Just a Dragon at Pageant of the Masters Back Studio Taken By Bridget Willard 6/2/14

Keys to Being Social: Generosity

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” J. R. R. Tolkien

Have you encountered a generous person online? They’re the ones who make you feel special, though they follow thousands or tens of thousands of people. How do they do it?

Often it’s more useful to define concepts by their opposites. Being selfish or stingy is regarded as anti-social behavior both online and off. Yet, this creature manifests itself brazenly on social media all of the time. It’s your inner me-me-me dragon.

It’s possible you haven’t intended to hold back but realize you’re not getting very much engagement. Is it because you post and go?

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times:

If you want to have friends, you have to be a friend.

“…if you get on Twitter and you present yourself as a business with a reputation for helping others, guess what, the law of reciprocity is going to come back and help you at some point.”

Darren Slaughter, “Ten Ways Contractors Should Be Using but Aren’t

Tame the Stingy Dragon – Be a Generous Guru

Here are some ways to tame your inner dragon.

(I know it’s a hard concept but social media isn’t all about you.)


  • Did a new account just follow you? Send out a welcome Tweet. Something like: “Hey @soandso – Welcome to Twitter! Nice to see another _________ on the block.” I do this a lot with my construction peeps.
  • Upon a new follow, finding a recent tweet to favorite or retweet is a generous thing to do.
  • An Old School Retweet is a way to expose someone to a different and maybe wider audience.
  • Listing followers by category or geography is generous. They can be found among their peers.
  • Embed a tweet in your blog, which extends the life of a tweet. Quoting is promoting.
  • Going to an event? Peruse the Event Hashtag and follow people and respond to tweets.
  • Though hosting Twitter chats is Twitter 401, it is an effective way to expose people to a targeted (topic centered) audience.


  • Credit people in comments.
  • Pin blog posts you read.
  • Repin other people’s pins.
  • Join Group Boards
  • Follow new people back.

Facebook Pages

  • When a new Facebook Page likes yours, check their page out. Comment on something.
  • Tweet out their Facebook Page and Twitter handle on Facebook Liking Tuesdays (#FBLT).

Google Plus

  • Add people to your circles.
  • Comment on their posts.
  • Share posts you see on other networks on Google Plus. It helps so much with search results.


  • Comment on posts.
  • Endorse people.
  • Recommend jobs to people.
  • Write recommendations for those you believe in.


  • Follow people back.
  • Search hashtags and find new people to follow. Comment on a few recent photos (going backward too far can be perceived as creepy).
  • Comment on the photos.
  • Respond to comments on your photos.


  • Embed tweets.
  • Subscribe to other people’s blogs
  • Credit people who inspired you to write the post (link to their blog).
  • Quote people in your blog post – quoting is promoting.
  • Comment on other people’s blogs. The more substantive the comment, the more it’s appreciated.
  • Tweet, Post, Pin, or Share the blog post and tell us why we should read it.
  • Interview some of your favorite people that may not be exposed to a wider audience.
  • Allow guest posts for those who aren’t ready for their own blog (yet).

You should notice a theme: follow, comment, share. This is generous behavior. Rinse and Repeat. These tips cross over to any social platform. If I left one off, apply the concept.

I promise that in time you will see the generosity paid back to you.

What are your tips?

Sound off in the comments or send me a tweet.

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