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Social Networking Secrets & Best Practices: Part 2 - Giving is The Givers Secrets

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By Hector Cisneros

Have you ever wondered why some networkers are phenomenally successful and other struggle to even get one referral? Why is it that many are attracted to a few seemingly special networkers and others are shunned? Could it be that there is a secret that these few Super Networkers know, that others do not? Part one of this series shows the relationship between face to face and online social networking.  In this second part of Best Practices of Social Networking Secrets series, I will cover what those Super Networkers know - the secrets that makes Super Networkers magnetic. The secret that brings them followers and referrals far beyond the average business Networker. The magical secret of Giving! Giving you say? It can’t be that simple. Well, I didn’t say it was simple or even easy, but yes, giving is the magical secret. In Part three of this series we will explore another secret that demonstrates that there is no substitute for proactive participation. But in this article we will expose Giving in all its glory. We will explore what has taken me a lifetime of learning. Now let’s explore what I mean by giving, so that you can use it to produce massive positive result for you and your business.

(1) Giving is the Secret - The secret to Word of Mouth marketing is giving! It’s about giving first, not getting first. It’s more about serving others to the best of your ability. It’s not about quid pro quo. It’s not:  “I helped you, now you owe me”. That’s creating a debt and resentment as you become a creditor. I am talking about the Law of Reciprocity. What members of BNI call “Givers Gain”. It’s been called many things. My mother use to say to me. What goes around comes around. In this instance we are talking about giving without the expectation of quid pro quo.

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(2) The Law of Reciprocity is a Law of Nature. It cannot be measured on a one to one scale, nevertheless it rings true if you follow its principles. It's more like the natural interactions of symbiosis. I breathe out carbon dioxide, the tree absorbs the carbon dioxide, and in turn, it produces oxygen. However, I did not target a particular tree, nor did any tree pick me individually as a recipient of its oxygen, either. It just happens we both benefit from the action! Just the same, the benefit happen as a consequence of giving without the overt expectation of receiving. Receiving just happens!

(3) Givers attract like magnets. - Others are attracted to people who have something worthwhile and perceived as valuable for their success.  But don’t just take my word for it.  Stand in the middle of a room and pull out a $10 bill and ask a question. The person that provides the best answer gets the money as a prize.  How many takers do you think you will get? The same is true if you can provide valuable information, knowledge, techniques, products or services. The difference is that a giver provides more value than the perceived cost. Their knowledge is a bargain, their efforts are accepted as gifts, regardless of the price.

(4) Givers are credible because they are consistent. – Super Networkers are congruent in all their actions. Everything they do and say, everything they provide exudes credibility, not through authority, but through being congruent. They are very consistent in their behavior, professionalism, knowledge and in being a giver!

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(5) Make sure you use the platinum rule of business. – Not sure what this rule is? Its “do unto others as they would like it done to them, not as you would like it done to you”.  Networking is all about helping the members in your network; not your business. They are there for their own reasons, just as you are there for your reasons. If you provide the members of the network valuable services or useful information (referrals, testimonials helpful information) that is perceived as having greater value than it cost, it will raise your standings among those members. It will build your credibility and make it easier for you to ask for referrals. Help them look smart, help them generate business, and in turn, the Law of Reciprocity will bring you new business.

(6) Giving is not enough! -  In order to really help your referral partners help you, you need to educate them on what an ideal referral is for you. You need to teach them what a “bread-and-butter” referral is - (i.e. everyday good referral), what a “cream” referral is - (a great referral that makes your month), and what a “dream” referral is - (a phenomenal referral that makes your year).  You need to be as specific as humanly possible. There’s a BNI saying that goes “Specific is Terrific”. Your referral partners need to know the trigger words that they can key on. They need to know what to tell the prospect when they see the prospects targeted behavior. They need to know what a referral looks like. What a prospect would say, and what your referral partner needs to do when they see this behavior. Does your referral partner tell the prospect a specific story or give a testimonial? Does your referral partner need to give them your card? Do they call you right then? Do they setup a meeting for the three of you?  Exactly what do you want them to do for you! The more specific you are, the easier you make it for your referral partners. The more you help your referral partners understand your business, the more referrals will come your way. If you want to be a receiver as well as a giver, you must make it easy for others to give you what you want.
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(7) Social Network Posting Rules. – If quality content is king, then your social posts need to be geared towards providing high quality content geared to what your audience wants. Posting endless content about what's going on in your business is often boring. Posting lots of specials or coupons gets old quickly as well. Figure out what your followers' and referral partners’ interest are, and then provide that type of content for them often (at least once a day). By the same token, you need to educate your followers and audience as to what an ideal customer is, without directly selling to them. A great way to do this is to consistently provide authoritative posts via quality blogs and/or articles that you write. This shows you’re giving spirit because you are providing your expertise freely. It establishes you as an expert in your industry. See my article 12 Secrets of Social Media Success for more details.

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(8) Testimonials are worth their weight in gold - To get more credibility, provide more testimonials for others.  Do this in writing whenever possible. This turns your testimonial into a gift that keeps on giving.  It also makes the testimonial more credible and valuable to the person it was written for. This gift must be done in a professional manner. Spelling and grammar check and polished.  If you want to receive a lot of testimonials, you have to give a lot of testimonials yourself. As a general rule, you need to give at least three testimonials for everyone you could expect to receive. Also written testimonials are the best because they can be used on your social nets. They can be recycled and also cross-pollinated to all of your other social networks. They can be put in picture albums on your social networks and video galleries. They can then be posted as part of your “thank you” awareness campaign. Also publicly thank those who provide you testimonials and/or high ratings.  If you want them to continue this behavior, you need to thank them as soon as their endorsement occurs.
(9) You must differentiate yourself from the pack. - Being professional and providing good service is the starting point, however, you have to go beyond good service and professionalism because this is expected. Nobody ever asked to be provided bad service! Being prepared is half the battle. You must know your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), your ideal customer profile, your competitive advantage etc.  You then must market these distinctions to brand yourself in a deliberate and congruent way to gain market share. Blogging on a regular basis about your industry will help a lot.  Make sure you provide quality articles pertaining to your industry at least once a week. This is a great way to differentiate yourself. Posting quality blogs to your social nets are worth three to ten times more in value than posting others curated articles. When at networking events, make your articles available to those networkers that your information might be valuable to. Mention the free handouts during your short presentations or bring them up when talking with people in small groups. 

(10) The Rule of Three – Giving three referrals in the same week is absolute proof!
Give three time Three for maximum results!
Giving is the proof that you are working in someone else’s interest. If you want them to fully understand and believe you’re working on their behalf, give them three referrals in the same week. The easiest way I know to do this is to carry three of your referral partners' business cards in your keys pocket, until you give those cards out to qualified referrals.  You keep them with your keys on the dresser at night and put them back in your pocket the next day until you successfully acquire three qualified referrals. Receiving three qualified referrals from a partner does 3 things. It proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that you were working for them, it proves you’re a credible Networker and three it creates social equity. The feeling that they need to reciprocate, even if they can’t.

(11) The Rule of 10 applies to many things in networking. – Bad things have much greater impact on your company or efforts than good things you do. For example: bad behavior, lack of professionalism, or breaking the rules of the group, has a weight of negative 10.  Whereas good behavior, such as following the rules, being on time, providing great curated post, giving a referral, etc., only has a positive weight of one. You can be great all week and help lots of people and no one will say anything, but fall down by being late or not returning a call and that news will spread like wild fire. Another rule of 10 has to do with distribution and sharing. You have to talk to 10 networkers in order to get one who is interested. You have to give 10 testimonials to get back one or two in return. More often than not – you have to give 10 great referrals in order to get one great referral back! However once you build up enough social equity, the rule of 10 begins to shrink towards the rule of three. It’s even possible to reach a point where you receive more referrals than you give.

(12) Word of Mouth and Branding go hand-in-hand.  - Word of Mouth or referral
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is similar to marketing to build your brand (branding). It’s about educating others, especially your strategic referral partners. They’re your adjunct sales team, so to speak. It’s not about direct selling.  It’s about educating others about your unique propositions, your special skills, your exceptional service, honesty and integrity. It’s also about showing others how much you care about them, not just their money.  Remember: no one ever joined a social network or went to a networking event to be sold to!  The joined to be more connected and get more business. To get their attention, help them get what they want, be consistent and also portray your brand professionally.

In this article I have provided 12 best practices and social networking secrets that show how giving is the fastest way to influence others, build a following and get more referrals, testimonials and more. The 12 best practices in this article show the reader why giving is so powerful. They clearly show how giving leads to receiving, what the relationship between the two are and how to go about being and effective giver. It also shows how being a giver, helps you to get ready to become an accepting receiver.

That’s my opinion. I look forward to hearing yours.

This article is a part of a three part series. I recommend reading parts one and three as well
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to make sure you get the big pictures along with fine detail. If you found this article useful please share it with your friends, family and co-workers. If you have a comment or a different opinion, join the conversation by adding it to the comment section below. I recommend checking out "Six Cardinal Rules of Social Media Success" or "Seven Secrets of Social Media Magnets", “12 Secrets of Social Media Success “ and "How to Win Friends and Influence People inthe 21st Century."  
You can also search for other related articles by typing in “word of mouth or social networking” in the search box at the top of this blog.

If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091,We will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," (in its 2nd edition), please fill in the form on the right hand side bar. You will gain immediate access to it and as always, your information is always kept private and is never sold. Don't forget to connect with us on Social Media.

Hector Cisneros is a partner, COO and Social Media Director for the award-winning, Internet-based marketing firm, Working the Web to Win, in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on TwitterFacebookGoogle+,  LinkedIn,  and YouTube.  He’s also the co-host of BlogTalkRadio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Working the Web to Win’s co-founder, Carl Weiss, make working the web to win simple for every business. He's a published author of three  books, "60 Seconds to Success"(available at Amazon and B&N), and "Internet Marketing for the 21st Century," which you can get by filling out the form above. He’s also the co-author of the new book, “Working The Web to Win,” which is now available on

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  1. Tis better to give AND receive, whether on social sites or via traditional face-to-face networking.

  2. This is networking gold!

    I especially liked number five: "Make sure you use the platinum rule of business. – Not sure what this rule is? Its “do unto others as they would like it done to them, not as you would like it done to you”. Networking is all about helping the members in your network; not your business."

  3. Very interesting, and true. But whenever I tell people I do not charge them anything up front to help with an insurance claim that might take 6 months to a year, or that I will handle small claims for free, they look at if to say, "no, really, what's the catch?".