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?