Persuasion: to move by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a belief, position, or course of action.
People around the globe are searching for new ways to persuade people to buy or interact with their products, services, or candidate. For them to be successful, media practitioners must understand how persuasion works. The elaboration likelihood model seeks to “explain how attitudes are shaped, formed, and reinforced by persuasive arguments”. When we are given information, some sort of elaboration happens.
“Elaboration” refers to how much cognitive work is involved in processing the information (Rosenberry & Vicker, 2017).
The message will take one of two processing routes: the central route or the peripheral route. In the central route, the message will encounter scrutiny of the quality and strength of the argument. In the peripheral route, the receiver is worried about factors other than the content of the message. This route is more superficial and relies on how visually appealing the message is.
Think of a time when you were scrolling on Instagram or Facebook and came across one of your most trusted influencers advertising a new product. Maybe you ended up buying the product even though you didn’t need it. This is an example of a message going the peripheral route. If you had seen the same product advertised by someone you didn’t trust, the message might’ve gone through the central route, causing you to judge the message more than before.
To use the ELM successfully, media practitioners need to focus not only on the quality of the message but also on the design and delivery. Chang, Yu, and Lu (2015) evaluated Facebook posts and used the ELM model to determine what might be important for social media marketing. It turns out that social media users are influenced by both the central and peripheral routes when deciding to “like” a post. Useful posts address the user’s personal needs and have clear content, but images and engagement are also extremely important.
As long as a message is clear, visually appealing, and delivered well, media practitioners can persuade anyone.