The Power of the Law of Reciprocity In Social Media

The Power of the Law of Reciprocity In Social Media

Reciprocity and social media

Have you ever noticed that when you do something nice for people then tend to do something nice for you? Or that if you refer a client to someone they tend to refer one or more back to you? This is called the Law of Reciprocity and it is incredibly powerful with social media.

Reciprocity also comes into play in all aspects of networking, professional and personal relationships. Have you ever felt like you didn’t want someone to do something for you as you may feel like you ‘owe’ them? That’s because it is so deeply ingrained in us that we need to give back for any good deeds that have been done for us.

The idea is simple and is essentially based on the old “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” concept. This has never been more relevant as it is today with our use of social media. I believe that there should be one major distinction from this old courtesy and that is to always give more than you receive. Allow me to elaborate…

Engagement Starts With You

I’ve said countless times that engagement is the currency of social media but the most important part of understanding this is to know that you must be the instigator of engagement more often than not. Become an active engager on all topics related to your field by setting up Google Alerts and Twilerts to provide you with notifications via email as those conversations happen.

Listen More Than You Speak

The idea behind social media is being social so don’t forget that you have to care about other people for them to care about you. Take an active interest in other businesses within your local community and reach out to them online whenever possible.

Twitter is an excellent way to network and actively propagate the rewards of the Law of Reciprocity as long as you are holding up your end of the bargain. Retweet other people’s posts, answer/ask questions, click other people’s links, check out their blog posts and leave comments on their blog and social sites. Blog comments are indexed in Google search so any comments you leave with your web site in them (there’s usually an option to fill it in) creates a backlink and can improve your site’s SEO. Now that’s what I call reciprocity!

Warning: When leaving comments on other people’s blogs make sure that you don’t forget the next rule.

mentioning someone on Facebook helps invoke reciprocity in social mediaBe Genuine

I can’t rant enough times about how important this is. Lack of sincerity and selfishness are easily spotted so don’t even bother with half-hearted attempts to seem interested in others. People can read you like a Facebook!

This ties into “listening more than you speak” but the important difference here is to ensure you are radiating positive energy and not blatantly selling. People want to know they are talking to a real person that cares or they are just going to stop talking to you, stop listening to you and possibly even deleting you altogether.

Be Generous

Give away some of your best content and knowledge for free. The reason for this is that you will immediately begin to attract people within your target market and build the relationships with them that creates excitement and builds your brand in the process.  Plus you’ll leave them wondering how great your paid services and content must be!

Use tools like and Twitter Advanced Search to find people that are talking about your industry, brand or product and answer any questions you can find. Always be willing to help, be kind, share great content and all that you should ask or expect in return, is that they share it.

A Few Ways to Spread the Love

1. Retweets (Twitter)

2. Sharing someone’s blog post and mentioning them (Twitter)

3. @Mentions (Twitter)
4. Tagging or mentioning someone in a post (Facebook)

5. Simply commenting and “liking” posts (Facebook)
6. Sharing a post on your wall (Facebook)

7. Inviting friends to RSVP to and event or “like” a page (Facebook)

8. Commenting on blog posts

9. Sharing a post on Google +

10. Subscribe to a YouTube channel, comment on videos

11. Liking a post or comment in a LinkedIn group or status update

What are some of the ways you like to get exposure on social media? Likes? +1? Retweets? Let us know in the comments below.



  • Great article as always Melonie, good Friday morning read which reminds you of the basic approach of give, listen and help first in Social Media.

  • Dear Melonie, what a nice article with very useful examples of the law of reciprocity in action. Thank you for including mine. I would also like to add participating in a LinkedIn group, post something to Google+ or subscribe to YouTube channels and commenting on videos.

    • Hi Juan, I’m glad you like the article. The power of reciprocity is so relevant with social media and you are right it applies to all platforms, I was just using Twitter and Facebook as examples. Thanks for mentioning LinkedIn, Google + and YouTube, I wouldn’t want people to think it didn’t apply to ALL social sites, because it certainly does. I was happy to provide your example in the article as you are someone who really gets this and does a great job at it. Keep up the great work!

  • Hi Melonie! I appreciate your article! I have known that social marketing is about relationships, but how? what? Obviously people also want to know what others have to say about you, but the creative juices just weren’t flowing!
    Thanks again!

    • Hi Belinda, thanks for your comment. I’m not sure if those were questions back to me, or just comments?

  • Thanks for your comment Vesna. I’m glad you found this blog post to be helpful and informative!

  • Melanie, thanks for the insight. You bring such clarity to a very talked about subject; but one that is not always understood.

    • Hey Darryl, I’m always happy to provide clarity! 🙂 There is so much information out there and much of it is confusing and overwhelming for people.

  • Pingback: Social Media Strategies for Network Marketers | fb & Business
  • Thank you for this list of ways we can practice the law of reciprocity in social media. Coming from 14 years in corporate my experience taught me to protect my knowledge & wisdom so that it wouldn’t get stole by others who would claim it as their own. I bet you will find corporate people scratching their heads asking “What? Give it all away?” Yep this social universe will reward you.

    Lisa Ann Landry.
    Social Media Marketing Trainer.
    Need a light? I’m an exuberant force of light…..let me light up your life!

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