IMC Intuition

Thinking out loud about all things IMC

How to Win Friends and Influence People

with 5 comments

Typically, any conversation surrounding the use of social media for B2B marketing includes dialogue on how time consuming it is and how companies have not discovered how social media will ultimately fit into the marketing mix.  In my experience, many people don’t know how to interact in the real time environment of social media.  The risk of making a mistake often prevents companies from taking the risk of becoming a savvy user of these new communication tools.

 Jennifer Leggio wrote post in her ZD Net Social Business Blog entitled “A tale of two faux pas:  When transparency meets bad behavior,” reporting on a Twitter incident where one individual felt slighted by another individual, and the result was a very public, online argument.  As Ms. Leggio comments, “It ended… poorly.”  For these individuals and the organizations they represent, the results of their unprofessional behavior are now recorded in writing, and indexed on Google for years to come.  Is it any wonder corporate America is slow to adopt social media for B2B marketing?

 I was fortunate to attend the WVU 2009 IMC Weekend welcome dinner and keynote address by Jeff James, Founder and CEO of Mythology, and former Microsoft employee.  In his presentation entitled, “21st Century Advice from 1936,” Mr. James suggests that we re-visit Dale Carnegie’s international bestseller, “How to Win Friends & Influence People”, and apply the some of the same fundamental principles when using social media.  A few of points he emphasized might have diffused the above situation:

  •  Become genuinely interested in other people
  • Be a good listener
  • Talk in terms of the other (person’s) interest
  • Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely
  • If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
  • Avoid arguments
  • Show respect for the other person’s opinions
  • Begin in a friendly way
  • Appeal to noble motives

 Mr. James says there is nothing wrong with throwing down a challenge in order to make the exchange interesting, but keep it civil.  He shared that the major shift in social media communication is the introduction of user-generated content.  This shifts the messaging from being exclusively institutionally directed (the company surgically crafts the message then broadcasts it) to being self-directed (individuals post information and breaking news that ultimately becomes the message).   

 Consider Danny Meadows-Klue’s 10 Golden Rules condensed here from e moderation (May 21, 2009):

1. Stay: Keep taking part
2. Ease: Make participation a single click
3. Initiate: Help start the discussion, don’t set out to own it
4. Think webspace. Not website.
5. Release: Give consumers content they can adapt
6. Share: Encourage brand advocates to advocate
7. Tools and content, not ‘marketing’: Give your community tools they need to achieve their goals, and content they enjoy
8. Encourage: Nurture creative talent, encourage them to create and enthuse
9. Amplify: Amplify the effectiveness of your offline
10. Honesty: Be yourself, be transparent, be true

Sound familiar?   Did Dale Carnegie envision the Internet back in 1936?  Probably not. While communications channels change, best practices in interpersonal relationships do not.   The trend towards transparency in B2B social media is a positive change that encourages companies to abandon pontificating and get to the business of differentiating their offer and building real value for their brands. 


Links for this post:


Leggio, Jennifer (February 11, 2009) A tales of two faux pas When transparency meets bad behavior.


Jeff James (May 29, 2009) 21st Century Social Media Advice from 1936.


Fisher, Tia (May 21, 2009) 10 Golden Rules in Social Media Marketing.


Written by Beth Ryan

June 1, 2009 at 12:24 am

5 Responses

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  1. Should the online social media be a vehicle for B to B anything? From print media and the “special advertizing section” to public television and its’ “sponsored by” 30 second non-commercial to the internet and 10000 search results most of which are sales pitches…the consuming public (both private and corporate) see this push marketing as intrusive.


    June 1, 2009 at 6:31 pm

  2. Social media is not an advertising vehicle – it is a networking channel. How will it fit in B2B? We are always looking for ways sm can best serve the needs of B2B without violating the 10 Golden Rules.

    IMC includes employee communications and Microsoft recently published this report: “The Microsoft and Accenture ‘Oil and Gas Collaboration Survey 2009,’ conducted by PennEnergy in partnership with the Oil & Gas Journal Research Center, surveyed industry engineers, geoscientists and business managers worldwide and found that more than 70 percent believe that collaboration and knowledge-sharing are important for driving revenue, cutting costs and contributed to the health and safety of workers. However, in spite of this, most respondents stated that their organizations are still using older means of collaboration, such as face-to-face meetings, e-mails and conference calls, even though newer, more sophisticated technology tools are available and in demand today.

    Perhaps more telling is that 61 percent of respondents said they spend at least one hour each working day searching for information and knowledge sources necessary for their jobs. With an estimated 65,000 engineering professionals in the global oil and gas industry today, this translates into a potential loss of almost 10 million people-hours a year among engineers alone, an average net annual loss of $485 million for the industry, calculated according to U.S. Department of Labor salary statistics.”

    The main reason to use Social Media is to save time; probably the primary barrier is people understanding how to incorporate the new tools in order to make that happen.

    Link to full text rticle:


    June 1, 2009 at 6:58 pm

  3. Social Media for B2B marketing offers great potential but faces real challenges.

    It is no secret that our society has moved away from “person-to-person” interactions in our everyday lives so why should it come as a surprise that our business relationships have changed? Is it surprising to anyone that we have lost many of our interpersonal skills?

    The advice of experts on the subject of Social Media appears to me to be a reminder to apply common sense to our business marketing and communications; be true to one’s self and to others – treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself. Truism is universal.

    Furthermore, the pressure to stay competitive, especially in the manufacturing community, has increased the pace at which we must do business – we need to achieve and maintain “critical velocity” globally. We no longer have the luxury of working 9-to-5 or isolating ourselves while taking 2 weeks off for vacation. Social media offers a unique vehicle to help us stay connected.

    How so ever, the skills required for Social Media to be successful must be relearned. One of the real challenges facing Gen Y is not that they can’t read, it is that they don’t want to. Reading takes time and learning takes deep thought. The effort is not isolated, however, to a particular generation, it often appears insurmountable to us all. Information today needs to be presented in a clear and concise way; a summary that captures and holds interest so that in-depth study can take place on those issues of relevance. Social Media is poised to fill this void in a B2B environment by providing brief “snipets” of information with the “flash and sizzle” to hold ones attention while we sort out the relevant from the irrelevant.

    Finally, any tool is only useful if there is a need for it. And need cannot be artificially created. Social Media in a B2B environment has the potential to fill the void created by today’s business and educational institutions. It’s capability to satisfy this demand will define its relevance.

    Daniel H. Herring

    June 2, 2009 at 1:49 pm

  4. Thank you, Dan. Always a pleasure to hear from you.


    June 2, 2009 at 6:34 pm

  5. The Golden Rule is still very applicable, even in this day and age. One of the greatest gifts that you can have is the ability to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Mr. Carnegie’s work always reminded me of the teachings of a Jewish Rabbi that lived a little over 2000 years ago.

    Chuck Dolnosich

    June 3, 2009 at 12:58 pm

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