How to Win Friends and Influence People on the Internet

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Krista Nereh

One of the most common questions that I am asked about social media marketing is, “How do I get people to like/follow/fan/friend me?” My answer is, “The same way that you would in the real world. Be nice and interesting.”

Yet many businesses still struggle with how to get people to like them online. Sure, there are strategies, tips, and tactics that I could share that drive “likes,” but really, it comes down to making people like you in the real world.
In the real world, the question of how to make people like you was answered many years ago by Dale Carnegie (I was once a Dale Carnegie coach in my early 20s), whose book sold over 15 million copies. The principles for making people like you in the real world are the same as online.

6 Ways to Make People Like You as It Applies to Online

1. Become genuinely interested in other people. One of the best ways to get people interested in you is to be interested in them. Broadcasting one-way messages on social media, or hoping that people will be interested in your promotional updates doesn’t work well. Take a real and authentic interest in your audience. Show that you are interested in them and what they think about your product, your company, or the category that you are in. Have conversations with your audience and actually talk to them. Be real and genuine about it.

2. Smile. It is hard to smile online. 😉 And yes, that smiley-face icon is way overused (in my opinion ;-). In social media, you can create a friendly smiling persona by being nice to people. Be positive and upbeat, and take a moment or two out of each day to do something nice.

3. Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Online, we sometimes get so caught up in mass communications that we forget the power of individually asking people for their support with something.

Nobody wants to be addressed as just another person on your list – they want personal attention. Take the time to be personal with your customers (especially those who are your biggest advocates and fans). Remember that they want to be treated like an individual, not one of many of your customers.

4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. I recently watched a movie where the main character was somewhat of a pick-up artist. One of the keys to picking up hot girls was to get them talking about themselves. We sometimes get so caught up in what we are posting on social media sites that we forget to encourage others to talk about themselves, on their terms.

5. Take time to really listen to people and develop actual relationships. Get them talking and facilitate or participate in the conversation.

Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. This is vital to any kind of marketing. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests – not your own. Take some time and put yourself in their shoes – what are they actually interested in talking about? It might not be the same agenda as what yours is, but when you talk in terms of their interests they like you more.

6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely. This is a big miss by many companies. When you look at people and their deeper needs, wants, and desires, one thing that most people want is to feel important.

How do you make your customers feel important? Can you promote them online? Can you make them the hero? Rather than focusing on how they can make you feel bigger and better, ask yourself how you can help them.


Krista Neher
Boot Camp Digital

Krista Neher is the author of the bestselling Social Media Field Guide, an international speaker, and currently CEO of Boot Camp Digital, which is a leading provider of social media marketing training and consulting solutions. Krista is a social media pioneer, creating one of the first successful corporate Twitter strategies and corporate blogs – long before “social media” was even a recognized term. After spending nearly six years at Procter and Gamble working on some of the biggest and most successful product launches, Krista went on to become the vice president of marketing at an Internet start-up.

Krista started Boot Camp Digital in 2008 and has created training programs for hundreds of advertising agencies, marketing departments and small and medium business owners in social media marketing. Krista also works with a variety of educational institutions on their social media programs and is currently working on a textbook on social media marketing.

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