The Grinch Goes Digital

(We'll cover 12 ways online scammers can steal from you this Christmas.)

By Carl Weiss
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TIS the season… to be scammed by online scammers who are out to steal your holiday cheer.  Every year as online commerce grows, so do online scams.  Today’s cybercriminals are going to try to entice you into giving them your hard earned cash through a number of ever more imaginative scams.  In today’s blog, I will endeavor to give you a leg up on the top 12 ways to avoid getting Grinched this holiday season.

Has the Internet Made Us Smarter?

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By Carl Weiss

For all intents and purposes the Internet has been in existence for 20 years. During that time, the entire world has literally been at our fingertips online.  But has the advent of the World Wide Web made people smarter, or has it truly made us dumber as we become more reliant on having access to all kinds of information at the click of a mouse?  In today’s blog, I will look at how the Internet has affected us as a species, as well as examining whether it appears to be helping or hurting our intellectual evolution.  I will also delve into the rise of web-enabled “smart devices” that will soon be taking control of everything from our appliances to driving our cars. 

Caution: Slippery Road Ahead

As I entered the office building where I work, I spied a young woman who works in the office across the hall coming down the stairs.  Wearing high heels with her head canted forward, she was looking at her smartphone and texting as she descended the staircase. 

“You’d better be careful before you wind up taking a tumble,” I told her as she made her way through the lobby.

“Not to worry,” she responded without looking up from her phone.  “I do this all the time.”

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“I know,” I shot back.  “That’s what I’m worried about.” As she headed toward the exit, I looked back to see if she ran into the door, as well as wondering whether I was the only one who seemed to realize that the world is becoming an increasingly impersonal place?

Maybe it’s a generational issue, but I remember a time when people weren’t so absorbed in technology that it became a hazard to their health.  I also remember when people took the time to meet and talk without having to bring their technological ball and chain with them. 

Think about it, the same technology that puts the world at our fingertips has actually caused our species to become more and more isolated.  Between texting, social networking, chat rooms, home delivery apps and virtual worlds such as Second Life, it is now possible to avoid interpersonal contact altogether.  (Any parent of a teenager will agree with this conundrum.)  What’s even worse is that technology has insinuated itself into practically every corner of modern society.  If you don’t believe me, go to a restaurant or coffee shop and see how many people are either texting or surfing the web while they eat, even if they have a dining companion sitting across from them.  Most people refer to this as multitasking.  I call it rude.

Besides, research has proven that multitasking isn’t helping us as a species.  It’s hurting us.  Everyone from Stanford Professor Dr. Clifford Nass to Michael Gazziniga, Director of the Sage Center for the Study of the Mind, agrees that multitasking negatively affects everything from attention span and writing quality, to task completion and brain function.

Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers—those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance—were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another. Ouch.”

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What’s even more alarming is that the study found evidence that persistently heavy multitasking was shown to actually lower IQ scores by up to 15 points. 

(Score Internet 1, Evolution 0)

Far from pushing a “down with technology” agenda, when the Stanford research was performed, it was assumed that there must be some advantage to multitasking.  So they set out to find it. 

"We kept looking for what they're better at, and we didn't find it," said Ophir, the study's lead author and a researcher in Stanford's Communication Between Humans and Interactive Media Lab.

In the tests, the researchers created two groups of students, those who heavily engaged in media multitasking and those who didn’t.  Each group was then given a series of exercises to test everything from pattern recognition and organizational skills to their ability to filter out irrelevant information.  To their surprise, the research indicated that the more heavily students engaged in multitasking, the worse they did at these tasks.  Puzzled at why the multitaskers did so poorly, the researchers thought that maybe they excelled at switching from one task to another.  So they tested this hypothesis only to conclude that once again, the light multitaskers outperformed the heavy multitaskers.

"They couldn't help thinking about the task they weren't doing," Ophir said. "The high multitaskers are always drawing from all the information in front of them. They can't keep things separate in their minds."

So profound were the discoveries made in this study that it led the researchers to wonder if it was the Internet that had somehow interfered with the cognitive function of the brains of students who were heavily into multitasking, or if they were in fact born with an inability to concentrate.  Either way, the heavy multitaskers, by exhibiting an inability to filter out irrelevant information were clearly at a disadvantage.  Even more alarming, some of the heavy multitaskers also exhibited the same physiological symptoms as drug addicts.  In other words, the more they multitasked, the more electronic stimuli they craved.

Can You Say Crackberry?

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Digital addiction is nothing new.  Ever since video games were introduced back in the 1970’s a percentage of the population has espoused a propensity to playing until they dropped.  Back then to feed this Jones meant lining up with quarters at the local arcade or locking yourself in your bedroom to play game consoles until your parents dragged you downstairs for dinner.  But with the advent of the smartphone, the ability to feed your need at any time and place means that a much higher percentage of the population is psychologically addicted to tech in one form or another.  This is creating a problem for many.

Benjamin Wong, a counsellor at Richmond Addiction Services, said he works with individuals between the ages of 12 to 25 and their families to support them in dealing with digital addictions — when they just can't separate themselves from a screen, be it a smartphone, computer or gaming device.”

Just like drug addicts, the effort to break a digital addiction takes a lot of time (as much as a year).  It also isn’t relegated merely to Millennials.  Even Baby Boomers can get hooked on tech.  And the tawdry road that leads to digital addiction is a more slippery slope than that experienced by devotees of illicit pharmaceuticals.  As opposed to back alley deals, digital addiction can be as simple as accessing your favorite social media site.

In a 2014 CBS News report entitled, How Real a Risk is Social Media Digital Addiction,” social media marketer Jason Thibeault reported that he quit Facebook cold turkey when he realized that it was becoming an addiction.

"Just imagine that Facebook is like a digital water cooler. I was drinking A TON of water every hour," he wrote. "Although I'm not a neuroscientist, I'd venture to say that what was happening was related to my Dopamine levels--when I was checking status updates on Facebook, my brain was rewarding itself with Dopamine; when I wasn't, and Dopamine levels dropped as a result, I started 'jonesing for a fix.'"

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Jonesing for a Facebook Fix?  You heard that right.  You and the 700,000 other people that read Jason’s essay.  Is it any wonder that professionals, including the National Institutes of Health are becoming increasingly concerned over the deleterious effects of digital addiction.  While Information Addiction Disorder (IAD) is still not listed as an official psychiatric disorder, its counterpart, Internet Gaming Addiction was added in 2013, (better late than never).

(Score: Internet 2 Evolution: 0)

As our wired world continues its march toward technological domination, far from being an isolated incident, IAD will continue to spread as the Internet becomes available to more and more of the world’s population. (Google is building blimps that are intended to bring the Internet to isolated parts of the world.) To make matters worse, a new age of internet-enabled appliances, clothing and devices such as cars are going to inevitably make inroads into a number of areas that were once thought exclusively the domain of human beings. 

While I could wax apocalyptic about how smart houses, clothes, cars and appliances are going to lead to the disintegration of what’s left of society, I think I’ll let IDG Enterprise CEO Mike Friedenberg chime in with his post on

“I look back at the time my parents taught me how to parallel park, and it's a very fond memory. Now all you need to do is push a button and your car will parallel park itself. Makes me wonder what our lives will become. Is the future really about pushing a lot of buttons to get things done?
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Attending the Consumer Electronics Show this year, you would have thought it was the Year of Smart: smart homes, smart cars, smart fridges, smart forks and spoons, smart watches, smart TVs, and even smart toilets. All of these devices have the ultimate goal of tracking, storing, analyzing, optimizing and educating us humans on how we can be better, healthier, fitter or smarter. It was all a bit overwhelming. If only everything that happens in Vegas really did stay there. ”
(Score: Internet 3 Evolution: 0)

My partner Hector told me about the new Terminator movie where it depicted a possible scenario of our not too distant future. In this future, everyone was wanting and waiting for a single operating system called Genesis. This new OS would run every machine and appliance that we use. The reason people wanted this change was so that it would make it easier for us to learn and use these devices. However the new OS in the movie was actually the artificial intelligence called Sky Net - poised to take over the world and kill off most of the human race. This is not too different from the doomsday proclamations as those issued by the likes of Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking concerning the emergence of artificial intelligence. 

There is no doubt that the Internet has allow us access to vast amounts of information and given us a huge knowledge base to draw from. With this the huge amount of knowledge also come a vast amount of responsibility. As to whether the Internet is going to wind up making us smarter or dumber, all I can say is this - that if society takes just a few more steps toward technology, it’s probably going to be game, set, match as far as human evolution is concerned.


In this article I have discussed how the improper use of the internet has created a large segment of tech addicted humans worldwide. I provide real studies that show how multitasking people preform much worse than those who don’t multitask and how people actually show withdrawal symptoms when access to their social networks are not available.

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If you found this article useful please share it with your friends, family and co-workers. If you would like to learn more about this subject, visit the notes page on this blog for the BlogTalkRadio show dated 11/17/15. I recommend checking out "Are You Prepared for Technological Extinction?“, “The Basics of Biohacking”, Is Too Much Technology Bad for Business?Is The Internet of Everything Really, Everything They're Cracking it Up to Be? and “How to Safely Whet Your Appetite for Smartphone Apps” You can also search for other related articles by typing in “casinos” in the search box top of this blog.

If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091,We will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we will give you immediate access to it. Your information is always kept private and is never sold. Don't forget to Plus us on Google+.

Carl Weiss is president of a digital marketing agency in Jacksonville, Florida that routinely works with bloggers and other online marketers to grow their businesses. 

Social Networking Secrets & Best Practices: Part 3 – There is no Substitute

By Hector Cisneros

I have been actively networking in a number of organizations since the early 1980’s. My experience, tells me that most people get out of social networking what they put into it. People often come up to me after a speaking engagement and ask, what is the magic formula for networking success. How can they become successful as a social Networker? My answer is always the same, it’s not a magic formula, although many perceive it to be a secret, a powerful principle or other hidden system of techniques. My answer always state that the secret is in plain sight. Look at the word “network” and the answer is in the title itself. The first parts of this series addressed the relationship between face to face networking and social media. Part two addresses the secret aspects of Giving. In part three of this series, we will discuss the habits that must be acquired and followed, in order to become a consummate Networker. We’ll be looking at 15 important habits which will guide and drive your success. So let’s get to work and begin by dissecting the term Social Networker.

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(1) Its Net Work! – The term Social Network is made up of three words. Social, Net and Work. Word of mouth marketing means that when you go out, its net “work”, not net “sit,”  “eat,” or “socialize.” I don’t mean being unfriendly or uncordial, but you have to be focus. Is your conversation about football or the evening news or is it about networking?  Ask questions related to networking. Ask questions like: How can you help them out? What are they looking for? Who are you looking for this week? Who are they working on this week?  What's the biggest challenge you faced this week? Likewise, let them know who you’re looking for when they in turn say – what are you looking for? By the same token, if you are engaging in social networking online, you have to stay focused. Don’t get distracted by all of the posts. Do your work first. Thank your referral partners, influencers, and testimonial givers first. Post you’re curated and authoritative post before socializing with your friends and family.

(2) There is no such thing as “least effort, most gained. -  In networking, most effort equals most gained. Even when you have leverage, like when speaking to a crowd, you still have to be prepared. Cutting corners, skipping meetings, winging your short presentations, dressing inappropriately, wearing wrinkled clothes, being late, etc., won’t help you be successful.  Being successful requires effort. Not only right effort, but attention to detail and consistent effort. There is no substitute for serious effort.

(3) It's Not a Meeting, its Marketing – Remember, word of mouth is marketing, not just a meeting. You have at least four opportunities at most networking events to network with others. The first, open networking before the event begins. The second is when you get to stand up and give your short presentation. The third is when you are a spotlight speaker, and the fourth is after the networking event where more open networking takes place. Don’t waste any of your marketing opportunities.

(4) Everyone is not your potential referral partner or client - Another myth about networking is that you have the potential to pass referrals to every business in the group and likewise also receive business from everyone in the group. The reality is you can probably do lots of business (about 70% of your referrals, passed and received) with only a few members of the group. This is usually a select few, around seven people that you meet regularly with. The rest of the group will at best provide about 30% of your referrals (both passed and received.) Even if you have a product or service that “is used by all”, it doesn’t mean they are your potential client or referral partners. They may already have pre-existing relationships that will preclude them from doing business with you. The only way to find out for sure is to put in the time necessary to meet all the members of your group and explore how you can help each other.   

(5) Meeting with people one on one is the best way to get more referrals. Listening to
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other short presentations and discussing current needs during open networking is helpful, but it’s no substitute for a one on one face to face meeting to explore how you can help each other. The face to face meetings also need to be focused both on education and on learning what's important to each of the parties present. You not only have to learn about each other’s businesses, you also have to learn what drives each of you to get up in the morning, what motivate each of you to succeed. Both the business education and the personal motivators need to be explored if you really want to help each other. Lastly, it’s important to learn about the personal aspect of your referral partner’s lives. Things like their kids and spouse’s name, hobbies and past times they like to engage in. Learning these aspects and then taking them into account when interacting with your partners also helps to strengthen the relationship. This is why I think so many sales are made during golf outings.

(6) There are many Networking Skills that need to be mastered. - Being skilled at working a room or presenting will not take you to the top two percent of all Networkers. You need to have a givers mindset to start with and a willingness to do whatever it takes. You also need to learn other skills as well.  First, you also have to have good communication and selling skills. I don’t mean closing tricks or techniques, but solid business consulting, listening and solution-designing skills. You also need to ask for the order. Another way of giving is being active in the management and production of the network itself. What I am referring to here is being active in the group’s leadership. Serving the group gives you more visibility, and this can eventually lead to more referrals. However, doing a poor job in a leadership position can also lead to less business as well.

(7) Specific is Terrific. - When presenting at a meeting or online, being specific will increase your results drastically. If you’re asking for a referral, being specific can be the difference between failure and success. It can mean the difference between an easy qualified referral and a referral that not only is a lead, it’s a bad lead. Being specific is most effective when you have already built trust among the members of a networking group. However, it can also help you find what you need when posting on your social networks. I often see Networkers ask for a specific referral by name and then another members of that network respond by saying, “I can connect you with that person.” This is very common in BNI and on LinkedIn. By the same token, if you post a question asking for help with a specific issue on a social network you will almost always get that help. Even if you’re asking for one more sale to reach your goal. Again, this assumes you have taken the time to build trusting relationships with your social networks.

(8) Practice Improves Performance. -  You would never pay a radio station or TV company to “just wing” your commercials.  So why do so many Networkers’ just wing it when doing their short presentations? Spend time every week writing down and practicing aloud your short presentation. This should be a “Must Do” item on your networking checklist. I spend about 20 minutes writing out my 60-second presentation for BNI.  Once written, I then practice saying it aloud. I then practice it again the night before and the morning of the meeting, each and every week. Practice is an easy way to improve your performance. Don’t be lazy, the practice will improve your ability to get more referrals.

(9) One-sized Presentation don’t fit all Networks. - Every Networker needs to create and practice a 30-second, a 60-second, a two-minute, a five-minute, and even a 15-minute presentation. There are many networking opportunities and each group has its own rules. Being prepared gives you a leg up on the competition when it comes to building your credibility among the other members. By having these five different presentations ready to go at all times, you will be able to step in with short notice and take advantage of more speaking opportunities.

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(10) Presentation Necessities. - Make sure your presentation includes your name. It should also have some type of “hook or catch phrase.” Consider telling a compelling story, adding an offer, and/or a call to action. I like to tell my referral partners to remind their prospect that I’ll provide them with a web analysis worth $600 for free, if the three of us can schedule coffee or lunch meeting. Also make sure all your contact information is listed on your handouts and at the end of your power point presentations.

(11) To be the best, you have to PROVIDE the best. – Always deliver the best product or service you’re capable of for the money being paid.  Most companies provide “just good enough” products or services for the money they receive. Exceeding your customers' expectations should be your goal. I’m not saying to give away the farm, but to be considered the best, you have to provide the best. This, however, does not mean you charge the most for your product or services. It means you provide the best value for the money spend. People shop value not price. Be more valuable!

(12) Networking as a team works best. - When attending networking events, it’s best to team up with another referral partner where you both know each other’s objectives; this allows you to “split the room” to work it more efficiently. Let each team member know who you're looking to be introduced to and vice versa, be ready to help your partners find their and introduce prospects to them. I generally set a goal of finding one or two new prospects/referral partners every 10 to 20 minutes. My goal is not to sell anyone anything but instead to set up meetings at a later date to have a more meaningful conversation that allows us to find mutual benefit.

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(13) Track and measure as much as possible. - It’s important that you track your actions and engagement. Both face to face and social media Networking can be tracked, measured, and the results can be predicted. Word of mouth marketing is quantifiable. It can produce predictable results. If you know how many events you plan to attend each year (approximately) and you track how often you meet with referral partners, and track the results of the referral (i.e., close ratio to referrals received), you will quickly learn what your average weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual sales results are. I know that I received about two referrals a month from my BNI chapter, and I usually get four referrals when I am the spotlight speaker. I know that if I get in front of qualified referrals, and actually provide them a business proposal, I will close about 57% of them. By the same token, I know on average home many followers read our blogs based on the number of social post published each day. I also know that the more quality interactions I engage in raises the number of social leads I receive as well.

(14) Always bring your networking tools with you. Never attend a networking event without a name badge, something to write with, your business cards, a list of potential prospects, and a how can I help you attitude. On the social media side, always make sure your profile is complete, answer all engaged followers, help all influencer  and provide useful, relevant and timely content, preferable your own authoritative material daily.

(15) You should calculate what your time is worth. - If you understand the time value of
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money, you can better measure how effective you are when spending your time at networking events. You can come up with this figure in many ways. I look at my annual production rate in dollars and divide it by the number of working hours that I spent to produce that dollar amount. Some people take their annual pay and divided it by the amount of time they spend networking. Others look at the total cost of networking activities (including drive time, parking fees, meal, meeting fees and organization fee, etc.), add that to the hourly value of time they spend networking to come up with a figure. If you do this exercise you will realize the word of mouth and social media networking are not free. First of all, it’s not cheap because there are hard cost (membership fees, meal fees, parking and other travel cost), and lastly they actually consume a considerable amount of time and energy (which also equals money)! That means you have to be efficient as a Networker, otherwise you’re throwing your money away. This will make you understand the importance of delivering a polished and practiced short presentation. It will make you realize the value of effectively engaging in meaningful one to one meetings. It will also make it perfectly clear the value of leveraging your long presentations when you get to deliver your message to a large group of networking enthusiast.

In this article I have provided 15 specific Social Networking Secrets & Best Practices that will elevate your social networking performance to new levels. These 15 best practices will provide the reader with an effective way to increase their networking efficiency and improve their social networking effectiveness. Yes it will help you get more referrals. It shows how teamwork, practice and planning can mean the difference between coming up empty handed and walking away with several referrals and new referral partners.

That’s my opinion. I look forward to hearing yours.

This article is a part of a three part series. I recommend reading parts one and two as well to
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make sure you get the big picture along with fine detail. If you found this article useful please share it with your friends, family and co-workers. If you have a comment or a different opinion, join the conversation by adding it to the comment section below. I recommend checking out "Six Cardinal Rules of Social Media Success" or "Seven Secrets of Social Media Magnets", “12 Secrets of Social Media Success “ and "How to Win Friends and Influence People in the 21st Century.".  You can also search for other related articles by typing in “word of mouth or social networking” in the search box at the top of this blog.

If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091,We will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," (in its 3rd edition), please fill in the form below. You will gain immediate access to it and as always, your information is always kept private and is never sold. Don't for get to Plus us on Google+

Hector Cisneros is a partner, COO and Social Media Director for the award-winning, Internet-based marketing firm, Working  the Web to Win, in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on TwitterFacebookGoogle+,  LinkedIn,  and YouTube.  He’s also the co-host of BlogTalkRadio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Working the Web to Win’s co-founder, Carl Weiss, make working the web to win simple for every business. He's a published author of three  books, "60 Seconds to Success"(available at Amazon and B&N), and "Internet Marketing for the 21st Century," which you can get by filling out the form above. He’s also the co-author of the new book, “Working The Web to Win,” which is now available on

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Social Networking Secrets & Best Practices - Part 2 - The Givers Secrets

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By Hector Cisneros

Have you ever wondered why some networkers are phenomenally successful and other struggle to even get one referral? Why is it that many are attracted to a few seemingly special networkers and others are shunned? Could it be that there is a secret that these few Super Networkers know, that others do not? Part one of this series shows the relationship between face to face and online social networking.  In this second part of Best Practices of Social Networking Secrets series, I will cover what those Super Networkers know - the secrets that makes Super Networkers magnetic. The secret that brings them followers and referrals far beyond the average business Networker. The magical secret of Giving! Giving you say? It can’t be that simple. Well, I didn’t say it was simple or even easy, but yes, giving is the magical secret. In Part three of this series we will explore another secret that demonstrates that there is no substitute for proactive participation. But in this article we will expose Giving in all its glory. We will explore what has taken me a lifetime of learning. Now let’s explore what I mean by giving, so that you can use it to produce massive positive result for you and your business.
BNI (organization)
BNI (organization) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(1) Giving is the Secret - The secret to Word of Mouth marketing is giving! It’s about giving first, not getting first. It’s more about serving others to the best of your ability. It’s not about quid pro quo. It’s not:  “I helped you, now you owe me”. That’s creating a debt and resentment as you become a creditor. I am talking about the Law of Reciprocity. What members of BNI call “Givers Gain”. It’s been called many things. My mother use to say to me. What goes around comes around. In this instance we are talking about giving without the expectation of quid pro quo.

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(2) The Law of Reciprocity is a Law of Nature. It cannot be measured on a one to one scale, nevertheless it rings true if you follow its principles. It's more like the natural interactions of symbiosis. I breathe out carbon dioxide, the tree absorbs the carbon dioxide, and in turn, it produces oxygen. However, I did not target a particular tree, nor did any tree pick me individually as a recipient of its oxygen, either. It just happens we both benefit from the action! Just the same, the benefit happen as a consequence of giving without the overt expectation of receiving. Receiving just happens!

(3) Givers attract like magnets. - Others are attracted to people who have something worthwhile and perceived as valuable for their success.  But don’t just take my word for it.  Stand in the middle of a room and pull out a $10 bill and ask a question. The person that provides the best answer gets the money as a prize.  How many takers do you think you will get? The same is true if you can provide valuable information, knowledge, techniques, products or services. The difference is that a giver provides more value than the perceived cost. Their knowledge is a bargain, their efforts are accepted as gifts, regardless of the price.

(4) Givers are credible because they are consistent. – Super Networkers are congruent in all their actions. Everything they do and say, everything they provide exudes credibility, not through authority, but through being congruent. They are very consistent in their behavior, professionalism, knowledge and in being a giver!

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(5) Make sure you use the platinum rule of business. – Not sure what this rule is? Its “do unto others as they would like it done to them, not as you would like it done to you”.  Networking is all about helping the members in your network; not your business. They are there for their own reasons, just as you are there for your reasons. If you provide the members of the network valuable services or useful information (referrals, testimonials helpful information) that is perceived as having greater value than it cost, it will raise your standings among those members. It will build your credibility and make it easier for you to ask for referrals. Help them look smart, help them generate business, and in turn, the Law of Reciprocity will bring you new business.

(6) Giving is not enough! -  In order to really help your referral partners help you, you need to educate them on what an ideal referral is for you. You need to teach them what a “bread-and-butter” referral is - (i.e. everyday good referral), what a “cream” referral is - (a great referral that makes your month), and what a “dream” referral is - (a phenomenal referral that makes your year).  You need to be as specific as humanly possible. There’s a BNI saying that goes “Specific is Terrific”. Your referral partners need to know the trigger words that they can key on. They need to know what to tell the prospect when they see the prospects targeted behavior. They need to know what a referral looks like. What a prospect would say, and what your referral partner needs to do when they see this behavior. Does your referral partner tell the prospect a specific story or give a testimonial? Does your referral partner need to give them your card? Do they call you right then? Do they setup a meeting for the three of you?  Exactly what do you want them to do for you! The more specific you are, the easier you make it for your referral partners. The more you help your referral partners understand your business, the more referrals will come your way. If you want to be a receiver as well as a giver, you must make it easy for others to give you what you want.
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(7) Social Network Posting Rules. – If quality content is king, then your social posts need to be geared towards providing high quality content geared to what your audience wants. Posting endless content about what's going on in your business is often boring. Posting lots of specials or coupons gets old quickly as well. Figure out what your followers' and referral partners’ interest are, and then provide that type of content for them often (at least once a day). By the same token, you need to educate your followers and audience as to what an ideal customer is, without directly selling to them. A great way to do this is to consistently provide authoritative posts via quality blogs and/or articles that you write. This shows you’re giving spirit because you are providing your expertise freely. It establishes you as an expert in your industry. See my article 12 Secrets of Social Media Success for more details.

Courtesy of  Hector Cisneros
(8) Testimonials are worth their weight in gold - To get more credibility, provide more testimonials for others.  Do this in writing whenever possible. This turns your testimonial into a gift that keeps on giving.  It also makes the testimonial more credible and valuable to the person it was written for. This gift must be done in a professional manner. Spelling and grammar check and polished.  If you want to receive a lot of testimonials, you have to give a lot of testimonials yourself. As a general rule, you need to give at least three testimonials for everyone you could expect to receive. Also written testimonials are the best because they can be used on your social nets. They can be recycled and also cross-pollinated to all of your other social networks. They can be put in picture albums on your social networks and video galleries. They can then be posted as part of your “thank you” awareness campaign. Also publicly thank those who provide you testimonials and/or high ratings.  If you want them to continue this behavior, you need to thank them as soon as their endorsement occurs.
(9) You must differentiate yourself from the pack. - Being professional and providing good service is the starting point, however, you have to go beyond good service and professionalism because this is expected. Nobody ever asked to be provided bad service! Being prepared is half the battle. You must know your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), your ideal customer profile, your competitive advantage etc.  You then must market these distinctions to brand yourself in a deliberate and congruent way to gain market share. Blogging on a regular basis about your industry will help a lot.  Make sure you provide quality articles pertaining to your industry at least once a week. This is a great way to differentiate yourself. Posting quality blogs to your social nets are worth three to ten times more in value than posting others curated articles. When at networking events, make your articles available to those networkers that your information might be valuable to. Mention the free handouts during your short presentations or bring them up when talking with people in small groups. 

(10) The Rule of Three – Giving three referrals in the same week is absolute proof!
Give three time Three for maximum results!
Giving is the proof that you are working in someone else’s interest. If you want them to fully understand and believe you’re working on their behalf, give them three referrals in the same week. The easiest way I know to do this is to carry three of your referral partners' business cards in your keys pocket, until you give those cards out to qualified referrals.  You keep them with your keys on the dresser at night and put them back in your pocket the next day until you successfully acquire three qualified referrals. Receiving three qualified referrals from a partner does 3 things. It proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that you were working for them, it proves you’re a credible Networker and three it creates social equity. The feeling that they need to reciprocate, even if they can’t.

(11) The Rule of 10 applies to many things in networking. – Bad things have much greater impact on your company or efforts than good things you do. For example: bad behavior, lack of professionalism, or breaking the rules of the group, has a weight of negative 10.  Whereas good behavior, such as following the rules, being on time, providing great curated post, giving a referral, etc., only has a positive weight of one. You can be great all week and help lots of people and no one will say anything, but fall down by being late or not returning a call and that news will spread like wild fire. Another rule of 10 has to do with distribution and sharing. You have to talk to 10 networkers in order to get one who is interested. You have to give 10 testimonials to get back one or two in return. More often than not – you have to give 10 great referrals in order to get one great referral back! However once you build up enough social equity, the rule of 10 begins to shrink towards the rule of three. It’s even possible to reach a point where you receive more referrals than you give.

(12) Word of Mouth and Branding go hand-in-hand.  - Word of Mouth or referral
Courtesy of

is similar to marketing to build your brand (branding). It’s about educating others, especially your strategic referral partners. They’re your adjunct sales team, so to speak. It’s not about direct selling.  It’s about educating others about your unique propositions, your special skills, your exceptional service, honesty and integrity. It’s also about showing others how much you care about them, not just their money.  Remember: no one ever joined a social network or went to a networking event to be sold to!  The joined to be more connected and get more business. To get their attention, help them get what they want, be consistent and also portray your brand professionally.

In this article I have provided 12 best practices and social networking secrets that show how giving is the fastest way to influence others, build a following and get more referrals, testimonials and more. The 12 best practices in this article show the reader why giving is so powerful. They clearly show how giving leads to receiving, what the relationship between the two are and how to go about being and effective giver. It also shows how being a giver, helps you to get ready to become an accepting receiver.

That’s my opinion. I look forward to hearing yours.

This article is a part of a three part series. I recommend reading parts one and three as well
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to make sure you get the big pictures along with fine detail. If you found this article useful please share it with your friends, family and co-workers. If you have a comment or a different opinion, join the conversation by adding it to the comment section below. I recommend checking out "Six Cardinal Rules of Social Media Success" or "Seven Secrets of Social Media Magnets", “12 Secrets of Social Media Success “ and "How to Win Friends and Influence People inthe 21st Century."  
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Hector Cisneros is a partner, COO and Social Media Director for the award-winning, Internet-based marketing firm, Working the Web to Win, in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on TwitterFacebookGoogle+,  LinkedIn,  and YouTube.  He’s also the co-host of BlogTalkRadio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Working the Web to Win’s co-founder, Carl Weiss, make working the web to win simple for every business. He's a published author of three  books, "60 Seconds to Success"(available at Amazon and B&N), and "Internet Marketing for the 21st Century," which you can get by filling out the form above. He’s also the co-author of the new book, “Working The Web to Win,” which is now available on

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