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Social PR: 6 New (+ Old) Ways to Win Friends and Influence Search

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The late great Dale Carnegie was ahead of his time when he published the groundbreaking book "How to Win Friends and Influence People." First published in 1937, Carnegie's advice remains relevant and timeless addressing questions about the fine art of getting along with people and the question: How can you make people like you instantly?

"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you." - Dale Carnegie

In today's world of gaining rank, authority, and popularity through Likes, votes, shares, links and retweets, Carnegie's philosophy still holds true for successful search engine marketing strategies.

Considering the search and social trend is no longer about quantity and we are living in a world of social PR quality, winning the popularity contest with the search engines means getting back to some marketing basics.

Both Google and Bing continue to use social signals to help rank regular search results. Studies show friends are more likely to follow friends in search results. Chances are, if you see one of your friends has shared something that shows up on your search results page, you're more likely to click on the friend's link.

Winning friends and influencing people seems to be the name of the game when it comes to search marketing. But, like in real life, there is more to the equation.

So whether you're the influencer-to-be or trying to gain the attention of the holy grail influencers, check out the new and time-proven ways to win.

First, here are six new ways to win friends and influence search.

1. Google +1 Makes Titles and Descriptions More Important Than Ever

The Google +1 button allows users to "like" a link that comes up in their Google search results, and then share it with friends. The new addition is clearly an off-shoot of Facebook's "Like" button, which is only a year old.

Social might be influencing search, but the fundamentals of writing effective titles and meta descriptions have never been so important. If you want the Google +1 vote on your search result, the result needs to be well crafted and delivered.

2. PR Power of the RT

Writing optimized tweets now should be a staple part of a social PR content strategy, but retweets now serve as a new form a link building. Getting your page mentioned in tweets by authoritative people can help your ranking in regular search results.

3. PR with QR

Thirty-one percent of people polled in a recent survey said they would use a QR code to interact with social media networks. This might be a trend, but considering in 2010 we saw a 1,600 percent increase in number of QR Codes being scanned, you can now capture the social signals via QR codes to get the Like, Follow or Vote.

For more on QR codes, check out Angie Schottmuller's "Top 14 Things Marketers Need to Know About QR Codes."

4. Facebook Profile Image

Facebook is notoriously rigid when it comes to business page branding opportunities. One of the few chances to stand apart from other fan pages is when choosing a profile image. Treat it like a magazine cover and change it often to give your social circle something visually appealing to look at.

Promote an event or product. Google does it with their Doodles. Why not get creative with your Facebook community and think beyond the boring logo as the profile image?

5. Customizing the Like

When you like a page, customize the message you broadcast to your social network. There is certainly no shortage of popularity with the increasingly ubiquitous "like": 10,000+ websites add the Like Button every day.

According to the social network's own data, more than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook so far, including 80-plus percent of the top 100 websites in the U.S.

6. What's Your LinkedIn Status?

Even if users don't log into LinkedIn, they still get a weekly Network Update, a prime reason to use the status feature with your LinkedIn network. Customize the message. Share the most important news in case users miss the tweet or blog post.

The Linked Status updates are also distributed to your network via email when LinkedIn sends your weekly "Network Update" and your latest status update is always displayed on your LinkedIn profile page.

Carnegie's 6 Keys to Success

To conclude, here are six Dale Carnegie-inspired ways to win friends and influence search (bolded), along with my comments.

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.

  2. Smile. It is possible to smile in your writing and be positive and cheery versus bland and boring.

  3. Remember that a person's name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Think @replies and tags.

  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. Ask questions.

  5. Talk in terms of the other person's interest. Find the pain, offer to help.

  6. Make the other person feel important -- and do it sincerely. Things like: "Congratulations on a win," "sorry to hear about the loss," and "happy to be on the team" always work well.

Dale Carnegie might not have had today's version of Klout, but his steps to influential success are still valid.


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