Maybe Facebook got it right.

Social media ‘likes,’ it turns out, are a pretty good predictor of who gets hired, who gets help at work, who’s trusted.  According to University of Massachusetts’ researchers, no matter how strong the business case, if auditors presented well-organized arguments, managers complied.  On networks like LinkedIn, recruiters seek individuals who seem to have a high level of trust – and authenticity.

What does this have to do with us communicators and designers and marketers?  Likeability boils down to a few personal attributes that, not surprisingly, are common to compelling communications:  Empathy, warmth, eye contact, and confidence.   Let’s see how they’re translated:

  • Empathy.  Think listening.  Does your brand or your company have an ear to the ground – and actively project what others are asking and needing?
  • Warmth.  It’s all about fake – and its opposite, credibility.  Genuine care and concern are easy to spot; the opposite, just as simple to pinpoint.  Take a good look at how you’re saying and doing; it might be a true indicator of external perception.
  • Eye contact.  Personal appeals work, if they’re sincere.  So even if your medium is print, it’s not hard to infuse the pictures with a sense of individuality and ‘I’m talking straight to you.’
  • Confidence.  Selling in an idea or initiative relies on the power of your belief, the faith you show in presentations and conversations and other media.  Infuse it with curiosity and a true concern about your audience – and bingo!  A sale.

Experts say likability can be taught, unlike charisma.  How do you (and your communications) measure up?