If your goal is to build trust, strengthen your reputation and attract business, then there is one time-tested strategy that works best: giving.
Giving is simply the best way to get value from your online social networking activities. Not self-promoting. Not buying advertisements. Not clever search engine optimization. Just giving.
Here are 7 ways to inform your online persona with the spirit of giving.
Invest quality time.
Start by investing your most scarce and valuable resource: your time. If you don’t invest a certain amount of quality time into the people that make up your online network, you shouldn’t expect to get anything back from them.
Read what others share.
Use that time to read what people in your network are sharing and add thoughtful comments when you can. Everyone that shares in social networks likes to receive feedback and engagement. So give them some and you’ll get some back.
Share content that moves you.
Consistently sharing the best content you can find is one of the best ways to give and create value for your network. Over time, people in your network will pay you back for sharing great content by not ignoring you.
Give credit where it’s due.
Everything you read online is created by someone or shared by someone in your network. Everything. You should never miss an opportunity to give someone credit for bringing an article to your attention or creating it. They will reciprocate.
Really listen to what people are talking about and sharing in your network for two reasons. First, you may actually learn something valuable. Second, if you pay others with your attention, you will earn theirs as well. In the influence economy, people literally pay you with their attention.
Be generous of spirit.
Demonstrate patience and give people the benefit of the doubt. Avoid online arguments and agree to disagree. There will always be online trolls and haters – ignore them and take the high ground.
Whether you answer someone’s question with your own knowledge or point them in the right direction, helping others help themselves is the highest form of charity and builds goodwill.
As ironic as it sounds, giving without the expectation of getting anything back is the key to getting the most from social networks. The key here is not acting like you are expecting a return or a quid pro quo of any kind. We all benefit when we contribute to building a robust community around where we live and what we do for a living.
So, stop focusing on what you’re not getting from social media and learn to be a giver and community builder within your social networks. The benefits will amaze you.
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