5 Unique Ways to Win Friends & Influence People Online

I keep reading articles about how to build influence online, because they get a lot of traction on social networks. Most recently, 35 experts weigh-in: How we create influence on Facebook, an article I thought I’d read just to see if there was anything unique about the Facebook angle. There didn’t seem to be.

Most of these articles can be summed up like this: be consistently useful, generous and interesting. That’s good advice!

I think it’s possible to discuss some more tactical methods, though. Here’s what I’ve thought for some time are some good ways to add value and thus strengthen your position, make new things possible, win friends, influence people etc.

Be first – If you’re the first place that someone finds out about something, they’ll likely notice that. Do it again and they’ll start paying attention to almost everything you do in the future. Everybody likes the feeling of learning new things early – the sources of that kind of learning are highly valued.

Be the best at articulating common things – If you ever look at the tech news aggregation site Techmeme, you know for example that there are often developments in the tech news world that everyone writes about – but some people write about them much better than others. That’s a great way to build influence, to create more compelling content than other people about issues of general interest. Maybe the things I’m writing here are really no different than what everyone else is saying – but some of you will like the way I say them, you’ll find them uniquely clear, compelling, inspiring, intelligent, funny, charming, whatever the case may be. Perhaps then you’ll follow me on Twitter so you can read more like this in the future. (Or use aarh-ess-ess)

Aggregate – Compiling high quality content well from other sources, curation, is a skill and a good way to build influence and add value yourself. It’s easier said than done though! Robots can be very good at it – are you smarter and more creative than a robot? You probably know about Brainpickings and BoingBoing, but how about OpenCulture.com, Dan Cohen and Kate Theimer?

Find a unique perspective – Have you read Monday Note? A good example of a site that creates high quality content from a unique perspective and thus has made itself influential. In order to pull this off, you’ve got to have a genuinely unique perspective on things and it’s got to be interesting to other people.

Be funny – If you’re funny, people will come back for more.

See, it’s not so hard. You just have to be consistently useful, articulate, generous, uniquely interesting, smart, fast and funny! In reality, any single one of these is likely to be enough to take you far.

Finally, if you really want to rock the social web, you should sign up to get more info about the startup we’re going to be unveiling very, very soon.

  • An excellent continuation of the discussion. All good points. Thanks!

  • Thanks Mark and thanks for your original post!

  • Garbologie

    Thanks for this. I’ve been struggling trying to work out why I can’t build influence and these points help. You could probably add a couple more – be patient and be lucky (both being somewhat connected if you see yourself as continually working to make your own luck).

    I have a sneaking suspicion that “be interesting” is the problem for me. There’s just not that many people interested in creative approaches to waste management. I add “yet” to that statement to keep myself motivated…

  • Garbologie, some people you might find interesting to connect with online around waste management include:
    Stephen Gee, Steve Lee, Nick Warburton, Geraldine Faulkner, Jonathan Straight and Ryan Redshaw

  • Thanks for the contacts Marshall, I’ll look them up.

    For the record, I prefer to be known as Adam Johnson 🙂 I’m obviously still wrestling with Disqus, and am yet to work out how to get it to use my name rather than my username. So this comment is a bit of a test to see if changes I’ve made to my profile fix the problem.

    They obviously did…

  • I’ll throw in be human. Don’t view influence as a marketing opportunity; view it as a byproduct of participating.

  • hay

  • jon knight

    As always brilliant and concise. I think each one of those attributes is what brought you to my attention years ago, Marshall. Your aarh-ess-ess is always opened.