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

Listen to the internet radio show on this subject workingthewebtowin on Blog Talk Ra

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.”

Related articles

The Ever-Changing Faces of Facebook

Listen to internet radio with workingthewebtowin on Blog Talk Radio

Evolution of the number of Facebook users. Dat...
Evolution of the number of Facebook users.
Data comes from Facebook's press room:
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Hector Cisneros

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.

When Will Computers Out Think You?

Listen to internet radio with workingthewebtowin on Blog Talk Radio

By Carl Weiss

Photo Credit:
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

Listen to internet radio with workingthewebtowin on Blog Talk Radio

By Carl Weiss

Cleaning Supplies for Spring Cleaning
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!

News Headline: “A new strain of bird flu was recently detected in China that has killed four of the sixteen people it infected.”  As a precaution, hundreds of thousands of chickens have been slaughtered in China to prevent the spread of the virus. The US Center for Disease Control has been put on high alert.

However, when it comes to cyber threats, governments are sometimes slow to act. This is one area where bureaucratic red tape stops anything from being done.  The fact is, “you” have to take responsibility for the safety of your identity and information. You are the only person who can keep your internet devices from being infected.  

The Search Results that showed every page had ...
The Search Results that showed every page had malware (Photo credit: mary hodder)
How, by spending the time needed to scan, clean and maintain your devices and by not engaging in risky online behavior. The problem of malware, viruses, Trojans and hackers infecting our systems is not going away, it’s getting worse. In fact, the number of computer viruses worldwide has been growing at an almost exponential rate.

“Did you know that in 2008, it was estimated the number of known computer viruses stood at in excess of 1 million, an increase of 468 per cent on the previous year? Figures suggest at least five malware samples emerge on the Internet every two minutes and 15 to 20 new Trojans are released every half hour.”

The figures as of 2013 are as high as 17 million according to antivirus maker Symantec.  Far from being a high priority on the minds of government officials, in many cases the laws that do exist actually work to prevent government cooperation.  Even within our own borders, the authorities have yet to create effective legislation that offers any hope of curtailing the proliferation of malware.  Prosecutions against malware developers are rare.  In the meantime, cyber criminals from hacker collectives to foreign governments are busy 24/7 cranking out ever more insidious ways of infecting your computer.

Here Are Just a Few Headlines

June 12, 2012 ZDNet: On Sunday Microsoft reported that “…some components of the malware have been signed by certificates that allow software to appear as if it was produced by Microsoft.
Homeland Security Advisory System scale.
Homeland Security Advisory System scale. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dec. 26, 2012: New viruses that are disguised to look like a government program have been spreading around the world. The new type of virus generally blocks users from accessing their desktop, documents, and programs until the user pays a ransom (generally a hundred dollars or more) to the cyber criminals who created the virus.

Jan. 13, 2013: The US Department of Homeland Security is advising people to temporarily disable Java software on their computer to avoid potential hacking attacks.

Once inside your computer, hackers can do everything from directing you to clone sites designed to get you to reveal your passwords, to activating your computer’s camera in order to spy on you, to holding your system hostage, or even hijacking your machine in order to infect yet more systems.  The good news is that with the right combination of software and a little online discipline, preventing all but the most concerted of hacking efforts is relatively simple to accomplish.  The bad news is that once infected, your system and your life may never be the same.

Ammunition to Keep Yourself Safe

English: Full logo with tagline and ...
English: Full logo with tagline and trademark notice. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The best way to keep from being victimized is to run at least two layers of antivirus and anti-malware/anti-spyware software on all your systems. We also recommend using site advisory such as Web of Trust to clue you into suspicious websites.  All yourInternet devices need to be protected. This includes all your PCs and laptops, tablets and smartphones. 

While most people have at least an antivirus program working on their PCs and laptops, it isn’t at all unusual for them to have no protection on tablets and especially smartphones. Cyber-criminals are well aware of this vulnerability, so you need to plug this hole in your defenses right away if you hope to avoid being hacked.  (You also need to update most anti-malware packages and scan your system weekly to keep up to date.)

There are many types of malware that can infect your computer, but the types that can steal your data are simply called "information stealers." They are made up of things like keyloggers, screen recorders and memory scrapers. They perform a variety of tasks, from recording what keys you press to taking screenshots of your desktop at random intervals. This information is then sent to the malware's designer, showing them whatever you typed or viewed on your computer. Using this method, a hacker can steal any data from computer passwords to credit card numbers.

A pop-up notification stating malware was found.
A pop-up notification stating malware was found. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
However, even the best firewall and antivirus programs cannot offer you complete protection if you insist on clicking on links leading to suspicious websites or opening email attachments without first scanning them for malware. No amount of malware protection can protect someone who is engaging in risky behavior. What is risky behavior you ask? Clicking on teaser ads, free offer, or links promising unrealistic free gifts is risky. Visiting unscrupulous website offering porn, free music, videos or other prizes. If you want a real eye-opener, read the FBI’s article called “Internet Social Networking Risk”! Better yet, heed their warnings.

Another defense layer you can add is using website rating plugin’s to your browser. Browser plugin’s like Web of Trust uses a stoplight rating system where suspicious sites are flagged with a red light and trusted sites are given the green.  If you click on a site flagged with a red light, that’s like leaving your car in the parking lot of a shopping mall with the ignition running and a “Steal Me” sign on the windshield.  Site advisory systems will only warn and not prevent you from accessing potentially harmful websites.

There’s a Trojan (App) for That

Malware logo Crystal 128.
Malware logo Crystal 128. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So called “Free App" usage has exploded since the birth of smartphones and tablets.  Needless to say, this has also resulted in an explosion of infected smart devices.  Understand from the outset that there is no such thing as a free app, just as there is no such thing as a free lunch.  In the best case, by downloading a free app onto your system, you will also load adware, (maybe even spyware). You are also providing the developer with contact information that can be sold to the highest bidder.  In the worst-case scenario, you will download a virus, worm or Trojan horse that is designed to provide the cyber criminal with access to your system, giving them the means to control your device and compromise your identity and financial information.

"The humorous IT security expert, who sports numerous tattoos and has a penchant for heavy metal music, can hack into your mobile phone with a single SMS.  He can then remotely listen to your calls, read text messages and even access the password to your online bank account.
“'It’s creepy, isn’t it?' said Ferguson, who is global vice-president for security research for IT firm Trend Micro, as he demonstrated the hack. Yet, many users still refused to believe how vulnerable they are when they use mobile devices, he added.
In order to prevent picking up these unwanted hitchhikers, only download apps and software from trusted vendors.  You also need to research app review sites such as C|,, and in order to find out if an app is reputable. Always look for apps that have thousands of subscribers. Stay away from new apps; they just could be a wolf in sheep's clothing. Purchase and use antimalware software for your mobile phone and tablet.  Many mobile security suites will scan your apps as they are downloaded, preventing viruses and other forms of malware from attaching themselves to your devices easily.

Ignoring Your Computer's Symptoms Won’t Make the Problem Go Away

Influenza A virus
Influenza A virus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The problem with most people is that they don’t take any corrective action until their system is thoroughly infected.  Many people ignore obvious warning signs that their system has been compromised. By the time they take their device to an IT professional, the damage can be so great that in some cases the infected hard drive needs to be completely wiped in order to correct the situation. Slowing performance, dropped calls, pop up ads, data plan spikes and higher than expected phone bills are just a few of the tell tale signs that your device is infected with malware.  

Of course, the cost of remedial action is nothing compared to the loss of privacy, financial information or even identity loss that can occur if a device is infected. Just as with human viruses no one cure exist. While it may is impossible to absolutely, eliminate all malware threats, you can prevent most of them. With proactive preventative maintenance and some common sense online discipline, you can prevent all your internet devices from catching next wave of cyber malware.  

If you like this article, you can find more by typing “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.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

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
Enhanced by Zemanta