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The Surprising Science Behind Influence and Persuasion

I’ve been vocal about my disdain on the latest panacea of how influence marketing is being sold online. While I believe influencers have great reach and some influence, I don’t believe that they have the power of persuasion independent of other factors. Influence marketing still requires a strategy beyond throwing some tickets at an influencer or getting a retweet.

According to Dr. Robert B. Cialdini, author of Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition), I may be onto something. His analysis has found that there are 6 universal principals to influence and persuade individuals:

  1. Reciprocity – the obligation to give back what you have received from others.
  2. Scarcity – people want more of those things that there are less of.
  3. Authority – people will follow the lead of credible and knowledgeable experts.
  4. Consistency – activated by looking and asking for small initial commitments that can be made.
  5. Liking – people prefer to say yes to those they like.
  6. Consensus – people will look to the actions of others to determine their own.

This infographic from everreach illustrates the 6 universal principles of Influence and Persuasion:


Here’s a detailed conversation of Influence and Persuasion in an animated video from INFLUENCE AT WORK (IAW):

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