Dennis Yu is the CTO of BlitzMetrics, a digital marketing company that collaborates with schools as they train young adults on all things digital marketing. This is something Dennis knows a little about, considering that he’s written a book on the subject, “Facebook Nation.”
He’s also an internationally recognized Facebook marketing lecturer. He has spoken in 17 countries, including keynote speeches at L2E, Gulltaggen, and the Marketo Summit.
Dennis has been featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and LA Times, among others.
In the podcast, Dennis provides some tips for scaling your business in a way that doesn’t sound too needy or artificial.
What Are Dennis’ Three Pillars of Authority?
Before you can start driving sales, you need to establish authority. This can be “actual authority” – such as having a lower price or an exclusive feature – or it can be “perceived authority,” which must be earned.
In other words, the consumers must be convinced of your value, as opposed to having the value right in front of them.
Dennis’ three pillars of authority are “who is saying it,” “where is it being said,” and “what is being said.” An example of using these principles in a counterproductive way would be telling a potential customer how much money you’ve spent and how you’re the best who’s ever lived.
This kind of proposition is more likely to push away consumers than pull them in.
Instead, you should utilize perceived authority by propositioning yourself in more subtle ways. This could include having a visible picture of your co-founder with Mark Zuckerberg, which would be a sneaky way of communicating importance.
How is Perceived Authority Like Word of Mouth?
Dennis compares perceived authority to word-of-mouth, which is quite often the most influential determination for consumers. Instead of forming their opinion on what sporadic information they gather from friends and family, you’re the one who supplies the breadcrumbs of information.
For instance, if you saw a commercial advertising of Kia saying they have the “best cars on the market” and they’re super high-budget, it would probably wash over you as just being another commercial – the kind we have the technology to fast-forward through.
However, if your friend bought a Kia and filled your ear with nothing but great things, that’s going to mean more than the fancy commercial.
As Dennis says, this is the same reason that people will so often turn to Yelp when visiting a town and why Amazon is so popular. It’s all about the reviews and the wealth of easily available information.
With perceived authority, you’re able to tap into this same consumer pheromone and apply it to yourself. Instead of mentioning how good you are at social media ads for sports teams, show a picture of your team with the Golden State Warriors.
In fact, Dennis refers to this effect as the lighthouse. It’s when you’re lifting up yourself by lifting up someone else, as if you’re feeding off another’s status. Instead of talking about how great you are, you present yourself as great by association.
How Can Beginners Best Utilize Perceived Authority?
For those who don’t have the ability to display a picture of themselves with Mark Zuckerberg, there’s good news. According to Dennis, all you need to have is customers, an iPhone, and a dollar a day.
For the first part, it’s important to remember that in the rush to get new customers, you might forget you have existing customers. You should use these customers to interview, preferably in a casual manner, so you don’t get stock answers.
Once you have this interview, you can record it with your iPhone and share it with your customers. It’s a way of taking a testimonial and packaging it in an organic way, as opposed to the phony testimonials you might see with a celebrity endorsement.
Another benefit of the customer interview is that you can cover a range of topics. If the entire interview is the customer talking about a single aspect of your business, that might sound fake, but if they veer into multiple topics, it sounds more genuine and spontaneous.
Are There Any Real Life Examples of Perceived Authority?
When Dennis was out at lunch with his friend, a social lead generator at Infusionsoft, they were talking about what to expect from Facebook in 2019. During this high-minded discussion, the two were stuffing their faces with fried chicken and covered in crumbs.
Dennis uses this real-world scenario to exhibit the effect that presentation and environment can have on the delivery of information. With crumbs all over his face, you’re probably going to assume that Dennis’ opinions on Facebook’s future are legitimate.
However, if you put those same opinions in a suit and against a professional backdrop with expensive lighting, your BS detector is going to go off.
As simple as it might seem, understanding this dichotomy is essential for any modern digital marketer.
Where Can You Learn More About Dennis Yu and Perceived Authority?
You can also contact Dennis through his email, Dennis@blitzmetrics.com. Even though he gets about a thousand emails a day, he says he gets to each one, eventually.
Dennis also has his own website, where you can find his blog, which has a lot of useful information for up-and-coming digital marketers.