How Influence SHOULD Work

Just Chris Brogan I’m obsessed with how influence should work, and more so, how it doesn’t.

200,000 people will read this post at some point over this month. If I ask you (you!) to donate $10 to this very special cause, which will fund a magical prom for over 500 special needs kids and give them a night they’ll remember forever, the goal of $25,000 should be met in an hour or two. But that won’t happen.

  1. Because maybe special needs isn’t your cause.
  2. Because you wanted to do so but got busy.
  3. Because too many people hit you up in too close a time frame.
  4. Because you don’t care for how I asked.
  5. Because anything.

I know, because I’ve worked on helping people raise money online for years now. Every cause is different. Every goal is different. Every ask either works or it doesn’t, but it rarely is as easy as just putting the request out there and seeing how many people will will respond or take action.

The Psychology of Influence

I’m not rewriting Cialdini’s book here, and I’m not even looking to mirror any of his findings. In fact, there are plenty of great books on influence that bear reading. In fact, if you’re in marketing and sales and you’re not reading more books on psychology and fewer books on “social media,” then I’m not sure what you’re hoping to accomplish. But that said, let’s talk it over.

Influence is a really tricky term. Because there are all kinds of permutations:

John Jantsch influences me by how he conducts himself. I admire him a lot. S. Anthony Iannarino is my go-to person for helping me understand sales. Derek Halpern gave me a recommendation that changed how I manage my newsletter list. But if Anthony tells me which kinds of socks to buy, I won’t listen. If Derek tells me I should try the beef brisket, I’m not in. If John tells me to please support his fund to help Dalmatians get stripes instead of spots, I’m not interested.

So are they influencers or not?

Klout (I’ll wash my mouth out later) tells me that I’m influential.

Chris Brogan

It says I’m influential in a variety of things, not the least of which is “philosophy.” (?) I guess I can say that’s true, because what I spout (and what we all spout) is a philosophy of sorts, but I don’t know. And do I really have a lot of influence over social media? I have a loud voice. Is that the same thing? I have a lot of people who have opted to receive my message. Is that the same? I don’t rightly know.


It also says that I’m only 2 points away from being as influential as Tony Robbins:


In which universe is that true? Twitter, maybe? That’s about it. One of us throws events on his own island. One of us lives in a condo and does his own laundry.

How I Wish Influence Worked

I know that we’re always busy. I’m busy. I get lots of requests just like you do. What I wish was this: I wish there was some kind of “gate” or “catcher” that sorted out requests for our influence, an RFI if you would, and that let us pick and choose to deliver value where we could.

I believe this:

  • You and I both want to be more influential on matters that matter to us, like this.
  • You and I don’t like hearing about matters that we don’t care about.
  • We’d be so much more powerful and effective if we could have a better system to parse and understand what was being asked of us, and especially if we could take very minimal effort to support the requests.

Not because we’re lazy, but because we’re all busy.

That’s my take.

What about you?

Oh, and if you can spare $10 or $20, please make these very special kids have a night to remember. Okay?

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