Guiding Principles in Reciprocity

September 28, 2010 Content Marketing no comments

Reciprocity with a twist (source)

One of the most important lessons in life is this: “Do unto others what you want others to do unto you.” This universal principle is especially important in the relationship oriented world of social media marketing.

Let me explain this attitude of altruism.

First, many bloggers, youtubers, flickrers, twitterers, and facebookers are well connected. If you’re known as one who not only request for favours but returns them as well, you’re more likely to enjoy positive word of mouth.

Being seen as a helpful guy/gal also gives you credibility in the eyes of others. If you can practice what you preach (something that is often easier said than done), you will be able to gain new friends/fans/followers amongst both digital and physical communities.

In a digital world that is so full of negativity, conflicts, and one upmanships, extending a benevolent hand does wonders for one’s reputation. Paying it forward does go some way towards ensuring the longevity of your social media career.

Does that then mean that you should accept every invitation which comes your way? Well, there are some points to bear in mind.

Reciprocating the kindness of others doesn’t mean that you no longer live for yourself. There will be times when you simply can’t accede to all the requests for help. I myself have occasionally failed my friends and I do apologise for my absence when that happens.

Every now and then, a good-intentioned invitation may also not be entirely appropriate for one’s content. Or it may come during a peak period when your plate is full. In times like these, you should explain yourself if you can, and find ways to reciprocate that act of kindness when conditions are right.

Inevitably, there will be some slips along the way. It is difficult to be totally fair in every social or professional transaction when the balance of power isn’t equal. Certain folks will have more bargaining chips in their favour relative to others.

I suppose what’s important ultimately is to examine one’s intention. What goes around, comes around. This is especially significant in the relationship oriented world of social networks.

The law of reciprocity is an important one in relationship and social media marketing. It helps to engender positive feelings and vibes all around, and these helps to further one’s cause.

However, one should also recognise that it isn’t always possible to expect a fair and equitable exchange. There will be circumstances when reciprocity may not totally work in one’s favour. Should that happen, it may be good to give the other party the benefit of the doubt.

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.

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