Mother Was Right! Birds of a feather do flock together!
by Jilla Webb
Mother Was Right!
Social influence and marketing strategy. The dynamic duo.
If you’re an artist in today’s world, you will need some influence and power to get your voice heard above the noise and bustle of the industry. In addition to finding and gaining the trust of influencers in this industry, you might want to consider studying how to increase your own influencing power to draw attention to yourself. After all, this is no longer the olden days where someone else had to market you or your product. Social media has given you the tools and the potential power to do that work on your own.
Today, power is not limited to the elite. It can be earned and gained by creating the ability to influence or affect a person, group or outcome. In an article written by Shintaro Okazaki, it states that “Opinion leaders tend to be more innovative, or earlier adopters of new ideas or products, than their followers (Baumgarten 1975). Thus, opinion leaders tend to seek out novelty and creativity and play a pivotal role in the diffusion of innovation” (Rogers 1995) (p. 451). If you are beginning to become an opinion leader for other things that you believe in, you will be gaining trust and visibility to a wider network and market. In this same article, Okazaki notes the difference between social-intention and social influence. Social intention is the precursor to social influence. Social intention encompasses the individual’s role and participation in some action. Social influence includes the desire to induce people or groups to act on something. It seems to me that becoming an opinion leader might start with social intention on the part of the individual and then eventually work its way into becoming social influence. Okazaki states that the social influence model has three primary parts, “value perceptions, social influence variables, and decision making and participation.”
First, it is necessary to build value perceptions. To do that, I believe you must market the “why” you are doing something and not just what you’re marketing and how it works. The idea of “why” you are doing something is a real reason that people might be able to get behind and endorse. Not only as individual social intention actors but also there is the possibility of them moving into the stage of social influence. They might believe in what you’re doing so much that they will start selling you or your idea for you. I believe this will only work if you’re making the marketing about the idea and not just you. Maybe you want to brand a series of house concerts featuring 4 different artists, one of whom is you. The “why” you’re doing it has to be more than just you want a place to play and a way to make money. Maybe, it’s because you want to start something that lifts up and supports many artists. In today’s market, it is becoming more and more difficult to make a living as a musician. What if you did this as a way of increasing musician solidarity and cohesion. In his Ted Talk, Simon Sinek is promoting this idea he calls the “Golden Circle.” Basically, it says that instead of advertising and starting with the outside of the circle the how and what your product is and dose, you should begin in the center of the circle and tell people why you’re doing something. That way people will be more inclined to get on board with your product and your idea. Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. The goal is not to do business with people who need what you have, the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.” [Video File] He thinks the reason for this is our brains. Our neocortex is where our rational and analytic thought takes place, but the limbic brain is where all feelings, human behavior, and all decision making really happen. The interesting thing is that the limbic brain has no capacity for language but is responsible for many of the “gut” feelings or decisions we make. So if you want to impact the limbic brain, you have to let it know why you “feel” like taking action around this idea, product or cause. All of this endorses the idea that you can and do have influence over what people perceive as valuable.
If you look at celebrities today with a lot of social influence, people like Tim Ferriss or Oprah Winfrey they began as innovators and early adopters. They used mass media channels as first points of contact, but what really makes people like that social influencers is the interpersonal connections and contacts they make that determine their ability to persuade people into action or inaction. They both try new products, read and review new books, use new media mediums to get their message out to the world. We may look at people like that now and think they were always influencers, but the truth is that it was an uphill climb to gaining fans and influence over many years and, I’m sure, much trial and error. Now they are both trusted endorsees of products. If they give an endorsement, you are sure to gain massive visibility. They were also, in my opinion, always operating from the “why” standpoint. It wasn’t so much what product or book or idea they got behind; it was the fact that they really believed in the product. They thought it would be good and useful for society. Think of the political elections. The slogans are usually aimed at getting people to feel one way or the other about an issue or a candidate. They, of course, run on issues, but people have to believe in the people first to get behind their candidacy.
The power of your social influence variables begins with your network of friends and how far your reach extends. Studies have concluded that influence not only continues to your immediate friends but their friends and so on in an outward direction. If you can attract and nurture the relationship with one or two innovators or early adopters, you will have increased your social pull and reach dramatically. People tend to do what other people are doing, so if you get a few people to join the movement, more and more people will decide to come on board and participate in your cause. When enough people have joined in, they will begin recruiting and influencing others into taking action.
Power can be gained because of who you are connected to and the trust relationship you share. The old adage that says, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” might be more accurate now than ever before. Human behavior is contagious so you might want to think about the handful of closest friends you keep around you and how their behavior might be influencing you. It seems mother was right; birds of a feather do flock together. Figure out how to get to your mentors and spend time with the people who are living and doing what you want to do. Networking, reach, and influence can work in your favor, or against it. Be careful to choose your associations wisely
Okazaki, Shintaro. “Social Influence Model and Electronic Word of Mouth.” International Journal of Advertising 28 3 (2009) 439-472.
Sinek, Simon. (September 2009). How great leaders inspire action. [Video File] Retrieved from:https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action/up-next