Reciprocity: How It Works And How It Helped Get My Blog On The Map

Reciprocity: How to increase your content reach 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

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.

Partnerships

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.

Triberr - The Reach Multiplier

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.

Social Ugliness

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).

Final Thought

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!

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  • http://www.gooddisruptivechange.com Susan Alexander

    Francisco:  What I love about your posts is that I ALWAYS come away with a very tangible idea that I can implement, either right away, or in due course.  Many thanks for all you share.  Susan

  • http://twitter.com/arenasolutions Arena Solutions

    Hello – thanks for sharing the Triberr . . .  I checked it out, and so far there doesn’t seem to be a tribe for people who write on my topic (manufacturing, product). But – I sent them an email, and am hoping they might let me start my own tribe for those of us in the Industry who are passionate bloggers. Thanks for the tip!

  • Anonymous

    I may have a solution for that Arena. :) If you want, send me an email at dave@davegallant.ca , I may be able to get a tribe started for you. :)

    @Fransisco – Perfect timing on this topic. You really do practice the principle of reciprocity and it shows. I’m glad to see you finally joined Triberr. :)

  • http://twitter.com/Later_Bloomer Elle B

    This was truly, truly unique and useful. Thank you. Have been following you on Twitter but just subscribed! Looking forward to checking out Triberr.

  • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

    Great points!  I find that reciprocity happens the most when you’re not out to get it.  The more you provide value for your community in both your sharing and your content, the more they will give.  Anyone who tries to push you into something, whether it’s “hey, I did this for you, you do this for me” or “I followed you, you should follow me too” doesn’t really get it, and if they maintain that strategy, they probably never will which means their not going to be a valuable connection in the long run.  

  • http://Social-Tango.com Billy Delaney

    This is why I come to read your content.
    It is no mystery is it.
    Why does everyone want to get something for nothing?
    You gave me a RT and mentioned my blog, and I really appreciated that.
    Thanks Billy

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Couldn’t agree more with you Kristi, it’s hard to get rid of expectations but turns out it’s when we get the best results.

    Thanks for stopping by

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    You should check it out Elle, like I said it really take matters to a new level if you’re able to build a nice tribe that care for each other.

    Thanks for the follow and subscription =)

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    You can start your own tribe on whatever topic you want. @davergallant:disqus just offered help, you should get in contact with him. Great guy…

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    You know its a funny thing about reciprocity . . . some will reciprocate, some won’t but . . . 

    You still get to feel damn good when you do something for others and I do believe that it attracts better karma.

    Thanks for a fantastic blog post . . . I plan to tweet this out to my network shortly!

    Respectfully,
    Paul Castain

  • http://vizsource.info/ Kim Davies

    Hi, Francisco.

    Reciprocity is indeed a wonderful thing. My blog may not be as noisy with conversations as I dreamed it would be, but I’d like to believe that I am taking the necessary steps for it to become so in the future. After just almost three months into blogging, having Bill Dorman as a regular commentator is good enough for me and I’m willing to wait and be patient for others to find their way to me.

    So, what am I doing now to have the people I soon want to find commenting on my blog? I visit theirs and comment and share their posts, especially if they are of value not just for me but for others as well. Although there are times when I could not get to other blogs as often as I want because of their place in my Google Reader, which presents sources alphabetically (like yours, I’m sorry!), I make it a point to really visit and comment and share. Besides, I have discovered Feedly and I think it presents a better system for me to find and comment on the blogs I want to visit without having to go through them alphabetically. I am keeping my fingers crossed on that. :)

    Now, does this mean reciprocating enough for me? I really don’t know. But, I am making great new friends and connecting with new people and right now, I am very much happy with that.

  • http://photocontestinformation.com/ photo contest

    Your Final Thought was truly unique. Thank you. 

  • http://www.TrafficGenerationCafe.com/ Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe

    You still check your DMs, Francisco? How do you find the time and patience… so much spam!

    Anyway, I am with you: I am a great believer in reciprocity. Of course, it works best with peers; I don’t hold my breath to get any “a-listers” to RT my stuff – the same way you don’t RT Mashable when everyone else does.

    Sounds like we are in the same tribe now… :)

  • http://about.me/romerobv Romero Cavalcanti

    Thank you for sharing.
    Reciprocity is an important factor in human behavior. The people are not solely motivated by material payoffs, but also have a desire to reward the kindness of others.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    No, thank YOU. I appreciate your visit and your comment. Hope to have you back again.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    No, thank YOU. I appreciate your visit and your comment. Hope to have you back again.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thank you Paul.

    I’m glad you left a comment, just visited your blog and loved your post on “5 Must Have Human Relations Skills” (http://yoursalesplaybook.com/5-must-have-human-relations-skills/).

    Just followed you on Twitter and hope to stay in touch.

  • http://www.marianneworley.com Marianne Worley

    Hi Francisco,

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile, but this is my first time commenting.I loved this line in your post:  Reciprocity is a beautiful thing that has nothing to do with social media but with being human.

    I try to give to others by sharing their content and helping them however I can, without an expectation of reciprocation.  I just try to stay focused on what I’m doing, instead of how others are responding.  

    Thanks so much for sharing. I’m sure I’ll be back again. :-)

  • Pam Wickert

    awesome article Francisco…as I am listening to a danielle-laporte mp3 file; from your indirect recommendation of White Hot Truth…Thanks for sharing all the value you do!

  • http://sproutsocial.com Brittany at Sprout Social

    I’m going to have to agree with a number of the other comments on here – your final thought on reciprocity not being about social media, but about being human, is truly the gem of your post!  Sometimes it’s easy to get so focused on your own website/blog, that you forget that a simple act of reciprocity can help you more than constantly pushing out your message. 

  • http://equinejointsupplements.blogspot.com Mauricio

    The information is very interesting. The post is very Useful. I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!

  • http://www.b2bmarketinginsider.com Michael Brenner

    Hello fellow Triberr and Tribe-mate Francisco,

    I just love this post. I was thinking about this exact same thing the other day. We share others content because it is great content for our audience. This creates some “social equity” with the person whose content we shared. And we hope (but don’t expect) that this will translate into them returning the favor (reciprocity).

    But what I’ve found is that the real benefit is in the community. I joined Triberr to reach a wider audience with my blog but what I’m finding is that the real value is in the community I’ve joined with great folks like you and many others. In the end, it’s all about the relationships we forge.

    Thanks for articulating this so eloquently here!

    Best, Michael

  • http://martinairing.com/blog Martina Iring

    I’m such a big believer in the law of reciprocity too Francisco! Loving this post. I think this is my fav line:
    “I like to think there are no rules as long as you act from the heart.”

    When I first started out in social media, I stressed about what to share, if I was doing it right, if it made sense strategically etc…  I came to my senses and realized that the only thing that matters is sharing content that is useful to my audience & being kind and friendly with people (because that’s what feels right to me). And then social media became super fun!

  • http://www.AnnieAndre.com Annie Andre

    This was one of the better posts i’ve read on reciprocity.
    I would never have believed it unless it happened to me. But when i first started blogging in late February early March of this year (2011). I didn’t understand this basic concept worked for the internet. I thought it only applied to life and the people you see face to face. DUH! how dumb am i?

    An online mentor, coached me into making my first twitter contact and showed me how to comment and against my will i decided to try it.
    I went in with the mindset that i would support others selflessly. Then something amazing happened. i connected with people, they sent me emails that were inspiring, they promote me and more.
     i’ve made so many friends online. We all help each other and i love it. It’s a great feeling. Everyone should do it..  

  • Emily Rose

    Hello Francisco, Thank you for sharing this tool, I am deffinitly going to be checking it out more, I bookmarked it!

    You have made some great points, especially about “Social Ugliness” and ho people can leave a bad taste in their mouths. Its much like spamming people, leaving a website address with nothing helpful to say on someone else’s comments, and I really don’t see why anyone would want to share something from someone they havn’t even been introduced to before.

    It seems like it should be a common courtesy to get to be friendly and introduce yourself in some manner in any human interactions (online or offline) before asking someone to do something for you like that.

    Thank you for sharing your insights.
    ♥Emily Rose

  • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

    You have been an advocate and a friend, Francisco. Thank you :-)

  • http://twitter.com/DrivinMedia DrivinMedia.com

    I agree with Kristi. It seems as if the people who are the most successful in the online world are the ones who do things without any expectations of getting anything back in return. A good friend of mine once told me that people should do things out of the kindness of their heart and not because they expect anything in return. Since then, I have always tried to live by that and work on removing any type of expectations (which is hard). Overall, great post. Thanks Francisco.

  • http://twitter.com/DrivinMedia DrivinMedia.com

    I agree with Kristi. It seems as if the people who are the most successful in the online world are the ones who do things without any expectations of getting anything back in return. A good friend of mine once told me that people should do things out of the kindness of their heart and not because they expect anything in return. Since then, I have always tried to live by that and work on removing any type of expectations (which is hard). Overall, great post. Thanks Francisco.

  • http://www.extremejohn.com Extreme John

    I totally agree with the points here. After all, content is King. Reciprocity follows when we share information that’s very valuable and unique that followers just can’t help but share it to others. But it doesn’t really matter if others do not reciprocate. What matters most is the passion of helping and sharing great content. 

  • http://www.linesvinesjonastimes.co.cc/why-should-you-use-ebridge-advatage-for-your-business eBridge advertising

    Reciprocity in actually an social psychology which generally refers to responding to a positive action with another positive action, and responding to a negative action with another negative one…thanks

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    Reciprocity is one of the most beautiful aspects of the social web, I’ll
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    blog on the map.

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    Most likely bloggers share the same intentions and they’ll appreciate your sharing.

  • http://injuryattorneysnj.com/ Dustyin

    I’ll tell you why and I’ll tell you how it has helped me put this little blog on the map.

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    I’ll tell you how it has helped me put this little blog on the map.

  • http://kirraantrobus.blogspot.com/p/welcome.html Kirra Antrobus

    I feel like Triberr was a waste of time. I got several tweets every time I published a new post, but the overwhelming majority of people who saw those tweets did not go to the links. My Twitter stats on my blog had no recognizable increase when I started using Triberr, and no recognizable decrease when I quit using it.

    I am a generous sharer, usually posting three to four links on my personal Facebook each day. I won’t quit faithfully sharing, but I feel as if none of that is coming back around my way. Often times even directly asking several people to share might get me a little help, but I can’t go asking people for “sharing charity” every time I publish a new post!