Though written over thirty years ago, Robert Cialdini’s book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion identifies six psychological principles of influence that are still used by many of us in Public Relations today – whether we realize it or not. We spend much of our time trying to persuade others. Think about it for a moment:
- What are you sharing on social media?
- What are you doing to create and foster relationships with clients, donors, and colleagues?
- What are you doing to manage your reputation in your industry?
These are just three of the many areas in business that require some form of persuasion. Here are the Six Principles of Influence and how each applies specifically to Public Relations.
There are two key elements in the Liking principle – Real Similarities and Offering Praise. Building relationships with others – personal or professional – begins with finding common interests, shared experiences, or similar objectives. These commonalities draw us together. We also are likely to respond favorably to compliments that are genuine. We all desire to connect and be liked.
This principle applies well in the use of social media platforms and groups. Target people with similar interests that align with your business or ministry. Engage with them, gain “likes,” and offer praise as needed.
Reciprocity builds trust, the basis of any strong relationship. In Public Relations, we experience this through our business connections, our media relationships, our networking abilities to gain coverage, and word-of-mouth referrals.
Authenticity and ethics are key to good PR. People are always evaluating your organization’s experience and accomplishments. In social media we see this through the number of followers you have or the number of likes on a post. Social proof builds credibility in your organization and your content in all forms of communication.
Consistency is key in all areas of business and it is an integral part of good PR. Consistency in your messaging helps to enforce and support your brand. It also helps your organization communicate more effectively across multiple platforms, reaching more people.
Establish authority by becoming an expert in your field. People naturally look for direction from the experts – the people who simply know more about something than we do.
In PR we establish authority through our credibility from things such as published articles, social media attention, and network referrals.
This principle is much like the idea of supply and demand. The more limited or exclusive something is, the higher the demand and greater the impact. Scarcity and exclusivity persuade people to donate, purchase, or participate so they avoid missing out on something. It also relates to PR by motivating people to be part of specific groups through social media or an organization.
It is important to note that you should never be deceptive. Always follow through with any offers you make regardless of the communication platform.
Persuasion is a fundamental part of Public Relations. It will establish you as a leader and influencer in your industry. But be sure to always use persuasion in an ethical and authentic way. Building and maintaining trust is crucial to your organization’s success.
If you are interested in Public Relations strategy or consultation to help protect your brand,
Infinity Concepts is here to help. Contact us today!