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As a savvy business person (quoted by others, not myself) I’m often asked the questions,  

“How do I....

Get more blog followers?
Get more friends on Twitter?
Get people to my website?
Get more sales?
Get more people into my store?
Get more Fans on my Facebook page?”

I'm sure that you get the drift. It appears that many feel that there is some magical wand waving necessary in order for these questions to be answered. I must admit that it is frustrating at times since the answer is so very, very simple and it all comes down to one magical word: Reciprocate.

Here is Merriam-Webster’s Definition:

Main Entry: re·cip·ro·cate
Pronunciation: .i-ˈsi-prə-ˌkā /> Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): re·cip·ro·cat·ed; re·cip·ro·cat·ing
Date: 1607
transitive verb
1 : to give and take mutually
2 : to return in kind or degree
intransitive verb
1 : to make a return for something
2 : to move forward and backward alternately

What? I'm suppose to give to others? If someone does something for me, I'm suppose to be unselfish and return the favor? I'm suppose to mutually give and take with others, even if there may not be an immediate reward? YES.

My mother instilled in me a respect and unconditional love for others. My parents also ran a business which pledged to provide Golden Rule service to their customers. The Golden Rule is an ethical code that states one has a right to just treatment, and a responsibility to ensure justice for others. It is also called the ethic of reciprocity. There are numerous variations of the Rule but they all basically say, “Treat others as you wish to be treated.”

I have always believed in giving to others without expecting something in return. When I ran a retail gift shop I coordinated with other local businesses to produce a newsletter promoting all of our businesses; we shared our customer mailing lists, we even ended up creating coupons for each business pass out to their customers that provided discounts to reciprocating businesses in our group. It was a huge success and eventually was able to sell advertising space in the newsletter; which easily set off the cost of producing it as well as putting a nice chunk of change into my wallet each month. When the original idea was brought up, many thought I was crazy. They couldn’t understand why I would willingly want to help others advertise their business and/or product with expecting nothing in return. Since I believe in teamwork it made sense to me that together we could accomplish much more than many single individuals or businesses could. This concept is not new, but overlooked quite often in today’s society.

If you are still wondering why you have no blog followers then let me ask you some serious questions, “How many other blogs are you following? visiting? leaving comments on?” If the answer is none or few then you have some work to do. If you expect others to follow you then you need to follow them. As your follow list grows you still need to make time to regularly visit your fellow bloggers and find new ones on a regular basis. The exact same concept can work for any social networking sites you are a part of.

Our main Twitter Account ( is almost up to 4,000 followers. When I first started using Twitter the followers grew quickly; however over the past six months I have become more selective in the people that I follow. By regularly RT‘ing others interesting posts, providing interesting posts, and interacting on a personal level I have grown our Twitter list of followers into a powerhouse of valuable people including many customers.

How does reciprocating translate into more sales? This is the most difficult question of them all, especially in our Country’s economic state. Instead of thinking about how to get more sales, why not think about how to connect with your customers instead? What can you provide them with that would be of use? If you sell jewelry you might consider posting articles (blog, social networking sites, article databases) about current trends in jewelry. How about providing information about how to correctly accessorize their wardrobe with your pieces? Are you getting the picture? Give customers something of use and over time they will reciprocate with a possible purchase. Purchasing is an emotional response to something that you’ve done or said or way that you’ve advertised the product. If you can connect with your potential customers on a personal level then you‘re on your way to a successful relationship with them.  

This post is geared towards business since I own several, however these concepts can be used as a guideline for your everyday life. Why not try to implement some of these ideas today?

Original article - All Rights Reserved, Marie G Rhoades© 2010
Photo - Barbara H.©

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