Nowadays, anyone can call them-self an online influencer.
Social media platforms have facilitated the possibilities for individuals to build online communities around commonalities like the same values, same passions, or same skills.
However, what does it really take to influence someone?
Let’s dig into what really influencing means.
What does "influence" actually mean?
As a verb, influence typically means "to affect or change someone or something in an indirect but usually important way."
What are influencers and what do they do?
An influencer is described as “a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media”.
Only on Instagram, there are more than 500,000 people that call themselves influencers.
In the influencer/creator economy brands agree on a fee to pay the creator in exchange for different pieces of content and other deliverables to promote their products or services.
In return, brands expect to maximize their brand awareness to reach new audiences and increase sales of their products.
So what does it take to really have an influence on someone in social media?
Having the power to influence someone’s decisions, way of thinking, or views definitely takes more than just posting a couple of posts and stories.
There are different psychological elements often referred to as mental triggers that you must understand in order to really influence your community
What is a mental trigger?
The human brain and the actions it induces are sparked by feelings and emotions.
These feelings or emotions can be invoked by certain triggers that can be used for exactly that purpose.
For example, working out outdoors in the morning is something that triggers in me a feeling of well-being and positivity. So, whenever I’m feeling down, I know that a run to the beach will trigger the feelings I need.
As a creator trying to build your online influence, you need to understand what are the main mental triggers and incorporate them into your online business.
Knowing these mental triggers will help you create better content, write better captions, and even write the best offers for your audience to help you make more money.
The top 9 mental triggers all creators and influencers should master:
In general, people tend to be drawn to others in positions of authority.
This is because as we move through our everyday lives, we encounter thousands of tiny decisions to make and every action we take requires some level of thought and choice.
Following people with authority is a way in which our brain has evolved to make those decisions more efficiently.
If you want to be more influential within your online community you need to be seen as an authority.
So how can you create authority? It’s easier than you think!
You can use any kind of social proof like big media where your content has been seen/shared
Share about any big events in your industry where you have participated as a speaker
But the best way to establish authority is through the content or knowledge that you provide to your audience. That is simply part of your Instagram journey.
Reciprocity is the idea that when someone gives something to us, we feel some sort of obligation to give them something in return.
Reciprocity is a mental trigger that goes back in time to the age of trading. For trade to occur, there has to be a substantial amount of trust so that when we give our product or service to someone, they will complete the trade by holding up their end of whatever agreement they have made.
How can you create reciprocity?
All the free, valuable content that you’re sharing with your community comes in a form of reciprocity.
Create a “freebie” or anything you can give to your audience that goes beyond just Instagram content think of free masterclasses, webinars, ebooks, etc
The greater the value of your content, the more likely your community will reciprocate by sharing your content, recommending you to others, or buying your offers/products.
As mentioned above, building trust is the ultimate way of becoming influential in someone’s life.
Just think about real-life when a trusted friend or parent told you something that you believed without any doubt because of your relationship with that person and if a stranger would have told you the same thing, you probably wouldn’t have believed it so easily!
So it makes sense that if you want to influence someone, it’s much easier if they trust you. If you want to convince someone to do something, it’s much easier if they trust you. If you want someone to buy something from you. It’s much easier if they trust you.
Building trust in such an oversaturated space can be quite hard. This is why you need to stand out with your content, with your personality, and with your ideas.
How can you build trust in your audience?
Showing up consistently (stories are great for this)
Showing high expertise and knowledgeability in one specific thing
Be transparent and open up to your community about personal topics they can relate to
Anticipation is one of the triggers that will allow you to cut through all the noise. It will allow you to grab your followers’ attention and not let go.
Just think about when you were a kid and you really looked forward to one specific event like Christmas or your birthday. Time always slowed down as the anticipated date approached.
In reality, adults are still big kids and we haven’t gotten over anticipating special dates or special moments.
This trigger is ideal for when you’re going to launch on Instagram a new product, service, or even a sponsored collaboration with your dream brand.
Build anticipation in advance, talk about this upcoming launch or event with frequency in your stories, and in your posts.
If you do anticipation right, people will start looking forward to that date just as a kid waiting for Christmas. They can’t wait to see what’s going to happen and they love feeling like part of the whole process.
I’m sure Likeability is a trigger that you have experienced in your life. The truth is that we enjoy following people we know, like, and trust. We tend to be more influenced by people we like than those we don’t.
This is a very important trigger you need to understand if you want to build your influence on Instagram.
How do you become more likable?
Being gracious, kind, generous, and honest with your community
If you are a brand or business, humanizing your brand, showing your face, showing the personality of your brand will help with likability. Remember people like to do business with people and not with large faceless corporations.
Offer your audience a way to connect more with you, interact with them, reply to their comments, and DMs, send them a welcome message whenever you can.
6. Events & Ritual
Turn any marketing initiative you do on Instagram into an event. People love events, and they tend to get pulled in by them. It makes them feel as if they were part of something bigger than themselves.
A big part of this trigger is the idea of ritual. When people go through an event together, that’s what it becomes. Rituals pull people together and create some of the most powerful experiences we as humans can have.
People often feel starved for ritual and that’s why this kind of thing can be a peak experience for us.
Community is a very powerful mental trigger, especially when it comes to Instagram and Social Media.
Humans normally act in accordance with how they think people in their community are supposed to act.
If you reflect on your own life, I’m sure you can think of many communities you belong to, online and offline, and all these communities have norms that mandate how members are expected to act.
Instagram is one of the best places to build a strong, interactive, engaging, and welcoming community.
How to build an online community?
Connect with people in your niche to build relationships
Understand your ideal follower’s behaviors, struggles, goals, and desires and create content around these
Scarcity is one of the most powerful mental triggers and it’s quite simple. When there is less of something, we want more of it.
In reallity, it’s the perception of scarcity that moves people. In fact, the power of scarcity shows up in our lives over and over in many different kinds of ways.
Diamonds, gold, Rolex, or Ferraris. There are fewer of them, they’re harder to get, and they’re very expensive.
Scarcity triggers people to make an immediate decision based on emotion. If something is truly scarce, then that person needs to act quickly before that resource goes away. People act as a result of the FOMO that scarcity creates.
9. Social Proof
Social proof is the idea that if we see other people taking action, then we will be inclined to take that action as well.
Typically we take cues from the people around us when we’re unsure how to act. As humans, we are social creatures and we are always highly influenced by what we see other people around us doing.
This is why people on IG tend to jump on trends that everyone else is doing!
It’s also very common that when you see an Instagram profile with thousands or millions of followers, you are more likely to want to follow becuase all these people must be here for a reason, right?
However, there are other ways in which you can position your social proof on social media that doesn’t correlate with your following count.
How to create social proof?
State any press coverage you’ve had (online press, offline press, TV appearances, etc)
State your years of experience in your field
State the number of people you’ve worked with or helped
State any other strong social media presence you might have
Share client results
State any big and worldwide recognized brands you have worked with.
Understanding these mental triggers are key to start influencing your community at a deeper level. Remember it’s not about just sharing a product or service and expecting people to take action.
You must use these triggers, which are based a lot on evoking emotions in people because humans tend to make decisions for emotional reasons, especially when it comes to purchasing decisions.
PS. This blog post was inspired by Jeff Walker’s book: Launch.
If you plan to take Instagram seriously this year, check out my FREE Instagram growth guide.