How to Increase Your Social Media Capital

Portions of this post – written by yours truly – were previously published on the Dentoola blog.

Trust rules. That’s why I’ve talked about it in a post or two.

It’s among the reasons you and I check our Twitter “Follows.” Making sure a “follower” is actually a trusted individual and not some “bot” with “size-matters” issues (follow/follower-list size, that is).

Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith affirms how essential trust is – not only in how we do business but how we engage on social media.

Social capital (the currency of web based influence as Brogan and Smith refer to it) is built over time. Like monetary capital, social capital can be spent quick and easy or increased day by day if not minute to minute. (Read Brogan’s and Smith’s book to get a useful scope about who a “trust agent” is and what they do.)

Recognize the value of social capital and trust if you’re going to succeed using social media as an engagement and marketing tool. Join the social media crowd – only – if you’re willing to be a trust-builder through consistent and relevant content.

3 ways to increase your social capital by becoming a trusted voice:

1) Listen

Tune into channels that have a voice in your industry and/or your niche. Sort, cull, and develop a “feed” list of those who seem to have their finger-on-the-pulse of what would benefit your “crowd.” (Use Google Reader, etc.)

Who is creating or repeating (retweeting, liking) relevant, useful content? And while you’re searching, become a voice by opening a channel.

Start listening with a blog page on your website. Then launch a Twitter account followed by a Facebook page. And if you’re a networking maven get LinkedIn.

2) Learn

Spend time on your industry’s blogs, Twitter, and Facebook pages (see 1-”Listen”). Learn what content others are sharing. Learn how they’re sharing it and how often they share (post) their content. Learn where they curate their content.

Sure, trust is earned. It’s also learned when you become a student of others who’ve paid-their-dues to earn it!

3) Leverage

Leverage your trust into social media capital. For example, consider how you built your business or online reputation. You’ve become a trusted source of information and expertise overnight…right? Of course not.

How have you built your reputation in a specific niche? You deliver quality, useful products and information to a market segment on a platform of trust.

In principle, think of your social media presence in terms of how you’ve developed trust. You give excellent informational expertise consistently. And when people experience an issue, need, or challenge who comes to mind? You, of course!

Why? They trust you!

Increase yours online as you become a trust agent – listen, learn, and leverage.

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