Win Friends and Influence People – Online

Regardless of the technology that people invent to improve lives, make it easier to communicate & share or simply make a buck, the old tips from Dale Carnegie still ring true. Maybe even more so, now, because we have much more contact with exponentially more people via the social web.  As a business owner and  brand ambassador, this is especially true. How often do you actively implement these strategies? More important, if they were so important to implement with a limited sphere of influence, then why not utilize them in a social media message to gain positive affect for yourself, your brand, and your business?

There were four main points to Carnegie’s book, and they can be used, today, with technology. It may be just the thing you need to encourage dialog and enhance your brand image.

The Fundamental Techniques of Handling People

When designing your campaign, these techniques are essential to creating an atmosphere of partnership with your customers. On Twitter, there are so many opportunities to use the three techniques of handling people, because of the real-time interaction. Ideas are often exchanged through blog links, quotes and banter. Remember, people took time to create their content so it is important to stay as positive as possible. Criticism and complaints will only alienate the larger community. Plus, you can show your appreciation by re-tweeting, replying, using follow mentions and praising someone on the digital stage. Facebook affords the opportunity to put together more cogent thought out responses and can be used to directly “arouse an eager want” in people, as Carnegie suggests.

Six Ways to Make People Like You

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people. – This is an easy one, because responding and complimenting are really powerful online. Offer some advice, if you have an expertise; answer questions on LinkedIn; send links to relevant content; and directly engage those that engage you. This does take time but it is worth it if you want to build brand advocates and Hand-Raisers with your efforts.
  2. Smile – :-)
  3. Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language. – Even writing a name can move mountains. Imagine someone reading a message from your business with their name it it. Powerful
  4. Be a good listener; encourage other people to talk about themselves. – There is nothing people love more than talking about themselves. People love to talk about what they have going on. Encourage people to tell their story about using your product or service and talk about it on a networking site. The feelings about your brand will grow in positivity with the press of the “Submit” button.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. – The power of a Tweet that says, “We’re pleased to announce new services, view here (insert site link).” Or, “We heard you on the wait time issues in the stores, so we r starting online ordering (insert link here.)”
  6. Make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely. – I can’t really improve upon this idea. It is simple and true. One way to make sure you do this, is to assign someone to read and respond to as many messages, requesting or necessitating response, as possible. Nothing will make people feel less important than lack of response.

Win people to your way of thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. – This is not always possible, but desired. There is usually no benefit by engaging in an argument – especially online, where it is available for public consumption.
  2. Show respect for other peoples opinions. Never say, ‘you’re wrong.’ – This is pretty obvious, but I’m amazed at the number of businesses I see directly challenging their customers and prospects’ opinions online. The key here, is most ideas are objective and the people don’t like to be called out for anyone with a laptop and some time to see.
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and empathetically. – I bet Toyota wishes they had taken this advice a few years ago, before they had to recently go all mea culpa in the media. This is where social media can really help you, because word travels fast with technically savvy types. Everyone seems to be connected, and a simple message brings people closer to  you and shows that you want to get ahead of any wrong-doings.
  4. Begin in a friendly way. – You’re not a comic, so don’t try to piss the crowd off and bring them back. Most of us don’t have those kind of skills. So, the most intelligent thing to do is start positive. This is very true online, as you may find a few blogs or posts dedicated to your destruction, should you intentionally (or not) annoy the wrong person with your attitude.
  5. Get the other person saying “yes” “yes” immediately. – The wonderful thing about the social web, is you can find like thinking individuals and groups with simple searches. This is akin to finding your target market and brand advocates in traditional marketing. Consistently dialog with the people you can get “yes” out of, so that can be broadcast throughout the networks. As we say in sales, “once you have them saying yes it is hard for them to say no when you ask for the business.”
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking. – This is especially true on the social interwebs. As a consumer, I believe my network more than I believe the brand, no matter how positive an affect I have for them. Therefore, allow others to speak highly of you, by doing positive, creating good content, and operating with integrity.
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers. – Just like my tweet example, it is not necessary for your business to act and/or feel like they have to come up with every idea. Customers use your product and pay for them. I imagine their ideas for improvements, promotions, and customer service are probably good. Let everyone know that their voices were heard!
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view. – Nothing will move you up the scale to brand resonance like showing that you understand where people are coming from. Opinions are vast and many in social media – remember tip one, “don’t condemn or complain.”
  9. Be sympathetic with other person’s ideas and desires. – This one is hard, because sympathy may not always translate to acquiescence to wishes and wants.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives. – There tends to be some immaturity and idiocy, online, at times. Engage those that are genuinely making an effort, rather than looking for separation and distance. Integrity from both parties is key here.
  11. Dramatize your ideas. – Video! Need I say more? Make some cheap videos to play on your blog or upload to YouTube. Show your personality and be dramatic with your brand. If you love your brand, you can be effusive.
  12. Throw down a challenge. – I’m not sure, but I could swear these last two were written, in 1936, with social media in mind. People will take quizzes, play games, do video challenges etc. if you make it fun and relevant.  Competition breeds friendship. It’s true! Just ask Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. (Just saw the HBO special).

Be a leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation. – One simple strategy with three tactics can change the behavior of your customers. Seek out, recognize and reward those that are promoting your online content.
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly. – This is why Direct Messages, Notes and Email were developed! But seriously, I like to look at things in the positive. So, instead of saying something was wrong one can highlight what is or could be right about the situation.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person. – Who doesn’t love the self-deprecating person of power?  Remember…TOYOTA!!!
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. – I mean, I don’t need to say anything here. What do you think?
  5. Let the other person save face. – Once again, why Direct Messages, and Emails were invented. Seriously, though, there is little worse than publicly embarrassing anyone, but definitely not someone who spends money with you!
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and every improvement. – “Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.” I’m all about this – just make sure the praise goes around. Don’t get into the habit of cliques in your social space. It will serve to alienate the people who are left out.
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. – This certainly goes with the last one. This is the one I call the live show effect. Ever hear a band or singer praise the audience for being the livest most fun audience of their whole tour? I hope not to bust any bubbles, but its rare when this is true but it does inspire the patrons to hold up lighters, throw bras on stage, and generally “turn the motha’ out.”
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct. – Rarely will this tactic need to be employed in social unless being used introspectively. One might assume that this can serve to help customers and prospects see your brand as a pragmatic problem solver.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. – When I was in the car sales business, I would never have a problem out of the customers that I allowed to sell themselves. If I got impatient and rushed someone into something – even if it was what they wanted – I almost always had problems. It has to seem as if your goals are aligned with theirs; call it persuasion or motivation, but it is made easy if all of the above is done also.

Do you use any strategies I didn’t mention to win friends and influence people online? Do you disagree with my assessments? I’m interested in what the network thinks are some of the essential behaviors to building a positive and influential online brand presence.

About Therran Oliphant

Therran Oliphant is a strong advocate for developing the academic and practical field of Integrated Marketing Communications. Holding an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) from Eastern Michigan University, Therran has been a staunch advocate for developing the theoretical, practical and applicable concepts of the field, especially as it comes to digital advertising and media. His main passion is helping marketers more accurately interface with the technology community and ask the right questions to help them accomplish the objectives their brand customers have set. A career in data and advertising technology has allowed him to have a unique perspective on the science of utilizing the right methodologies to systematically ask the right questions that lead to delivering the outcomes necessary for success.