and audiences. For example, if you give your influencer gifts for themselves and for their audience, it will be easier for the audience to feel obliged to return a favor towards you. Additionally, the influencer will also feel obliged to support you more.
However, you need to measure the social currency that you give. Otherwise, you may elicit feelings of manipulation which tend to be counterproductive.
Examples of social currency include:
Giveaways and chances to win earn more media value than any other form of social currency.
When people anticipate possible regret for something that is scarce, they desire it more. Furthermore, if it is anticipated that someone else will greatly benefit from the scarce item, the desire for the scarce item is heightened.
For example, an offer for a service that is due to expire after 24 hours (scarcity of time)
You can create great desire for a product or service by making it scarce. In essence, sell the pain of missing out.
67% of people who are about to give you money don’t.
Persuasive messages tend to lose their impact over time. However, under certain conditions, the sleeper effect predicts that messages that have low persuasion (because they are from a low credibility source) tend to increase in persuasiveness over time, especially when the low credibility messenger is dissociated from the message over time.
If you make your message more dramatic or vivid than the messenger, with time, the source of the message will be forgotten and the message will become more impactful over time.
Even if you have a biased messenger or influencer, if the message is dramatic enough, it will still gain popularity and impact.
When youth were asked if celebrity support of a product would cause likelihood to buy it 18% said YES, 25% said NO & 57% said MAYBE.
Social influence is the behavioral change that an influencer can cause based on the perception of the relationship between the audience and the influencer.
The Trifecta of social influence includes:
For example, if a doctor, wearing a white lab coat and stethoscope, tells you that a certain product is healthy for you to eat, you will tend to obey without question.
Engage everyday consumers as your influencers so as to have a greater impact on peers, Instead of relying on your ability to influence others
Word-of-mouth inspired marketing generates more than 2X the sales of paid ads and these sales customers are 37%more likely to remain loyal customers.
A research project carried out by Yale University found that persuasive and influential speech showed certain characteristics, including these points:
The source of the message, the nature of the message, and the nature of the audience need to be carefully considered in the influencer marketing campaign.
When asked about reliable sources for information about apparel trends, 33% said department stores and independent retailers, 26% said ads, 19% said men’s magazines, and 11% said TV shows.
Certain words have been proved to possess great power, influence and persuasiveness. For example, words like value, progress, contribution, freedom, guarantee, we, happy, and belong.
The top 5 most persuasive or influential words that you can use include: Free, Because, Instantly, You, & New.
When influencers and audiences engage, they share a cooperative principle. In essence, speakers tend to shape what they say so that what they say can be better understood by the listeners.
This interaction between the speaker and listener can be analyzed using 4 conversational maxims including:
Disrupting and reframing information can be a useful tool for persuasion and influence.
Look for different ways to disrupt and reframe information in order to trigger a wake-up call. For example, pitching a product for sale as equivalent to 2 cups of coffee instead of $4.
Through the science behind influencer marketing, we are able to:
What really goes on behind a successful Influencer Marketing campaign and how you can get the strategy right.
Charles Benzu writes on a wide range of topics from entrepreneurship, career, digital marketing and forex trading. He has a passion for science and technology, especially gadgets and gizmos. Charles was professionally trained as an accountant going on to pay his dues for 7 years before branching off to follow his passions. He is currently involved in social entrepreneurship projects where he lives and in his free time likes to kick back and relax with his friends watching sports.
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