This post is about recognition and extending the value in our networks and connections to translate into the “real world”.

We are overloaded with Social Networks, we participate actively, we manage our posts, we share on all the right networks, we build our relationships, we find a way to balance everything and we keep moving.

We meet at conferences, we tweet each others praises, we connect. It’s a beautiful thing – but I believe in all this we are all guilty of missing something – the hard evidence. The “Pay it forward” factor that needs to show for the “non-socially oriented”.

Where You Start is Never Where You End Up

Why are we doing this? If you ask me, I started exploring social media for business, I had no intention or idea that what I would find would be a community alive with people who have now become great friends and contacts in fields that interest me, people who have driven support, encouragement and enthusiasm which leads to increased and consistent daily motivation and success.

It’s a winning proposition, this investment in social, because through sharing, not only have I gained invaluable advice and guidance for my professional development, and business goals/vision – but I have gained mentors, friends, colleagues. People I would have never been able to meet before, and because of all these people, I am a better person, a better business person and I stay focused on what matters to me while doing my best to be a contributing positive force in this world.

It’s Not All About You.

Well, in this case I’ll state, it’s not all about me. Through blogging, through real life meetings, I also try and give back. If I have an idea or something I think will help, I’m there to share – it’s as simple as that. We all contribute to this incredible tapestry of knowledge sharing, personal  and professional support, and it’s a beautiful thing. We retweet each other, we dialogue, when someone is down, we lift them up. There’s a real community here, and it’s power is enormous.

 Show Me The Money

Is it about money? No. The relationships in social media are particularly interesting because they seem to sprout from genuine respect, admiration and interactions. We may meet on Twitter, but as we discover shared values and vision, we move those meetings to real life. However, there’s the business factor. Right? In these circles, we are all here for business. We want to move our businesses forward, and in that quest we happened to find “each other”.  Let’s call these relationships a serendipitous bonus. One, I personally could never place a value on, they are precious and give unmeasurable returns. This being said, let’s talk business.

Margie Clayman, Advertising Exec, author of The ABCs of Marketing  Myths and well known blogger wrote a post a while back in which she questioned the value (the business value) of all of these fantastic relationships.  Sam Fiorella, author of the upcoming book 20/20 Business, and Chief Customer Experience Officer at Sensei Marketing, well known speaker in the area of social business, also professes the same thing, the bottom line for businesses is profit.

How Can “The Social” Pay it Forward in the “Real World”?

Use the social media tools meant to promote business relationships, like Linked In,  to share your knowledge of your contact’s expertise. The idea never occurred to me until one day, a few weeks ago a very kind person – who gets “non-Social” networking, I am not even sure if he is on Twitter, gave me a recommendation on LinkedIn.

I was so touched by this, and it really meant a lot. It was then that I realized, “Wow, here I am – all social – and how often do I do this for the people around me who I learn from every day?”

I haven’t missed out on doing this due to lack of admiration, I’ve missed out on it because it never occurred to me. We tweet, we “mention”, it seems like we are acknowledging – but what does it amount to for them in the bigger picture on a larger scale?

I was moved to write a recommendation for the company, I even blogged about them, but it didn’t even occur to me to turn the recommendation to the people behind the brand, the ones who truly drive the phenomenal service. It’s about a change of mind set.

Sure if I dealt with a provider of a service I used, I felt very strongly to make a recommendation, but often in social media, we are sharing knowledge and expertise – that doesn’t always require a purchase – recommendations do not have to be tied to a purchase.


Social Media Is Also About Establishing Authority in Our Fields

We need to communicate the value others have shown us in ways the non-social understand. In fact, this not only helps the non-social, but it helps the social as well.

You can give people plus Klout or plus Kred all you want, and on a personal level, it is appreciated, however to give back something that the non-social business world will understand, you need to share your praise and knowledge of these people in ways that will actually help them.

So, when I say the social aren’t using social, what do I mean? Well, for one, I don’t see a lot of people out there giving LinkedIn recommendations, and frankly, I think it would help a lot of the members of the social community. If you’ve actually experienced your colleagues capabilities, or brilliance in their field, do something about it. A tweet is fleeting, a LinkedIn recommendation is pretty solid.

Not sure where to start?

Hint: Look at what your influencers, your community, your friends have listed as their “Skills and Expertise” in LinkedIn. Can you speak to any of that?

Don’t get so lost in social that you forget the rest of the world out there, share your admiration in ways that are static. Tweeting isn’t going to cut it in the “real” world. At least not yet.

It’s Your Name on the Line When You Give A Recommendation.

A word of caution: Please don’t give false recommendations. If you have something genuine to say about a person’s abilities, their business related knowledge, approach or work, then share it. This post is simply a reminder, let’s start extending this deep admiration into the community

in ways that make good business sense when warranted.

Someone really impressed you, helped you, shared something with you that gave you some solid business direction or advice? Share the experience.

It’s a whole other way to make sure you acknowledge and help in ways that “pay”. You never know when that recommendation just pushes that person to a new level, or into new consideration for an opportunity that otherwise might not move forward.

I am starting now, how about you?

When was the last time you gave a LinkedIn recommendation?

Have you overlooked this in your social media super activity?