Social Influence

The Gentle Art of Persuasion—The Four Levels of Social Influence

Social Influencing feels like the new buzz in marketing but it’s been around since Cleopatra showed up with that groovy eyeliner. 

There are four levels of influence.

The first happens between friends and family. Sometimes it’s a question from your brother-in-law about where to buy a computer or which cell service gets the best reception. Another type is a friend exclaiming, “Wow! I love your shoes! Where’d you get them?” 

It happens all the time. You recommend a realtor, a hairdresser, or an auto mechanic. Or you tell a friend about where to get sparkly flip-flops with yoga mat soles. (They’re a real thing and yes, they are as comfortable as they sound… go here). 

The second is when a person uses their position of power or their 15 minutes of fame to sway or educate the public. Remember the college gymnast who stuck the landing and flashed his vaccine card for the cameras?

The third is more subtle but no less impactful. It happens at the corporate level when a CEO decides to support a cause and perhaps donates 10% of their profits to an animal shelter. Think Subaru and dogs. Would you pick one retailer over another if they supported a cause you believe in? 

The fourth is the most accessible and helps make the biggest impact for local businesses.

Here is an audio clip from Paul at AMS.

For years Paul has used the power of our local influencer, Johnny Danger to talk to people about his company. He says it is one of the main reasons he’s successful. 

Why Social Influence Works 

People are more likely to trust friends and family when it comes to recommending where to go for a haircut, get their brakes fixed, or who to list their house with than any other source.


Great! Now all you need to do to scale up your business is get a lot more friends, right? Yup! But there is an easy way. You find a trust-worthy person with a lot of friends and ask them to tell their friends about you. Hint: like the host of a local radio station! 

Here are a few stats:

  • 84% would follow their favorite radio personality to a new station. 1
  • 83% of listeners value and trust their favorite personalities opinions.2
  • 59% believe their daily routine would be different without them.2
  • 81% of listeners consider DJ’s a friend, family member or acquaintance.1
  • 55% of radio listeners trust a product or service more when endorsed by their favorite radio personality.3

Celebrities leverage their fame, name, and fan base to sell everything from reverse mortgages (Tom Selleck) to name-brand moisturizer (Jennifer Aniston). Some even start their own lines of clothes and shoes. Have you seen the new jacket designed by Kanye West for GAP? It sold out in a few hours, and reportedly broke GAP’s site. It looks like a moon boot for your chest and is on eBay for $749.99. 

I know what you’re thinking. Aveeno and Gap have massive budgets! What about a business like me? You don’t have to own a money tree to use social influencers to promote your products and services. All you need is a good strategy and someone who authentically likes and uses your product. Consumers can easily tell when the spokesperson is just reading a script versus the true passion and commitment when they love a product. It’s important to choose a social influencer who shares your values and mission. Imagine a known vegan talking about a meat market. But imagine that same vegan endorsing a plant-based protein shake! 

Consider the tone and personality of your business. Is your brand quirky, funny, serious, traditional, or edgy? 

Next, look for an influencer who personifies your brand so your target audience finds the relationship credible, relatable, real, and useful. 

Looking to learn more about how to choose a social influencer? Give us a shout, and we’ll meet with you to craft the perfect strategy.


  1. Katz Media Group, Our Media, 2019
  2. Vision Critical/MARU, November 2017
  3. Radio Advertising Bureau and Presslaff Interactive

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