The Influence Framework: The development of a strategic, value-creating tool for influence on social media

Anne Sofie Donskov Sørensen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation was to create a new strategic framework for the field of influence, an area that is concerned the persuasion of the individual into adopting certain beliefs, feelings or behaviours. The framework was developed based on a thorough literature review of existing theories within several academic research fields, from Herbert C. Kelman’s early studies on the processes of attitude change to Robert B. Cialdini’s development of the six persuasive forces several decades later. The literature review led to the presentation of The Influence Framework (TIF), a framework that introduced six main concepts that alone or in conjunction can be used to spur a change in attitude or actions. These concepts are authority, sympathy, social proof, reciprocation, status quo bias, and improvement, and the change is rooted in perception, interaction, and motivation respectively. After the development of the framework, its effect was tested through social media, more specifically by analysing the Facebook pages of six case companies from different industries. Netnographies were conducted to identify the strategy and use of influence on the Facebook pages, while social text analyses were conducted with the Social Data Analytics Tool (SODATO) to determine the sentiment. Generally, there was a correlation between the case companies’ use of dynamics similar to the influence concepts, and a positive sentiment on their Facebook pages. One case company was the exemption, but a topic analysis clearly attributed the negative sentiment to other factors than the company’s strategic use of influence. Furthermore, the practical value of TIF was explored by applying the framework to the social media presence of a Danish consultancy. The result was a significant increase in both following and engagement over a six-month period. These findings led to the indication that TIF has a value both as a strategic and analytical tool for businesses to influence their stakeholders.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2015
Number of pages92