What is persuasion and how can you implement it on social networks?

12 July 2018

There are many principles and kinds of persuasion that can be applied on social networks. Learn about all of the existing types of influencing and Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion with clear examples about how to put them into use with your social strategy.

In the end, it’s about guiding your followers to take action on social networks or any other area.

Persuading is not manipulating

Manipulation is forcing someone to do something that they don’t want to do. On the other hand, persuasion is encouraging someone do something in their interest, even when they don’t know it at first.

Types of Persuasion 

  1. The appeal to reason: It uses logical arguments. It is effective on people who need proof and don’t accept arguments that are not based on real facts or things.
  2. The appeal to emotion: It can be a more practical approach as many people follow emotions rather than logic.

You can find some techniques of persuasive writing here to boost your sales.

Robert Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion

Cialdini is known by his book Influence: The psychology of persuasion where he described the 6 principles of persuasion.

These principles guide human behavior towards decision-making.


Human beings tend to treat others like they are treated themselves so, if they get something from you, they will try to pay you back.

How to apply this principle on your social channels.

Offer a discount, it will be seen as something personal.

Example: Dropbox offers some free storage. On top of this, if you refer Dropbox to a friend, they will give you 16GB extra as a reward.

Online Contest, offering something free at first and then ask participants to take action. This is another way of implementing reciprocity


The power of competing for something that is scarce is another way to persuade users. However, it really has to be limited.

Example: Last rooms in a hotel or seats on a flight. The user really knows that they are about to fill up.

In an ad campaign, this principle would consist of short time offers like “until Sunday” or offers limited by the product: “until supplies last”.

You can also create limited offers on social networks like rewarding the first 20 people that comment on your post. This is a technique that generates that sense of scarcity and helps your product look more attractive and interesting.


We usually think that those who have more leadership, also have more knowledge and experience.

This means that you should have experts and influencers on your side that talk about you if you want to influence public opinion.

Influencers: When a famous person recommends something, it quickly runs out.


It’s indispensable to be consistent when you offer something to your customers in order to create a sense of trust. That is, if you promise something you have to fulfill that promise.


When we have to make a decision, knowing what other people think about it will help us to feel more confident. We normally get more assured to do something if other people have done it before.

If we see that a product receives positive comments and reviews on the Internet, it is likely that we will buy it. Also, if a person has many followers on Instagram, it will probably help us to decide to follow that person.

In the world of social networks, there are some indicators that users look to as a social proof:

  • The rating of your product and the type of comments that you get.
  • The amount of times that people share your content. For example, if a tweet is retweeted many times, it will attract more people’s attention than if it doesn’t get any retweet.
  • The number of followers determines whether a user will follow someone or not as we mentioned before.


It is normal that we get persuaded by people that we like and that make us feel well instead of by people that we reject.

Empathizing with your followers is the key to persuading them.

Use daily images, so users can see themselves reflected in them.

Example: If you are selling sofas, it’s recommended to advertise them with someone using them rather than showing the sofas alone. It’s a way of empathizing.

Communicate easily: Use a language that your followers understand and use in order to activate the principle of liking. They will feel that they are on the same wavelength.

These techniques or principles of persuasion are very relevant because they are based on the mechanisms that people use to find shortcuts to make decisions.

So now it’s your turn to start putting these techniques into practice to reach your goals!

Sara Martín Sara Martín , 12 July 2018

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