"How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie has sold 15 million copies worldwide since its publication in 1936. Despite the fact that it's been in print for over 70 years, many of Carnegie's recommendations remain entirely relevant today. In a post for Business 2 Community, Matthew Kobach selects 15 of Dale Carnegie's principles and applies them towards a social media strategy. Be sure to check out Kobach's full list after reading the following excerpt.
Through the teachings of Dale Carnegie, I will explain how businesses can harness the power of social media to improve their social media marketing strategy. Each tip is directly borrowed from his book, followed by a summary of his advice, then applied to social media marketing.
Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain
Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually leads to that person justifying his/her actions. It damages a person’s pride, hurts his/her sense of importance, and provokes resentment. Instead of condemning people, try to determine why they are how they are.
This goes hand in hand with the basic social media principal of avoiding negativity (i.e., criticize, condemn, or complain). The moment you’re negative is the moment you start to lose followers. Never use social media to hurt the pride of your customers or clients.
“I will speak ill of no man… and speak all the good I know of everybody.”
Give honest and sincere appreciation
The deepest craving in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. The most effective way to develop the best that is in a person is through appreciation and encouragement. Beware however, as there is a significant difference between sincere appreciation and empty flattery. Let others know you appreciate them by being specific with your appreciation.
Social media is a great place to give honest and sincere appreciation to your fans and followers. Let them know that you appreciate them, and more importantly, be specific with your praise. For example, “It is because of the support of fans like you that I am able to do something that I am so passionate about.”
“Once I did bad and that I heard ever. Twice I did good, but that I heard never.”
Become genuinely interested in other people
You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years trying to get people interested in you. We like people that admire us. Greet people with animation and enthusiasm. Say ‘hello’ to people in a way that shows you are pleased to talk with them, and ‘goodbye’ in a way that shows they will be missed.
Take interest in your followers and they will take interest in you. Create content that celebrates your fans, and reply to comments that show you are excited to talk to them. Use twitter to find people having conversations about your business’s area of interest, and join their conversation.
“We are interested in others when they are interested in us.”
Be a good listener, encouraging others to talk about themselves
If you want to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that people will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.
It used to be that you could ask just about any question on social media and get a response. That is no longer the case. Instead, you must ask interesting questions. It takes creativity to come up with the perfect question, so do not rush it. Once you get them talking, keep them going by engaging them about their interests.
“We have two ears and one mouth for a reason, use them accordingly.”
Talk in terms of the other person’s interests
The royal road to a person’s heart is to talk about things he or she treasures most. Try and focus on what that person is interested in and talk about it. Franklin Roosevelt, before having a visitor in his office, used to study topics he knew his guest would be interested in discussing before they came over.
This means that you must find out what your fans are interested in and discuss it. Now, you can’t post content that is irrelevant to your brand, but you can certainly get involved in conversations that aren’t necessarily “on topic”. Using your social media to talk about the interest of your fans will keep them engaged, in turn creating passion for your brand.
“People can talk effortlessly, and for hours, about a topic they are passionate about.”
The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it
Avoid arguments like you would rattlesnakes or tornados. Most of the time, they’ll just make someone feel embarrassed, uncomfortable, or hurt their pride, making them feel inferior to you.
This means that if someone mentions your competition, it is okay to compliment it. For example, a pizza place doesn’t have to condemn every other pizza place in their area. In fact, your credibility will increase if you sincerely praise your competitors. The goal shouldn’t be to have potential clients only eat your pizza instead (likely impossible), but to eat your pizza as well.
“When you win an argument, the other person loses, often hurting their pride. Why would you want to make those around you unhappy?”
If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
Stay humble by pointing out things about yourself you know the other person wants to say or intends to say. This increases the chances that they will then forgive you and minimize your mistakes. It takes the guilt and defensiveness out of the air, but also helps solve the problem created by the error.
People make mistakes. Businesses make mistakes. The worst thing you can do is avoid owning up to your mistakes. So when your business inevitably makes a mistake, address it, fix it, and move forward. Ignoring the mistake only makes it worse.
“There is a certain degree of satisfaction that can be found in admitting your error.”
Let the other person feel that an idea is his or hers
Most people prefer to feel that they are acting on their own ideas or buying on their own accord, not told or sold something. Let the person feel an idea is his or hers. Ask for their ideas or advice about something
A great way to do this in social media is to ask for fan feedback. Perhaps you are designing branded t-shirts, and have a handful of new designs. You already know that you are making 4 different styles, but inform your fans that you are in the designing phase, and want to know which designs they are most likely to buy. When you release them, you will already have a committed audience.
“People are 100% likely to agree with an idea that they think is their own.”