How to Win Friends and Influence People (On Social Media)

How to Win Friends and Influence People (On Social Media)

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Almost 80 years after its first run, the tenets from Dale Carnegie hold true. (With a few notable differences.)

From the greatest businesspeople in the world (Warren Buffett still has his certificate from Carnegie’s course) to the not-so-impressive (Charles Manson reportedly used these techniques to influence his followers) people have found value in Carnegie’s lessons in How to Win Friends and Influence People. Today, on social media, a lot of this still applies. But some adaptation is needed for the modern era of communication.

How to Win Friends and Influence People (On Social Media)

How to Handle Your Fans and Followers

In order to properly handle members of your community, it is important that you not criticize, condemn or complain about them. You should also regularly show your appreciation for those members. That is especially true on social media.

Letting your fans and followers know that you appreciate their involvement in your community goes a very long way. One brand in particular that does this well is Cadbury. Here is one of the gestures they made to show their appreciation:

Making People ‘Like’ You

Now, the term ‘Like’ means something somewhat different on a social network like Facebook than what Carnegie had in mind, but the concept still holds up.

Of the six core traits that will lead to people liking you, there are a few that are particularly important on social media. First, developing a genuine interest in your fans and listening to what they have to say will improve the personal connection they have to your brand. What’s more, sending personalized messages using users’ names will be an important component of your communications strategy on social as well.

The idea of making people feel important when you talk to them is paramount when it comes to improving the customer experience. I don’t want to feel like ‘just another customer’ when I reach out to a brand. Even if that might be the case, I, the customer, should feel like the only person that matters when engaged with a brand online.

Winning People with the Way You Think (Your Brand’s Message)

“The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.” Truer words have seldom been spoken.

As a brand, the moment your start to argue with a customer on social media, you’re wrong. It doesn’t matter how right you are, you’re wrong. It is important to know when you’ve been beaten, and when to walk away. Getting into a debate is not worth the harm it will almost certainly cause.

Often times, when a customer is upset, they simply want to be acknowledged and heard. Social media can be that platform. Simply letting a customer voice their displeasure and responding in a respectful way can be a major factor in turning them into a brand advocate, rather than a detractor.

Turning a complaint into a constructive conversation about how your products or services can be improved is beneficial for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that your business can improve its operations as a result.


If you haven’t read through Carnegie’s book, and you or your brand spend time talking to people (which you almost certainly do) it is worth a read. While there is some content that is dated, there is clearly a lot of information that can help you better communicate with your community on social media (and other forms of communication).

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