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How to influence on the internet? What are you talking about and what does this have to do with NLP?
As most of you know I went to Vidcon a few weeks ago in Los Angeles. For those of you who don’t know about Vidcon it’s a digital video conference. Think Comicon for digital video and not just Youtubers like me, any digital video.
Vidcon brings out all of the stars of Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, etc. The industry calls them “Influencers”; people who attract thousands if not millions of subscribers and followers on the internet. Companies wanting to sell their products are in on the action and will pay these influencers to advertise on their channels.
I went to Vidcon to learn insider tips on how to promote the NLP Gym Youtube channel as well as a new channel I’m planning to start.
While there I started noticing famous Youtubers who my kids love like Zach King and Dan TDM. Wanting to score major Dad points I would approach them and ask them if I could video them on my phone giving a shout out to my kids.
It worked! My kids thought I was “lit” (hipster jargon meaning pretty awesome). Excited about this my daughter requested that I find Logan Paul and get a shout out from him. I had never heard of him, but knowing this would mean the world to my daughter I was determined to hunt down Logan Paul and get a video with him.
This was before I realized how famous Logan Paul is. His channel is the fastest growing channel on Youtube clocking over 7 million subscribers since he started his vlog channel about 9 months ago.
When Logan showed up to Vidcon I realized I wasn’t going to get anywhere near him. He was mobbed by so many people that it created pandemonium at the conference.
Sorry sweetie, Daddy couldn’t fulfill your request.
You may be wondering what this has to do with NLP?
How people are influenced to change, alter behavior, or take action is something NLP has been modeling since it’s inception.
But it’s the internet, right? It’s not real.
The internet is the most massive form of communication in the world right now and everyone is influenced by it even if you don’t go on the internet ever, which couldn’t be true of you since you’re reading this right now. Even people who don’t go on the internet are influenced by the internet because they still live in a world being influenced by the internet.
If someone can invite you to take an action, something as simple as watch this channel or click ‘Like’ and subscribe, and you do it, that’s influence and that’s very real.
Did you notice the embedded commands? I couldn’t have made it any more obvious.
Being a student of influence because much of NLP is the study of persuasion and influence, I wanted to know how this guy could do this, especially since he has 1,000Xs the subscribers I do! So I started watching his videos to find out.
If you would like to start a Youtube channel or you already have one, these tips should help you grow your following. What I’m sharing here though is basic principles of influence that can be used in any context, not just the internet.
Let’s unpack the influence of Youtube sensation Logan Paul.
First and foremost it’s important to acknowledge that though Paul’s vlog channel is only 9 months old he’s been making videos for several years now and already had a following by the time he got to Youtube. He started on a platform called Vine, which is now defunct. There he got to test what works on video and what doesn’t and he was able to hone his craft and his comedic skills. It can’t be overlooked that he is a talented comedian and actor and it’s something he has worked at for years.
However, comedic skills alone won’t make you a Youtube sensation.
Paul has created a multidimensional character. While he looks like the jock from high school he’s also a clown and he’s sensitive. The more dimension a character has the more curious an audience will be about that character.
Paul is tall and athletic and very handsome and while this won’t make you a Youtube success alone he uses it to his advantage by purposefully being silly and not taking himself too serious. This adds dimension. If he acted arrogant and entitled, it would be a huge turnoff. His silliness makes him seem approachable and makes his audience connect with him.
Examples of ways in which he pulls this off is he often taunts his roommate Evan who is a dwarf and Evan will hit the 6’2, 200 pound Logan Paul in the face and Logan just takes it. Imagine the opposite effect if Logan hit a dwarf. He will also ask women in his videos to marry him and they always turn him down, which makes his male viewers identify with him and his female viewers want him even more.
His videos often start with him waking up and regardless of what time of day the video was actually shot his videos often have a morning feel to them. Why is this important? Because he’s waking up and he doesn’t go to work or school and spends a portion of many of his videos still in his pajamas. It gives the viewer a Saturday morning feel. For his younger viewers, like my daughter, this works on an unconscious level because Saturday morning means no school and fun and as long as it’s morning you have the rest of the day ahead of you.
Another important dimension of his character is he’s not afraid to show emotions and will often present a range of emotions in each of his videos creating an emotional impact on his audience that draws them in more and creates a connection, perhaps even a bond with his audience.
He takes this further by meeting with his fans in nearly every video and giving away “merch” (jargon alert, merchandise) or showing the camera what some of his fans have sent him like paintings of him or paintings of his bird Maverick. This cultivates a strong connection with his viewers and gives the feeling to viewers who will never meet him that they someday might.
Logan has even given his followers a name. He calls them The Lo Gang, which gives them an identity and something they can feel like they’re a part of.
It’s interesting to watch the evolution of Logan Paul’s vlogs. He has obviously grown as a Youtube artist in the 9 months that he’s been vlogging and this is likely the result of paying attention to feedback from his audience.
His first vlog I found unwatchable and didn’t make it to the end. Why? The vlog is him going to Burning Man with a few of his friends. His friends in the video look a lot like he does; young, tall, athletic, and handsome and white. The result is Logan doesn’t stand out from the group and it just looks like a few frat boys in a RV, which is not interesting probably not even to frat boys.
Jump forward a few months and the landscape is the same but the people in his videos have changed somewhat. Now he has a roommate who is a dwarf, a striking contrast to Logan’s bigger than average size and there are now more women in his videos. He also has a bird named Maverick and a Pomeranian puppy. If you weren’t aware, animals on Youtube boost viewership. Both the new characters in his videos and the animals act as foils that help Logan stand out even more.
Though it may seem like his vlogs are spontaneous happenings in the life of a very interesting, energetic, fun person, they’re actually well scripted and implement three act story structure found in Hollywood films.
One video in particular starts out with an inciting incident. A box arrives. Logan doesn’t give up what’s in the box right away. He builds suspense by telling you how excited he is that the box arrived. When he finally opens it he reveals that he is colorblind. By the way, just like puppies, kittens, gamers, and pranks are major themes on Youtube so is unboxing. This guy uses every tactic in the book.
Revealing he is colorblind makes him seem vulnerable an it also makes us as viewers invest more in the story.
At this point he takes a moment to ask the viewers to ‘Like’ the video and sets a goal of 100,000 likes and tells them how much it would mean to him if he got 100,000 likes because they get to have this experience of curing his colorblindness with him.
He builds more suspense and emotion by refusing to put the glasses on just yet to see if they work and instead runs around to tell his friends about how excited he is. Excitement is the first major emotion he uses in this video until his friends put doubt in his mind about whether or not the glasses will actually work.
The audience goes from being excited for Logan to worried he’s going to be let down, which creates more emotional investment.
One of his friends runs him through a colorblind test, which Logan preframes saying this test has traumatized him since he was a kid and we see him get frustrated; more emotion. We’re just a few minutes in and already we’ve gone from excitement to suspense to more excitement to doubt and then frustration.
Next he’s moved to tears when he finally tries the glasses on and sees distinctions in colors he’s never seen before. The viewer also gets to see “What Logan sees” supposedly because the cameraman alters the saturation of the colors in the camera and then the change in his sight when he puts the glasses on. This is a brilliant way to get the audience to identify deeply with Paul as they get to see the world through his eyes and then experience his transformation from colorblind to normal sight.
The video ends on a an emotional high point when Logan goes up to Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles to watch his first, non-colorblind sunset. He’s so emotional he can hardly speak but still manages to tell you to ‘Like’ the video and subscribe to his channel.
Logan Paul is a brilliant influencer and has mastered the craft of influencing people through digital media. Everything he does is transferrable to real life situations especially building emotional impact, creating suspense, and creating dimension in the way you project your personality.
I realize this is a long post and this is a huge topic so for now this will just have to be a conversation starter. There’s so much more to say.
In the meantime, it would mean so much to me if you would subscribe to my Youtube channel and like my videos. My goal is 7,000,000 subscribers. I only have about 6,993,000 more subscribers to go.
I have to stop writing now. I’m getting very emotional and can’t continue.