Like has a bit of a double-meaning these days. Ever since Facebook implemented the "like" button everyone has kicked into high gear to get you to like them.
However, you can agree with a specific thing someone says and like it, while totally disagreeing with their world view. Same thing could happen with a business project vs. the business itself.
Although likability can be borrowed, it is transferred only based on a more permanent philosophical alignment or agreement.
You move in when you can live with that individual. You're eager to show that business association, when it makes you look good on more than one level. Liking, it turns out, is not uni-dimensional.
Is it easy to engineer?How to win friends and influence people
With respects paid to Dale Carnegie and his work, it's fairly easy to become an influencer. Here are the steps; put some enthusiasm in them, and you're on your way. Now you can get the word out on your blog, be friendly on Facebook, while displaying the most appreciative character on Twitter.
You might even get a few hundred folks to click on your stuff, comment, interact with the agreeable, likable you.
Is this a reflection of true influence?Look at the evidence
People are doing all kinds of things online. They check out events, catch up with friends, buy stuff they searched for and compared, and encounter serendipitous situations -- like for example, coming across people with similar or complementary interests.
They're online, yet they're still people. To understand the role of influence, you need to take a deep dive on purpose and motivation.
How many followers did Mother Theresa have?Influence is with the influenced
Motivation is a start. There's also another mechanism at play here -- because we're social by nature, and cannot possibly know it all, though a few of us do try, we rely on clues from others when making decisions. Say your business is working with an influencial who tells people to buy a certain product, and their friends are telling them to buy another, the friends win.
Mark Earls has done a lot of thinking and writing around understanding the propensity of people to be influenced and what those relationships look like. If you have not read his book, Herd: How to Change Mass Behavior by Harnessing our True Nature (Amazon affiliate link), you should pick up a copy today.
Does likability impact trust?
We're not going to solve the influence question with a post.
In thinking about the increased desire of businesses and individuals to want influence -- which by the way is not measured merely in the number of followers -- I wondered what happens when likability comes into play. Social networks are exposing the private nature of our offline connections and interests.
And by doing that, they're encouraging a more general approach to information in people -- the broader the content in applicability, the greater the network of friends. I do wonder if with that, there is a forced sense of likability -- people who are genuinely not really interested in what you say or who you are, who for lack of a better word, suck up to you in public so you buy their wares, so to speak.
Does liking someone make a difference in purchase decision? When I asked: would you try a product on the recommendation of someone you don't like? on Twitter, something interesting happened.
The first few responses, probably reactions to the question, were in favor of "no" -- dislike overpowers authority. Then, after a couple of minutes, the answers changed to more rational responses -- if the recommendation was fact-based and sounded credible, one can dislike someone, yet still value their opinions in areas where they agree, if it's evident the product is working for such a person, wouldn't let the dislike be a show-stopper.
Would you try a product on the recommendation of someone you don't like?