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Reciprocation Works Both Ways

Reciprocation is often talked about in terms of what you can get out of it. You might be forgiven for thinking of it purely as a tactic to get other people to do what you want them to do. But, as common sense would tell you, that is not the whole story, in fact it is just a simple human trait of “give and take”.

I do something for you, you do something for me. Simple, but often abused. If you want a good reputation, you need to be a generous “giver” and not a “taker”.

Reciprocation needs to work both ways. When people do good things for you, show you have recognized what they have done and reward them.

At the very least if people do something for you then they need to be acknowledged.

So answer comments, thank people who send you feedback, link or vote up your articles, re-tweet your twitter messages, and so on. If someone subscribes to my blog they get free ebooks (more coming), as well as all the lovely regular content you would expect :)

What if it is more than one comment?

I don’t like “top commenter” sidebar widgets because that often turns your comment area into a quantity competition, but you still need to show gratitude for people who keep your comment area lively. Occasionally I will write up a post and thank my top commenting folks or find  a way to help them in some way.

People who go above and beyond need extra special appreciation, along with acknowledgement.

Let them know you want to show thanks even though you know they were not being kind or helpful in the hope of receiving an award. People are sometimes offended otherwise, and whatever you do, do not show gratitude with money! That is a sure way to turn friendship into offense.

On my forum we have a Featured Blogger each month, to recognize valuable community contributions. The winner gets a free Authority Blogger Course membership as well as the praise and awe of forum members.

Contributions often matter most when they are simply and honestly friendly and helpful. In October the winner was Jamie Harrop from Jamie Harrop.com who got some excellent conversations going, and last month it was Educator Dan from Daily Home Renovation Tips who we have all watched go from a cautious newbie to helping out others by sharing his blogging experiences.

What can you offer in gratitude?

Have a think what you can offer people by way of thanks. Here are some things I do that won’t cost you the earth and that you can do even if you don’t currently have any products to offer:

  • Comment and guest post at their blog
  • StumbleUpon submissions and social media votes
  • Links and tweets to get them some attention and buzz
  • Have they got something you could review?
  • Add as friend to all your social media sites
  • Suggest some positive improvements or tips? (be careful that you don’t throw criticism back in return for their kindness!)
  • Write a “character reference” style testimonial – LinkedIn profiles are a perfect place
  • Call them up and speak to them on the phone or skype

Of course you can also say “I am so grateful to you, is there anything I can do for you in return …” :)

If there is one thing we all need in this new media world is helpful friends, so when you find them, make them feel valued!

How do you show gratitude to people who help you out?

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Comments

  1. One of the best ways to thank people is to proactively look out for them online via Google alerts. You can always then drop them a note if something unique is posted about them.

    Data points, Barbara

  2. One of the best ways to thank people is to proactively look out for them online via Google alerts. You can always then drop them a note if something unique is posted about them.

    Data points, Barbara

  3. You hit such a nail on a head here. Showing gratitude is one of the best ways to help create a better connection with someone. And it’s just good karma all around. One of the reasons I started following you quite a while ago was because, although you are a well leveraged/positioned person of influence, you send replies, you thank people personally, you welcome people’s input, etc. You haven’t let your success go to your head, and it makes you more approachable.

    On some blogs I fear commenting…that I’m just not “good enough” for the blog to leave a comment, or that the blog owner is constantly looking for a fight. That’s intimidating, and I usually don’t visit again. Because your atmosphere is so welcome here, you make people feel comfy in commenting/engaging with you.

  4. You hit such a nail on a head here. Showing gratitude is one of the best ways to help create a better connection with someone. And it’s just good karma all around. One of the reasons I started following you quite a while ago was because, although you are a well leveraged/positioned person of influence, you send replies, you thank people personally, you welcome people’s input, etc. You haven’t let your success go to your head, and it makes you more approachable.

    On some blogs I fear commenting…that I’m just not “good enough” for the blog to leave a comment, or that the blog owner is constantly looking for a fight. That’s intimidating, and I usually don’t visit again. Because your atmosphere is so welcome here, you make people feel comfy in commenting/engaging with you.

  5. Excellent post, Chris.

    One thing I try to do each week is hand out links to the people who contributed the best comments and the most comments. I also like to link out to all those people who comment on my blog for the first time. I find it’s a great way to keep them coming back.

    Jamie

  6. Excellent post, Chris.

    One thing I try to do each week is hand out links to the people who contributed the best comments and the most comments. I also like to link out to all those people who comment on my blog for the first time. I find it’s a great way to keep them coming back.

    Jamie

  7. Glen Crosier says:

    Great post Chris and relevant to all kinds of networking, relationship building on and offline. I know some times I’ve received unexpected gratitude it has really made my day and often led onto to deeper win/win connections/relationships.

    Cheers
    Glen

  8. Glen Crosier says:

    Great post Chris and relevant to all kinds of networking, relationship building on and offline. I know some times I’ve received unexpected gratitude it has really made my day and often led onto to deeper win/win connections/relationships.

    Cheers
    Glen

  9. I know by experience you live by these words, Chris. It’s funny: when you look at it one way, we’re talking about a psychological persuasion tactic called reciprocity. When you look at it another way, we’re really talking about the Golden Rule. But I think the difference between the two is in what motivates us. Giving only with the expectation to gain is shortsighted. Giving more than you take with no expectation of reciprocity is, paradoxically, the most rewarding path.

  10. I know by experience you live by these words, Chris. It’s funny: when you look at it one way, we’re talking about a psychological persuasion tactic called reciprocity. When you look at it another way, we’re really talking about the Golden Rule. But I think the difference between the two is in what motivates us. Giving only with the expectation to gain is shortsighted. Giving more than you take with no expectation of reciprocity is, paradoxically, the most rewarding path.

  11. Hugs and Kisses don’t count? :)

  12. Hugs and Kisses don’t count? :)

  13. Hi Chris,

    One of the best things for me about getting involved with blogging is the connections with people who really do follow the things you’ve outlined here.

    The “golden rule” is alive and well. That gives me hope.

    Best as always,
    Alec

  14. Hi Chris,

    One of the best things for me about getting involved with blogging is the connections with people who really do follow the things you’ve outlined here.

    The “golden rule” is alive and well. That gives me hope.

    Best as always,
    Alec

  15. Glen Crosier says:

    @Michael – yeah, it’s an interesting paradox isn’t it ? I guess some would see this as a conversation as purely about “tactics”…seems that although helping others, thanking others and generally making contribution is smart and can be viewed as “tactical” you still have to be the “right” kind of person coming from an authentic place of service to successfully “implement” reciprocity as pert of your overall strategy…

    I guess what I’m trying to say is I imagine yourself, Chris, Jamie and many other commentators, readers of this blog live the same principles in all walks of life…I’m sure people who benefit online from reciprocity by helping and showing thanks to others, find themselves “living it” naturally on a day to day basis whether we’re talking business relationships or personal friendships…

    Glen

  16. Glen Crosier says:

    @Michael – yeah, it’s an interesting paradox isn’t it ? I guess some would see this as a conversation as purely about “tactics”…seems that although helping others, thanking others and generally making contribution is smart and can be viewed as “tactical” you still have to be the “right” kind of person coming from an authentic place of service to successfully “implement” reciprocity as pert of your overall strategy…

    I guess what I’m trying to say is I imagine yourself, Chris, Jamie and many other commentators, readers of this blog live the same principles in all walks of life…I’m sure people who benefit online from reciprocity by helping and showing thanks to others, find themselves “living it” naturally on a day to day basis whether we’re talking business relationships or personal friendships…

    Glen

  17. Investing the best of yourself in others always returns enriching rewards in many different forms. Excellent message Chris – thanks for your efforts.

    Mark

  18. Investing the best of yourself in others always returns enriching rewards in many different forms. Excellent message Chris – thanks for your efforts.

    Mark

  19. I know what you are saying is right but how do you respond to all of them , someone like me i have over a thousand emails that i read everyday from people like you and that does not include marketing my own site so what time do i have left to read all the emails answer back and also market my product

  20. I know what you are saying is right but how do you respond to all of them , someone like me i have over a thousand emails that i read everyday from people like you and that does not include marketing my own site so what time do i have left to read all the emails answer back and also market my product

  21. @Barbara – Yes or use alerts the other way by mentioning them in online conversations, if they have an alert in their name they will see your nice words :)

    @reese – That is one of the reasons I don’t like the snarky approach even though it works for some folks, it just sets up an atmosphere if put-downs and competition.

    @Jamie – Good move. I think it is important to show exactly why people receive your gratitude because sometimes we feel what we do isn’t noticed, so just noticing the good stuff stands out.

    @Glen – “Unexpected” is a key word there I think, if anyone does something anticipating gratitude it hardly ever goes down as well.

    @Michael – Indeed, and it can’t always be a pro-active thing, but we have to positively react to kindness shown to us. As well as being generous we need to be grateful and gracious :)

    @Ahmed – They certainly do but a bit tricky to transmit electronically. In fact if anyone wants a top quality hug then they need to find a way of getting into the same room as Dawud Miracle. That man can hug!

    @Alec – There are some great folks to be met in the blogging world, I meet uncovered gems all the time :)

    @Glen – It does need to be part of behavior rather than a cynical task to tick off your list, and also not measured – I would hate anything to be put down under ROI ;)

    @Mark – Yeah, but when I do it I just like to think of it as credit where it is due, you know?

    @Lola – These things don’t take long and you don’t have to do everything at once. It’s well worth the effort.

  22. @Barbara – Yes or use alerts the other way by mentioning them in online conversations, if they have an alert in their name they will see your nice words :)

    @reese – That is one of the reasons I don’t like the snarky approach even though it works for some folks, it just sets up an atmosphere if put-downs and competition.

    @Jamie – Good move. I think it is important to show exactly why people receive your gratitude because sometimes we feel what we do isn’t noticed, so just noticing the good stuff stands out.

    @Glen – “Unexpected” is a key word there I think, if anyone does something anticipating gratitude it hardly ever goes down as well.

    @Michael – Indeed, and it can’t always be a pro-active thing, but we have to positively react to kindness shown to us. As well as being generous we need to be grateful and gracious :)

    @Ahmed – They certainly do but a bit tricky to transmit electronically. In fact if anyone wants a top quality hug then they need to find a way of getting into the same room as Dawud Miracle. That man can hug!

    @Alec – There are some great folks to be met in the blogging world, I meet uncovered gems all the time :)

    @Glen – It does need to be part of behavior rather than a cynical task to tick off your list, and also not measured – I would hate anything to be put down under ROI ;)

    @Mark – Yeah, but when I do it I just like to think of it as credit where it is due, you know?

    @Lola – These things don’t take long and you don’t have to do everything at once. It’s well worth the effort.

  23. Chris,

    Awesome post!

    Occasionally, I make it a practice of saying thanks in unexpected, but remarkable ways. Here are two examples:

    1 – I offered an 80% discount on a social media assessment to a worthy non-profit that attended our chat last week. My thinks is two-fold: “Thanks for contributing to the chat and thanks for being a great non-profit!”

    2 – After getting a SOB Award from Liz Strauss, I created this award to say “thanks”: http://www.twitpic.com/ksvs

    I don’t have the bandwidth to do this with everyone, but feel that these “big thankyous” go a long way in differentiating myself.

    Take care, Chris.

    John

  24. Chris,

    Awesome post!

    Occasionally, I make it a practice of saying thanks in unexpected, but remarkable ways. Here are two examples:

    1 – I offered an 80% discount on a social media assessment to a worthy non-profit that attended our chat last week. My thinks is two-fold: “Thanks for contributing to the chat and thanks for being a great non-profit!”

    2 – After getting a SOB Award from Liz Strauss, I created this award to say “thanks”: http://www.twitpic.com/ksvs

    I don’t have the bandwidth to do this with everyone, but feel that these “big thankyous” go a long way in differentiating myself.

    Take care, Chris.

    John

  25. Chris

    Yes, stumbled and reviewed. I’ve been thinking about creative ways to express my appreciation for those that comment or extend a helping hand. I like to link out to those that comment at my site.

    I tweet about their post, return a comment and so on. You’re right about gems in the blogosphere. I’ve met many, one in particular has took me over his wing as a blogging mentor. Guiding a young blogger as a mentor is of course another way to show ones gratitude.

    @ Barbara, that’s a neat idea… alerts- I may give it a try.
    :)
    - Miguel

  26. Chris

    Yes, stumbled and reviewed. I’ve been thinking about creative ways to express my appreciation for those that comment or extend a helping hand. I like to link out to those that comment at my site.

    I tweet about their post, return a comment and so on. You’re right about gems in the blogosphere. I’ve met many, one in particular has took me over his wing as a blogging mentor. Guiding a young blogger as a mentor is of course another way to show ones gratitude.

    @ Barbara, that’s a neat idea… alerts- I may give it a try.
    :)
    - Miguel

  27. It’s too bad that something like this has to be blogged about. It should be something that comes naturally to all who follow the Golden Rule. Of course, it helps if you’re a genuninely nice person like Chris. :)

    @Lola Atobatele It doesn’t have to be a lot of effort. Sometimes, just an email thanking a commenter on your blog for their words is enough. The little things DO mean a lot.

  28. It’s too bad that something like this has to be blogged about. It should be something that comes naturally to all who follow the Golden Rule. Of course, it helps if you’re a genuninely nice person like Chris. :)

    @Lola Atobatele It doesn’t have to be a lot of effort. Sometimes, just an email thanking a commenter on your blog for their words is enough. The little things DO mean a lot.

  29. Excellent post – I was very pleased to see a post about “being thankful” that did not mention the word “Thanksgiving” :)

  30. Excellent post – I was very pleased to see a post about “being thankful” that did not mention the word “Thanksgiving” :)

  31. When I first started my blog, Sheila at Go Visit Hawaii http://www.govisithawaii.com/ was a great example of generosity to me, and I’ve tried to follow her example by stumbling and more stumbling (with a few diggs thrown in once in a while) to my blog and twitter friends.

    I’d love to do something nice for people who subscribe to my RSS feed. I’ve just started with the RSS on feedburner. How do you find the list of who has subscribed?

  32. When I first started my blog, Sheila at Go Visit Hawaii http://www.govisithawaii.com/ was a great example of generosity to me, and I’ve tried to follow her example by stumbling and more stumbling (with a few diggs thrown in once in a while) to my blog and twitter friends.

    I’d love to do something nice for people who subscribe to my RSS feed. I’ve just started with the RSS on feedburner. How do you find the list of who has subscribed?

  33. Hi Chris

    Yes I certainly believe that reciprocity is really the basis of living life to the fullest.

    I have been blogging for a little while now and if I see something that I think is really good I will always digg or stumble or whatever it takes. If people do the same for me then that will be great but I don’t expect anything in return.

    Regards
    Anne

  34. Hi Chris

    Yes I certainly believe that reciprocity is really the basis of living life to the fullest.

    I have been blogging for a little while now and if I see something that I think is really good I will always digg or stumble or whatever it takes. If people do the same for me then that will be great but I don’t expect anything in return.

    Regards
    Anne

  35. I am NOT a frequent commenter here and I’m not likely to ever become one. I’m an introspective person who is not in the least shy. In cyberspace I have witnessed an imbalance in the signal to noise to ratio everywhere I go.

    I read this blog faithfully and I have not commented previously because I don’t have anything of value to add. So here’s my annual comment … lol .. I love reading what you write, Chris. I try to apply what I learn from you to my own blogging and I pass links to your posts onto others. Thank you. :-)

  36. I am NOT a frequent commenter here and I’m not likely to ever become one. I’m an introspective person who is not in the least shy. In cyberspace I have witnessed an imbalance in the signal to noise to ratio everywhere I go.

    I read this blog faithfully and I have not commented previously because I don’t have anything of value to add. So here’s my annual comment … lol .. I love reading what you write, Chris. I try to apply what I learn from you to my own blogging and I pass links to your posts onto others. Thank you. :-)

  37. Thanks for the free ebook ..
    Twitter: EamonSpotIdeas

  38. Thanks for the free ebook ..
    Twitter: EamonSpotIdeas

  39. Hi Chris

    I´m new to internet marketing and just found your blog. You have some really interesting posts here! At first I was surprised when I saw how much time You spent answering comments and questions from your readers, especially considering that you seem to be very successful. But after reading some of your posts it all makes sense. Your readers are a part of making your blog to what it is. I will try to follow your advice, and see how it works with my blog. Now I am going to subscribe to your feed :)

  40. Hi Chris

    I´m new to internet marketing and just found your blog. You have some really interesting posts here! At first I was surprised when I saw how much time You spent answering comments and questions from your readers, especially considering that you seem to be very successful. But after reading some of your posts it all makes sense. Your readers are a part of making your blog to what it is. I will try to follow your advice, and see how it works with my blog. Now I am going to subscribe to your feed :)

  41. Wow… thanks so much for the information. I am new to blogging, and kinda new to internet marketing, so I am going to be sure and put these things into practice.

    Thanks for reminding me that it is the little things, like saying “Thank You” that count the most.

    Beth McDuffie

  42. Wow… thanks so much for the information. I am new to blogging, and kinda new to internet marketing, so I am going to be sure and put these things into practice.

    Thanks for reminding me that it is the little things, like saying “Thank You” that count the most.

    Beth McDuffie

  43. Hi Chris,

    This is my first comment on your site, and the post on Reciprocation seemed like an appropriate place to put it!

    I love your site. I’ve been working on getting usedcargenius.com up and running for a few weeks now without realizing that there was a term for what I was doing–reading the phrase “Authority Blogging” on your site was like a revelation.

    Thanks for the great resource!

    Jeff

  44. Hi Chris,

    This is my first comment on your site, and the post on Reciprocation seemed like an appropriate place to put it!

    I love your site. I’ve been working on getting usedcargenius.com up and running for a few weeks now without realizing that there was a term for what I was doing–reading the phrase “Authority Blogging” on your site was like a revelation.

    Thanks for the great resource!

    Jeff

  45. Good post.When someone comments on my blog, I reply to the commenter.It keeps the conversation alive on your blog and the more good comments you get, the more valuable content you get.To me reciprocal is to submit others valuable content to social media sites.They will do the same for me.The more you give…

  46. Good post.When someone comments on my blog, I reply to the commenter.It keeps the conversation alive on your blog and the more good comments you get, the more valuable content you get.To me reciprocal is to submit others valuable content to social media sites.They will do the same for me.The more you give…

  47. This seems no different to physical friendships. If one side takes and takes a friendship becomes very one sided and more than likely is doomed to fail.

    On the other hand if you give a little you will more than likely get something in return. Give a lot and hopefully it will come back with the same level of appreciation.

  48. This seems no different to physical friendships. If one side takes and takes a friendship becomes very one sided and more than likely is doomed to fail.

    On the other hand if you give a little you will more than likely get something in return. Give a lot and hopefully it will come back with the same level of appreciation.

  49. What I found the most helpful on this post is the social time. I have been trying to get more involved on Twitter and other social outlets, but your post has given me some insight that I don’t have to live on the thing.

  50. What I found the most helpful on this post is the social time. I have been trying to get more involved on Twitter and other social outlets, but your post has given me some insight that I don’t have to live on the thing.

  51. That is a great article thanks for your share. A lot of the times when we work online it is hard to remember the importance of a simple thank you.

  52. That is a great article thanks for your share. A lot of the times when we work online it is hard to remember the importance of a simple thank you.