The Dale Carnegie human relations principles are more relevant today than ever before. In a digitally connected world, effective communication skills are literally the difference between success and failure with social media.
I run a digital marketing agency, and the nine principles below are at the core of everything we do. The principles are also interwoven in every chapter of my new book, Social Media Overload.
If you use these principles as you engage and connect with your digital audience, you’ll see better results and a higher return on your efforts. Enjoy.
1) Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
Instead of talking about your company, talk about your community.
Engagement is the key to success with social media. A Facebook page that acts as a platform for a business to talk about themselves will not draw the attention of people.
In the world of the Internet, you listen by asking questions. When you ask questions, you tend to garner more engagement because people love to be heard. And when people engage with your page, your brand spreads organically. Engagement is often a critical measuring stick on how a company’s social media campaign is going. If you’re struggling with getting more engagement, become more proactive by asking questions or encouraging comments.
2) Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
A question I’m often asked is, “What should I post to my social media profiles?”
My answer: Whatever your audience deems valuable.
Value can be in the form of an intriguing article, a thought-provoking question, an inspiring quote, a humorous video, or something else. The more interested they are, the more likely they are to engage in the conversation. Before every post you make on social media, ask yourself if you believe your audience will care. If there’s doubt, consider other options.
How do you smile on the computer? Yes, you can use the smile emoticon, but that’s just scratching the surface. What Mr. Carnegie meant is that a smile helps warm people up to you. And when writing content on the Internet, a smile can simply take the form of positivity or encouragement.
On social media, this can come in the form of a LinkedIn endorsement, a like on Facebook, or a Re-Tweet (restating something someone else says) on Twitter. There’s all kinds of ways to smile on social media and, the more you do, the more people will want to interact with you and spread your message.
4) Arouse in the other person an eager want.
A mistake many businesses make is selling on their social media sites instead of sending people to their sweet spot. Recently, I did a consultation with a residential roofing company. Toward the end of the meeting, they were still confused on exactly where they sold more roofs. I asked them to take me out on the roof of their building. Once out there, I told them this is the place where you sell more roofs. Same place you always did. You use Social Media to direct more people to the roof, but the place you make the sale remains the same.
An IT consultant’s sweet spot is probably the prospect’s office. So they may build credibility and stay top of mind on social media, but the sale will still happen offline. An exception might be an e-commerce site. In that case, your sweet spot might be your website. It’s extremely important to recognize where your sweet spot is and encourage your social media connections to get there.
Drive them to your sweet spot and you’ll start to see better results! I have an entire section of Social Media Overload dedicated toward understanding where your sweet spot is and how to encourage people to get there.
5) Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
If you’ve used Twitter, you’ve most likely seen the letters “RT” in many different tweets (Twitter posts). This stands for “re-tweet” and means that you are restating what someone else originally said. The proper way to do this is to add the person’s Twitter handle (or name) to that message. Adding their name gives them the recognition for originally writing what you considered to be a valuable tweet. When you do this, it makes that person feel important and they, in turn, are likely to return the favor and re-tweet one of your future messages.
Using a person’s name goes way beyond just Twitter. If you’re requesting a LinkedIn recommendation, I would recommend removing the generic message LinkedIn automatically posts for you. Instead, use the person’s name and tell them why you felt it was important to get a recommendation from them. You’ll be much more likely to get a positive response.
On Facebook, you can tag people in posts. This will hyperlink their name (make it clickable) and give them the recognition you feel they deserve.
All of the above strategies reflect the importance of using a person’s name when appropriate. A person’s name sounds just us sweet online as it does in the offline world.
6) The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
I’m often asked about responding to negative reviews on the web. If there’s an opportunity to fix the situation, I’m all for a diplomatic response. However, if someone is looking to argue with you, I agree with Mr. Carnegie and his advice to ignore. More times than not, a response from you leads to multiple responses from them and it becomes a stream of negativity instead of just one comment. If you need to address the person, the best way to do so might be to try and take it offline. But be very weary of being defensive with someone looking to pick an online fight with you. This is exactly what they want and may lead to a bigger challenge than it was worth.
By defending yourself, all you will do is fuel the fire and, unfortunately, give more recognition to the critic as well as the content they have written. Do your best to rectify the situation or the next best thing is to simply ignore the negative and work on getting your champion customers to come to your defense by writing a positive review.
7) Throw down a challenge.
Having a blog that nobody reads is no fun. Having a Facebook page for your business with no connections is both lonely and downright depressing. So we need to be proactive in getting people to connect with our social media profiles. Mr. Carnegie was right again as the best way to get people excited about connecting with you is to throw down a challenge. An example of this is a recent contest we did with local Dale Carnegie Franchises.
Each Franchise donated $100 and the first Franchise to 1000 Facebook connections got to donate the total amount collected to a local charity. The Franchises were able to promote this contest to their customers and they were all anxious to help out for a good and local cause. The result of this challenge was every Franchise who participated saw an increase in support to their Facebook page.
8) Give honest, sincere appreciation.
Studies show that roughly 80% of companies check LinkedIn before hiring an employee and many of those same companies also review other businesses before purchasing a product or service.
A nice feature that LinkedIn offers is the ability to post recommendations from other people on your profile. This allows others to sell your value instead of having to sell yourself which can appear more like bragging. One way to increase the number of recommendations you have is to go out and give recommendations to others.
When you do this, the person receiving the recommendation is asked by LinkedIn to approve or reject your recommendation and, more importantly, if they would like to return the favor by giving you a recommendation as well. By following Mr. Carnegie’s advice, you can give others sincere appreciation for something they’ve done for you while also building your recommendations at the same time. A win-win!
9) Become genuinely interested in other people.
Circle it, star it, then underline it! If you follow just one of these principles when using social media, this is the one. Truly become interested in those you are connected with on the web, and positive things will begin to happen for you and your business.
Help people. Just concentrate on bring value to your audience and I believe you’ll be more than satisfied in what you get in return. This was a core belief for Mr. Carnegie and one of the critical lessons I learned from his training.
About the Author:
Corey Perlman is an entrepreneur, best selling author and nationally-recognized social media expert. His newest book, Social Media Overload: Simple Social Media for Overwhelmed and Time Deprived Businesses, is available on Amazon.com. If you buy it today, you can go to www.socialmediaoverload.com/book-bonuses for free resources from Corey’s favorite digital marketing experts ($2,500 Value).
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