For the last 5 years, whatever success I have had in social media – retweets, +1s, likes, shares, or even endorsements and contracts – comes from being an authentic giver. So I completely agree with Jeanette Jenkins' statement below.
I set aside time to help social media newbies because so many did that for me when I was new to Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin in 2009. I didn't even know how to tweet for 6 months. No kidding. 2009 was a truly interesting year for me behind the scenes. I did the necessary reading and analysis, and I practiced until I found a style of my own, but trust me, I had lots of help.
Whenever I speak at conferences or attend informal tweet-ups, I get asked about what it takes to do well in the social space. My answer is the same: generosity. But its not enough to simply be a giver; you have to surround yourself with them. Seriously. Always look forward to making their acquaintance. Those who are genuinely happy for others' success, and those who believe (and demonstrate) that character and integrity are what you do one hundred percent of the time.
In Summer 2009, I had a conversation with a close friend who has tremendously impacted my career. She said to me: "Sean, social media is powerful. So don't misuse it by doing something that defeats the purpose of the medium. Have close friends, people who you know are in your corner, but always value the growth that comes with effective and consistent networking and outreach. Always see the wisdom of being a connector, and a giver."
Her words ring true today as they did when she first uttered them.
So what I am saying here is not a secret strategy or an unknown tip. Giving works. I like to retweet the words of Paul Steele and Christel Quek to constantly remind myself of what's important: that whether online or off, you give what you want to receive. Generosity is a quality that always pays well.