Giving is Getting in Social Media


While many people spend hours hoping, and even begging, for interaction on social media, they never stop and think. They tirelessly try to get retweets, mentions, +1s, likes, repins, and more from strangers, but they never even consider the reverse side.

Those people you’re begging to want all of those things as well.

I don’t believe there is ever a reason you shouldn’t return favors on social media. If someone endorses you for skills on LinkedIn, I think you should always look through their skills and see if there are any they deserve being endorsed for. If someone mentions you on Twitter, which raises your Klout score, you should always respond. No matter what platform it is, you should always try to return the favor. People don’t have to go to your page and help you. They don’t have to interact with you. Return the favor every time.

Returning the favor also makes the other person feel appreciated. It makes him or her feel like your friend. That’s how you get “repeat interaction,” as I call it. They will feel compelled to follow you because you showed interest in them or his or her work. On the other hand, not returning the favor makes some people feel slighted. I know I do when someone can’t give me 30 seconds of their day to answer me or endorse me back.

This entire concept can be used in a more general sense, however. You can utilize it to promote interaction for yourself from new people which can lead to new followers and fans. You can put yourself in the other person’s shoes and share his or her blog post on Twitter. You can like and comment on their picture on Instagram. You can put that person in the position of returning the favor. You will see that while many will ignore you, there are a large amount that appreciate the kindness you show in going out of your way to help them.

What are the most effective ways to influence interaction? I have two that I like to use and they are fun and helpful to both people involved.

The first thing I would do is look at users’ social media profiles. Many people on social media write personal things about themselves in their bio. Simple things like “wine drinker” or “mother of two” open huge doors to interaction. “Dog lover” and “Steelers fan” are two more. Not only are you interacting with them, which is helpful to them, but you are actually mentioning something they like! If they respond, they won’t just be returning a favor because they feel compelled. They will actually enjoy themselves because they will get to discuss something they like. Make it fun for the person you want to interact with.


The second thing I would do is go to one of the advanced Twitter search engines, like Hootsuite’s. Search a keyword that will bring you tweets from the subject you specialize in and are looking for interaction in. Once you do that, search through the found tweets until you find a shared blog post that you think is good. Let’s assume the authors name is Shelley. What I would do is retweet it using the “RT” tag and not the on-board retweet function, which doesn’t allow you to write anything. Write something like “Great post, Shelley!” and follow it with “RT,” then her exact tweet which will include her handle. She will see that you not only shared the blog post she worked on, but that you complimented her on it as well. I also think doing the extra click to find out the person’s first name does wonders.

These are nothing major, but with these tips, I believe you can start getting more interaction almost instantly.

If you like this or have any comments, tweet me them or let me know below!

-Marty F. Nemec

View Marty F. Nemec's profile on LinkedIn


11 thoughts on “Giving is Getting in Social Media

  1. While I agree with pretty much everything that’s said here, there is the black hole that one must step lightly around; the “I’m only giving to get” mentality. I’ve met a few of those folks, and trust me, it isn’t fun.

    They’re the ones who will, without rhyme or reason, retweet things, like/comment on Facebook posts or what have you, and then expect (if not outright demand) that you reciprocate. Even if there’s really nothing there that you feel like sharing/liking/RTing/whatever, and there doesn’t seem to have been any reason for them do have done it, either.

    So while everything up there is valid, I’d personally make an addendum: RT, share, like, comment, pin or whatever because it’s relevant to your interests, either personal or professional. Do it because it made you laugh, cry or go “hmmm.” Do it, in short, because you want to, not because you’re hoping to get something out of it. Do it like you’re someone’s Aunt Judy, not like someone out to put a mark on a digital tree.

    It’s been my experience that it makes you seem more human and more prone to picking up followers and friends that are both interesting to you and your other followers/friends, as well as leading to greater reciprocity in the end (since you’re working in a group of like minds.)

    But hey, that’s just my 2 cents. πŸ˜‰

  2. Great article Marty! Reciprocity is very important in social media and in life. Not only does giving lead to receiving, but it also deepens interpersonal relationships as you said. Though, there can sometimes be an unfair feeling of obligation when someone does something for you, and that feeling has been capitalized on by politicians and car salesmen alike. As kaineandrews said, it’s best to “give” on things you are interested in and avoid using reciprocity as a tool to get what you want. I agree with that, in general. Though at the same time, it is usually a good idea to give into that feeling of obligation because of the rewards and personal connections that can arise from reciprocity. And in the context of social media, reciprocity is the name of the game.

    • You definitely know your stuff and I agree with everything you said here! Giving without expecting something back is the way to go. If you don’t get anything back, move on with your life. I hate when people try to force me to like their status after they liked mine. I didn’t ask for it!

  3. This is amazing. I’m not a huge blogger and I get only a small number of ‘likes’ from people who are clearly trying to raise their own profile. I always check them out in return although I rarely follow them. Your blog, however, keeps me interested and entertained, and even for a very low profile user like myself, I always learn something interesting.

    I don’t reblog on my site as I try to keep all the work my own, but rest assured I will continue to tune in regularly!

    • Thank you so much. That means a lot to me. I don’t get a lot of time to write on here now, but people like you keep me coming back! You’ll get followers. It just takes time.

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