Communication: Influence and Social Media


Neil Patel is the author of “6 Ways to Be More Persuasive With Social Media,” an article combining communication via social media and tips from the book Influence by Robert Cialdini.  Patel discusses reciprocation, social proof, liking, authority, scarcity, and commitment/consistency and how those concepts relate to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets.

Aristotle’s three modes of persuasion definitely apply to how influential you are on social media.  Many of Patel’s examples pull from ethos, the character or credibility of the user.  Patel explains that great ways to influence with social media include developing a polite, warm, and funny online persona; sharing with others by creating give-and-take relationships; displaying authority by highlighting achievements; and honoring commitments.  A great example of ethos over social media is Guy Kawasaki.  He takes the time respond to Tweets in a kind, warm way, so he creates relationships with people.  On his website, Kawasaki displays his most recent book, Enchantment, as a New York Times best-seller.  This shows his authority and credibility when speaking on certain subjects.  We can all learn from Kawasaki’s approach to social media.

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Patel also gives tips that I would categorize as logos: Aristotle’s logical orientation.  When giving a speech or presentation, your logos is the support for your cause/brand/argument.  It includes the organization of your material and the proof to support your cause.  Patel explains that with social media, proof comes in the form of numbers: a large group of people “liking,” supporting, commenting, and sharing your ideas and your brand.  Other ideas for garnering logos include great data (charts, diagrams), a clear process, facts and statistics, and source material including current and relevant articles, case studies, and stories.

Lastly, Patel advises you to persuade with social media in an area that Aristotle would define as pathos.  Pathos is the emotional appeal, and Patel emphasizes connecting with people in order to make them feel positively.  Make people feel happy and good about themselves by treating them respectfully.  Be kind!  Instead of hiding behind your Internet persona and being cruel to others, treat people online just as you would in real life.  This will allow those connected to you to associate your brand with feelings of happiness and positivity.

With the help of Aristotle’s three modes of persuasion and Neil Patel’s tips on influencing with social media, your brand, your cause, and your message can be stronger and more effective.  Good luck!


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