I recently read a great book by Frank Kenny entitled The 7 Secret Laws of Society. Some of the concepts you may recognize (like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) but Frank frames them in context for Chambers of Commerce and their use of social media. If you are a membership organization and you wonder how you can be more successful in the social realm, you should read his ebook.
One of the laws he writes about is the topic of our Friday Fix — The Law of Reciprocity. Before you grab hold of those powerful social media tools and begin promoting yourself and your organization until your audience’s ears are bleeding, know there is a much more effective way through the Law of Reciprocity. The Law of Reciprocity is easy to understand. As Frank writes, “When you give, you get. Generosity brings prosperity.” The Law of Reciprocity is similar to the idea of Quid pro quo or You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours but with a notable difference. It’s not an implicit agreement between parties to repay a favor; the Law of Reciprocity is a social obligation to return the kindness shown. As humans we feel obligated to repay the positive actions of others, even when it is not spoken between us. As Frank points out, we see this in the Twitter statistic of follow backs — about 80% of people practice this concept. It’s more than just wanting to return the kindness of attention. We feel obligated.
Is the Law of Reciprocity the only reason to be kind in the social sphere, of course not, but if you show a genuine interest in people — be it your members, prospects, stakeholders, etc. — people will respond. They’ll retweet your blog posts, mention your name, circulate your photos and much more. Today, get out there and give of yourself, your knowledge and your time. You might be surprised at what comes back to you.