First published in 1936, How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie, a prolific American writer and lecturer, is one of the first best-selling self-help books. Although the principles are over 70 years old, many of his ideas in still applicable today.
Communication is key when building relationships with people. No one wants to be friends with someone who only talks about themselves and never listens to others. All relationships are two-way streets, and it is imperative to listen as much as (if not more than) you talk.
In social media marketing, building relationships is of paramount importance. When launching a viral marketing campaign, you’ll want to leverage the friendships you’ve forged in your social media circles – StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, Gooruze, Sphinn, etc. – to help promote your content.
There are four core ideas in the book to help communicate with others more effectively, and these four principles can be applied to your social media relationships:
- Three Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
- Six Ways to Make People Like You
- Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
- Nine Ways to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
Three Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
Whether you’re creating new relationships or building on existing ones, it is important to handle your friendships well:
- Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
- Give honest and sincere appreciation.
- Arouse in the other person an eager want.
Six Ways to Make People Like You
Much of this applies to getting friends in the “real world,” but if you apply the general concepts to online relationships, you can use the following to get your new contacts to like you:
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Smile. (In the web environment, this translates to just being friendly in general.)
- Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
- Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
The best way to be successful in social media is to participate. Read other people’s writings, watch their videos and comment. Let them know what you think and be sincere.
- The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
- Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
- If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
- Begin in a friendly way.
- Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
- Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
- Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
- Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
- Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
- Appeal to the nobler motives.
- Dramatize your ideas.
- Throw down a challenge.
Nine Ways to Change People
If for whatever reason things come off wrong, it will be necessary to heal your relationships. Here are nine ways you can influence others to change without offending them or causing them to resent you.
- Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
- Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
- Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
- Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
- Let the other person save face.
- Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
- Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
- Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
- Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
By being an effective communicator, you will in turn win more friends and be able to influence them. Eventually, when you go to launch your SMM campaign, you’ll have a following of people who like and trust you and can do much to help your cause.
You have to do a lot of work to build up your profiles on these sites, but once you get friends and gain their trust, you can influence them to do a lot of the work for you in making your piece a success.