How to Win Friends and Influence People in the 21st Century - Take Two

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By Hector E. Cisneros

Photo Credit:
The last 50 years have seen sweeping changes in our society. We have gone from people having a face-to-face relationship to a society that prefers social networking. We have cyberfriends we have never met in person. Younger people today would rather text you than actually speak to you n real-time..  Facebook is now running commercials showing that people would rather be on their Facebook phones, reading their news feed, than interacting with their families at the dinner table. The fact is, we live in a cyber-enabled world. So, if you want to build strong relationships and get ahead, you need to learn how to make friends and influence people in the 21st century.

How to Win Friends and Infkuence People in the...
How to Win Friends and Infkuence People in the Digital Age (Photo credit: ShashiBellamkonda)
A couple of years ago I wrote an article called “How to win Friends and Influence People in the 21st Century." In that article I emphasized the law of reciprocity. The law that states what goes around comes around.  That means if you help others, they will in turn help you back. I clearly stated in that article that this was my magic formula for growing my business, my reputation and for building trust amongst my customers. I also stated that I was providing others with testimonial letters, as well as referrals and recommendations long before the advent of social networks. Word of mouth marketing is built on your reputation. It depends on building trust and credibility. More importantly, it relies on the cultivation of trusted referral partners and loyal customers to sing your praises and to spread your message to others.

Electronic Word of Mouth

Word of Mouth
Word of Mouth (Photo credit: Intersection Consulting)
Social networking is an electronic form of word of mouth marketing. It allows your referral partners and happy customers to sing your praises to a world audience, an audience that can spread that positive (or negative) message quickly and to a very large number of people, far beyond your customer base.
In my previous article I also mentioned that my social networks have built-in functions to pass along recommendations and testimonials. LinkedIn, Ecademy and FourSquare were the examples I gave. Since that writing LinkedIn has added an additional endorsement function where you can just click on a person’s skill to recommend them. However, I still prefer that you write a genuine testimonial letter and upload it.  This will carry more weight than just clicking on someone's skill set as an endorsement. 

More Equals More

As a general rule, the more work you do to help someone, the greater the value and weight your efforts carry, (i.e., the better the referral, testimonial or recommendation).  Don’t limit your recommendations to just one social network. Post your recommendations on as many networks as possible. I often post my recommendations on the top five social networks. This includes Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn. But don’t stop there.  Posting to other networks like Merchant Circle, AngliesList, Google Local and YollowBook also helps. I also like making recommendations on blogs and websites, if it has the facility to allow you to rate them there.

YouTube, the King of Testimonials

YouTube video Brandweer Nederweert
YouTube video Brandweer Nederweert (Photo credit: mauritsonline)
A quick note about YouTube; many people don’t think of YouTube as a social network, however it has all the features of a true social network. You subscribe to it. You can follow other accounts, build a following, make and receive recommendations and leave comments on a person’s posts. More importantly you can create a video testimonial for the person you’re trying to help. In today’s world, nothing is better than a video testimonial from a happy customer. Commercials are full of actors faking their endorsement.  But a customer’s eyes rarely lie. Today, videos are the king of testimonials. More people would rather watch a short video that read anything. This is especially true of your testimonials. Unscripted, spoken from the heart words of praise are priceless marketing weapons without equal. Do everything in your power to help your customers provide this valuable service for you and your company. This can include providing incentive for the completion of a recommendation etc.… However, the law of reciprocity only works if the testimonial that is given is genuine. You must earn their recommendation by providing them with good service or a valued product.

Pictures, Videos are Worth a Whole lot More!

English: Think you already knew the old saying...
English: Think you already knew the old saying: "A picture is worth a thousand words?" Think again. Let's ask Andy and see what he says... What's your explanation? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Many social networks allow you to upload pictures and or videos. Note that written testimonials, referrals and recommendations can be saved as PDF and JPG files, essentially turning them into pictures and downloadable documents. This is another way you can upload testimonials to social networks like Twitter, Google + and Facebook. Don’t forget to upload your video testimonial to these channels also. This includes other rating sites like Google Maps and Google local. As a matter of fact many “Local Directories” provide a place for you to upload pictures and videos. Use these to your advantage.  I would be willing to bet if you do, you will be one of the few that use this strategy and it will give you a big advantage.

What Smart Companies Do

Smart companies today are using social networks as a new kind of help desk and or customer service venue. They can watch for customer posted complaints, then connect with these disgruntled customers, and head off problems before they become big PR issues.

Get Your Tools Ready

Hootsuite's bar
Hootsuite's bar (Photo credit: ksablan)
Today there are also lots of tools that make it easier to post your recommendations and testimonials. These tools provide leverage so that you can post to multiple networks simultaneously. You can even schedule post asking people to read your testimonials’ and recommendations. There is no rule that says you can’t post this type of request more than once. Just don’t do it too often or you risk alienating your following. My favorite tool is Hootsuite and it is free at

Take a Double  Check

Check Chk
Check Chk (Photo credit: Matt Carman)
Make sure that you don’t spoil your efforts by providing poorly written testimonials or recommendations. Your spelling and grammar must be perfect.  Double check the spelling of the company or the business name. Nothing can spoil a great testimonial, referral or review like spelling and grammar errors, (especially if you get the name wrong)! 

What to Avoid

So far I have told you a lot of things you should do, but I haven’t spent much time telling you what you need to avoid. Make sure you maintain a positive attitude. Being positive draws people to you. This is transferred into your writing and show up in your post. Avoid negative expressions and conversations. They do not help you in your quest to grow your business. Also avoid cursing, crass and salacious language. This kind of language never makes you look professional.  Don’t get into arguments with people on social networks. These networks are public and you don’t want to air squabbles and dirty laundry in public.
Avoid Area, Central London, 25 October 2009
Avoid Area, Central London, 25 October 2009 (Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

Other things I would avoid is trying to use tricks or techniques like mirroring and matching or NLP.  These can be useful when face to face but they really lose something when translated into writing. Plus if a person figures you are trying to manipulate them your relationship is all but lost. It's important to be yourself. Especially your better self. Leave your ego at the door when trying to help others. 

The Experiment

I have spent the last 20 years of my business life following the Law of Reciprocity and it has served me well. I have received dozens of recommendations and have a clean online reputation. I work hard at keeping my reputation clean, not by tricks or by trying to burying bad news by launching a massive PR campaign that pushes that news off page one.  Instead what I concentrate on  is helping others first, then making things right if I make a mistake. I do this because I believe it’s the right thing to do. 

I will write a positive testimonial for your p...
I will write a positive testimonial for your product or service for $5 (Photo credit: birgerking)
If you don’t believe me, try this experiment. Pick a number of referral partners, (I chose 30 when I did this experiment) and write testimonials for them. Post them to the top five social networks, (or whichever ones you’re on) and then let them know that you provided this service for them. Ask them if they could reciprocate by doing the same for you. You will find that your reciprocity rate will be between 30 and 50% most of the time. If you do this experiment three or four times you will have helped a lot of people and in turn helped yourself by gathering a handsome number of recommendations to boot. Keep in mind that this will only work if you have built trust and credibility with others. If they don’t know, like and trust you, asking them for a recommendation is not going fly either.

The Last Word

Famous last words...
Famous last words... (Photo credit: deadmind)
A few last words to remember. Today, your reputation (individual and business) extends far beyond the boundaries of your business. Anyone can research your reputation and they believe what they read and view. Social media has become the great equalizer. It some cases, it has also become the spoiler. This is especially true if a competitor is trying to soil your reputation. The viral power of social networks allows a reputation to be passed around the world quickly (good or bad). It behoves you to make disgruntled customers satisfied. Making things right is the best way to turn a bad situation into a positive recommendation.

In this article I have covered the law of reciprocity and how it allows you to win friends and influence people in the 21st century. I have discussed how you can use this principle on a variety of social media including the top five social networks and others like Angieslist, Merchant Circle and Google Local. I have included suggestions on how to leverage your time and given insight to using YouTube as a social network and testimonial tool. If you have enjoyed this article pass it on to your friends. If you have other ideas, thoughts or comments on this subject share them with our readers in the comment section. 

Email Marketing You Can Trust

Hector Cisneros is COO and director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web To Win" on, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

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More than a billion subscribers use Facebook. It is the most widely used social network in the world. Facebook tells us that they are working hard to improve the user experience. They also say that they are working to provide a business friendly advertising medium. Facebook founder makes new promises every year about upgrades and added features. In fact, they add new features so often that it makes me wonder why they feel they need this constant tweaking. They are currently twice as big as their nearest competitor.

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As I sit here thinking about artificial intelligence, I am reminded of all the amazing motion pictures that predict the evolution of computer to thinking and self replication machines. Some of my favorites are "Terminator," "iRobot," "War Games," and "Battle Star Galactica." In all of these movies, the computers become more powerful than the people who created them. Some have happy endings, other not so much.

Spring Cleaning Means Taking Out the Cyber Trash

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Cleaning Supplies for Spring Cleaning (Photo credit: Chiot's Run)
It's spring time and that means time for Spring cleaning. I don’t mean wiping down your desk or even your computer screen. I’m talking about getting rid of undesirable followers in your social media, cleaning up your website, blog and Social profiles so they are current, accurate and devoid of sensitive personal information. I’m talking about taking the time to scan all your internet-enabled devices for malware, viruses, trojans and the like. Yes, it’s Spring-cleaning time and you had better get to it!

Browser Wars – Then and Now

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By Carl Weiss

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Are browser wars real? Are the Internet giants really fighting for the hearts, minds and eyeballs of computer users worldwide? Does it matter which browser I use? Aren’t they all the same? Who cares which browser is used the most? The real answer to this and other important internet questions are raised and explained in this telling tale of Browser Wars, the ongoing saga of the fight between Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Google's Chrome, Mozilla's Firefox, Apple’s Safari and Opera.

The Past Tells a Tale

Usage share of web browsers according to StatC...
Usage share of web browsers according to StatCounter, Chrome was 23.16% in August 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Those of us who can remember back to the start of the Internet will recall the initial clash of titans as Netscape, one of the web’s first commercially viable web browsers, duked it out with Microsoft, (see our previous article from Sepember 13th, 2012). Even though Microsoft was a Johnny-come-lately in the browser game, IE eventually chipped away at Netscape’s dominance, largely due to its virtual monopoly in the PC operating system market.  It also helped that Microsoft gave away IE with virtually every copy of Windows 95 that it sold, whereas Netscape charged for its browser.  This resulted in AOL, who had acquired Netscape in 1998, filing a lawsuit against Microsoft.  While the suit was settled in AOL’s favor in 2004 for $750 million, it was a case of Netscape winning the battle and losing the war, since by then IE was the clear market leader. By 2007, IE owned 77% of the browser market, compared to Firefox with16% and Netscape six tenths of one percent.

The Emergence of a New Giant

google chrome
google chrome (Photo credit: toprankonlinemarketing)
However, this overwhelming victory did not lead to a cessation of hostilities.  In the intervening five years, this technological cold war became hot again as a new player entered the fray. While Microsoft rested on its laurels, with a full five years passing between the release of IE 6 and 7, Google Chrome made its presence known in a big way.  Released in December of 2008, Chrome amassed 37% of the worldwide browser market by 2013.  It did this in part due to the fact that it is fast, secure and stable.  It also introduced a lot of features, such as form auto fill, full screen mode and drag and drop tabs.  More importantly Chrome has also been designed to sync between PC’s, smartphones and tablets.

Windows 8 and What it Means

Windows 8 on the big screen!
Windows 8 on the big screen! (Photo credit: bobfamiliar)
Of course, that didn’t mean that Microsoft was going to take the emergence of a dynamic competitor like Microsoft lying down.  In fact, it was the allure of the emerging mobile computing market that made Microsoft take a leap of faith with the development of Windows 8.  A radical departure from its long line of operating systems, Windows 8 has been seen as so radical a departure from anything that has come before.  In fact, it is so different that technology review remarked that,

“Windows 8 is a computer science masterpiece trapped inside a user interface kerfuffle. Microsoft’s new operating system for phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and servers brims with innovative technologies, bold ideas, and visual elegance. The system’s radical new interface, called Modern, is a pleasure to use on phones and tablets. And although that interface fares poorly on today’s larger desktop computer screens, Windows 8 probably won’t damage the company’s standing in corporate America. It might even shore up its eroding presence on residential desktops and laptops by offering a user experience that’s new, fun, and different from anything offered by Apple and Google.”

Legal Battles are Won and Lost

EU vs. Microsoft Monopoly
EU vs. Microsoft Monopoly (Photo credit: sepponet)
Of course, not everyone sees Windows 8 in a positive light, including the EU, which recently fined Microsoft $733 million for denying users in the EU its choice of web browsers.  An article in points out:
“Microsoft used to give its users the opportunity to choose the web browser, when they installed Windows 7 operating system, in line with an agreement reached with the European Union in 2011. According to European Commission, however, between May 2011 and July 2012, over 15 million EU customers were not given that opportunity, owing to what Microsoft classified as a ‘technical glitch’ made by its software engineering team.

Glitch or not, Microsoft’s actions and the resulting fine harken back to the original browser war with Netscape.  This comes as little surprise to those in the know, since according to statistics from StatCounter, Internet Explorer is still dominant in North America with 39% of the browser market.  However, Google Chrome is the big dog in exotic locales such as Europe, South America and Asia.  And Mozilla’s Firefox is still a contender, with 16% of the US market, 28% of the European market and 18% of markets in Asia, South America and Africa.

Microsoft is also not averse to firing a few shots across the bows of competitors, as Google found out it was pulled into a patent lawsuit that could lead to a ban of Google maps in Germany.

According to Florian Muller of FOSS Patents, Microsoft’s EP0845124 patent in Europe is for a “computer system for identifying local resources and method therefor” and was issued in 1996. The issue was discussed in a regional court in Munich today and as Mueller notes, it doesn’t look like Google was able to convince the judge “that the patent is highly probable to be invalidated at the end of a parallel nullity proceeding.”

Should Microsoft win the injunction, Google would be forced to shut down its mapping service in Germany on both PC and mobile networks.  It could also be ordered to stop selling Chrome in Germany unless it blocks German users from accessing Google Maps.

Speaking  of Outcomes, What about FireFox and Safari?

Browsers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Firefox is now in its 19.02 release and is going stronger than ever. Like Chrome, it is a leading edge product with lots of innovations. It is also considered one of the most stable platforms in the browser wars. It has an extremely loyal following and has held the number one spot in the browser wars in the US for a few of the months in 2012. As a matter of fact it all depends on who's statistic you read sometimes. I personally like Firefox a lot and use it everyday along with Chrome.

Apple’s Safari usage growth is not going up. Although Safari has been available for most computer platforms, its adoption rate is dismal. Having said that, it performs is good and its stability is excellent. You would expect no less from an apple product. Anyone who creates web pages need to have a copy of Safari on their system. This lets them see how their web page design looks on apple computers, tablets and other Apple smart devices.

What is Opera?

The fifth browser is Opera. It has such a small share of the overall browser market, which for some barely worth mentioning. However, a diverse market is a healthy market. As a browser, Opera is full featured and has good performance. In essence, it does most things very well. I always like having at least the top five browsers on my system just in case my primary browsers get infected with malware or they stop working due to a bad update. Having said that I don’t see hoards of people running out to load Opera on their systems anytime soon.

browsers (Photo credit: kjhosein)
We use five browsers to test web pages at Working the Web to Win and Safari in one of those top five. As website designers and publishers we have to test web pages for compatibility. The fact is, no two browsers display a web page exactly the same. At Working the Web to Win, we want all the pages that we build to look great, so sometimes we have to compromise how a web page displays in one browser, in favor of how it looks in another. Why would you favor one browser over another? We program pages to meet the compatibility features of browsers that have the most users. For us that means, IE, Chrome, FireFox, and Safari. We also check Opera to at least see how it looks.

While the outcome of the latest iteration of the browser wars is anything but certain, the battle for the hearts and minds of the web surfing public is so lucrative that this clash of the titans could result in total domination by one of the combatants.  Or, it could leave the door open to yet up-start, who realizes that this is the perfect time to stage coup because the other browser superpowers are too engaged, in a take-no-prisoners brand of warfare to be paying attention.

In this article, I covered the ongoing saga of the browsers wars past and present. I have laid out the current conflict as it stands today and have discussed the current positions of the dominant players, their new weapons and their never ending legal issues. The reader can see where the current battles are headed.  If you liked this article please share it with your friends and co-workers and leave us a note. If you have a different idea or comment leave that, too. 

If you like this article, you can find more by typing in ”Internet security" in the search box at the top left of this blog. If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the Comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," fill out the form below.

Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win," every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on

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