Here's an example that might make you believe me when I say that however happy-clappy it sounds, being nice online works.
How many people can you name that follow you on twitter who have never engaged with you? By engage I mean, comment on one of your tweets, started a conversation or retweeted one of your links?
How many people can you name who you've seen being snarky to either you or others? Can you remember their username? Their blog? What they do? Chances are, you've not bothered storing that information because they didn't strike you as the type of people you would like to work with or read articles from in the future.
And then, how many can you name that HAVE engaged with you in a positive way? I bet it's quite a few more.
What is pay-it-forward?
Getting something nice for free and then doing something nice for free for someone else. Simple. It's an easy premise to understand. Say you retweet a link for someone that you haven't spoken to in a while. You've done something to help someone out, right? They should pay-it-forward by doing an out of the blue retweet for someone else :-) The whole thing is a bit of an honesty-box excerise, because obviously, noone is checking up on you. Noone will know if you don't do it. But, you could be missing out on a great opportunity to increase your client or customer engagement.
Here are 5 ways you can pay-it-forward, and don't forget to keep a look out for anyone at all doing these things for you!
1. Mention someone's business or job-search on your blog. As long as it's relevant to your regular content, why not give someone whose handmade crafts or blog articles you like a mention on your blog? It doesn't cost anything, and you may even find that they return the favour. Don't be afraid to leave them a comment or drop an email if you do this, I don't know anyone who doesn't appreciate this kind of recognition.
2. Drop into one of your forums or LinkedIn groups, and answer a question from a newbie. I'm a member of so many forums that most of the time I forget about them until I have a question that needs answering. Every week, I try and swing by one group or forum and find an unanswered post with a question that I know the answer to. I then spend a few minutes typing out a detailed reply.
3. Retweet a link from someone you haven't spoken to in a while - since you last spoke, you've probably both gained (and lost!) followers. Why not help someone else out with a single click, exposing their link to all your followers? You'll usually get a thank you in response (but don't expect one) which could be the start of a new conversation as well as strengthen your online relationships.
4. Comment on & repin someone who follows you on Pinterest - hands down the best way to gain new Pinterest followers is to comment & repin rather than just repin. It shows that you aren't just collecting images but interested in engaging with fellow pinners.
5. Comment on a blog you read daily - I often comment on blogs that are new to me. But the ones I read daily, I kind of just presume they know that I am reading. Which obviously, they don't. Getting people to comment on your blog posts is one of the big blogging challenges, and I speak from experience when I say that every single comment, whether it's a one-liner or a longer one, is really, genuinely appreciated. You'll often find the blogger will come and have a nose round your own blog and maybe comment too. You may even gain a few new readers. You can also leave your own link the comment too.
Here s a simple challenge that is guarenteed to improve your online presence, reputation and 'brand' engagement. If one of these five things happens to you, i.e a question you asked gets an unexpectedly detailed response, you get a totally random retweet from someone you almost forgot about or you get even the tiniest mention in the smallest blog - chose something else from the list (or make up your own - how about +1'ing a post on Google+? Or instagramming a pic of a DIY you tried to the person who inspired you?) and do it for some other person.
I hope this post has inspired you to spread the love - I'd be very interested to know your thoughts (and I always pay-it-forward ❤ )