Reciprocity is one of the most beautiful aspects of the social web, I’ll tell you why and I’ll tell you how it has helped me put this little blog on the map.
About 3 months ago I wrote a post about all the things I didn’t do to promote my blog. The point of the post was to share with my readers that even if I knew everything I was supposed to do to put my blog on the map, either I didn’t have time for or I wasn’t willing to do. I wanted to say that it is okay to learn from the best and to pay attention but then it’s also important to close those browser tabs and be ready to do your own thing.
What I didn’t say was what I actually did to take SocialMouths to where it is today. Well, there are obviously many things I did but today I’ll talk about reciprocity.
I see reciprocity as one of those items in the human department of the social web. I mean, some of us are sharing content our direct competitors are putting out there as a marketing vehicle, some of us are #FFing and Liking individuals that might as well be landing a project that could be mine in this very moment (and automatically sending me to the dog house for a week).
I gotta be honest and say that in the early days of SocialMouths, about 2 years ago, I didn’t know how I wanted to approach things like sharing my content versus sharing others, how to handle relationships or even who do I wanted to have a relationship with. So I came up with a couple of thoughts:
- I was not gonna worry about competition
- I wanted to share and support others, a lot
- I didn’t want to share Mashable stuff or the so-called “online celebrities” too much -not because I didn’t like ‘em, I do, but you don’t need my help to find Mashable…
So there are a few different ways reciprocity helped me, let’s look at them:
Unspoken agreements are those in which you have establish a relationship with another blogger and mutually share content without even discussing it. This works perfectly when you put out content in the same industry or niche and it is relevant to each others readership/following. I could write a list of bloggers that share almost everything I publish and I do the same for them, in some cases manually and in some automatically with the use of tools like Twitterfeed.
You should take the first step by being generous and getting to know other bloggers. If you also put out great content you’ll get their attention and they’ll eventually share your content also. Most likely bloggers share the same intentions and they’ll appreciate your sharing.
In some cases you can even ask for this type of relationship. Of course this is a little trickier and before doing something like it, you should consider a couple things:
- Do you know the person and is there some kind of relationship?
- Is this a win-win situation? Meaning the content is relevant on both sides and there is equal potential
I had a few relationships back in the day that helped tremendously, we would email each other when something was published and the other party will tweet, share, digg, stumble and bookmark left and right to increase reach.
Even today I get the ocasional DM from fellow bloggers saying “hey dude, do you mind sharing this for me?” and I do it with pleasure.
Taking Things To A Whole New Level
I recently started using Triberr. I know, it took me a little bit even tough I digitally know Dino Dogan (the founder) and think he’s a great guy but to be honest with you, I don’t take the whole concept of social media automation very well. I also try to keep the number of tools I use to a bare minimum.
But I finally understood that Dino has taken the concept of reciprocity to a whole new level, into a platform. Triberr is nothing but a reciprocity management system that works.
The idea of forming a small tribe of like-minded individuals that support each other by increasing content reach is just genius. This is something we have been doing on social media on a manual basis for a long time now.
The perfect scenario, as I see it, is to put together a group of 5 or 6 individuals that write relevant content and that you absolutely trust with the level of quality. Triberr allows you to set up your sharing on automatic or manual.
There is one more thing, Triberr has its own currency called “Bones” so you can actually ask other members in the tribe to share a particular tweet and in exchange of it. This is done privately via an internal communication system and you don’t have to worry about what other members are going to say since they’re all here with the same objective.
But Shit Has To Be Legit…
In social media nothing works if you don’t have a legit purpose. You have to do stuff not thinking that you’ll get leverage on other people.
Don’t share somebody else’s post looking to get something back, share it because it’s awesome content that can benefit your online community.
Etiquette? I don’t really like the word. I like to think there are no rules as long as you act from the heart. But there are a few things that could leave other people with a bad taste in their mouths about you… I’ll leave you with two examples and you can share your own experiences in the comments section.
- Don’t ask somebody you don’t know. I just got an email the other day from a person that not only I’m not familiar with but didn’t even take the time to introduce himself asking me to tweet a link to his post.
- Don’t ask people to follow back. You can’t demand stuff like that, besides, you’ll give people the impression you’re just collecting numbers (and you probably are).
If you are consistent in putting out great content and you are very generous at the same time, people will reciprocate. As simple as that. Reciprocity has been an important factor in putting SocialMouths on this crazy competitive map.
You have to appreciate that when a person tweets or shares a link to your post, that person is putting you in front of their network, no matter how big or small that network is.
Reciprocity is a beautiful thing that has nothing to do with social media but with being human. Treat it like that.
Share your reciprocity experiences or your horror social ugliness stories!