Social Media Means Sharing: How to Build a Generous Platform Online

June 18, 2020  •  Marketing Strategy

The social media age seems to reward those people who succeed at the “most.” Having the most, being the most, and so on. But given the number of people on social media, it’s virtually impossible to be the best or “most” of anything.

When building your platform online, what is the best posture when the “most” is unattainable?

Selfish Platforms Isolate

Personalities or brands are often prone to building an online identity based on envy. Show people what they don’t have or a life they can’t live, and they’ll be drawn to you.

While it is harmless to dream, this type of social media content elevates the creator’s platform at the expense of other people. It leaves the audience feeling “less than.”

This is selfish. If you’re a parent, you would never stand by and watch your kid taunt another kid with a new toy. Chants of “Look what I have” would be quickly stopped. Why? It’s rude. If you wouldn’t let your kid do it, why would you use your hard-earned platform to do the same thing?

Generous Platforms Recruit

Several years ago, Seth Godin made waves in the marketing world with his book, Tribes. The book speaks powerfully to a fundamental principle of human nature: all people crave connection. Brands that can build their own tribe have powerful leverage in the marketplace, both in terms of profitability, but also in the ability to do good on a larger scale.

Part of the process of building a platform is finding your tribe. Your people. Godin writes that you only need two things to establish your tribe: “a shared interest and a way to communicate.” Social media makes the communication piece easy. All you need to do is establish your shared interest, and there’s no better way to do this than to elevate the common ideas and platforms of other people. 

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In short, it doesn’t matter if your content is original, or if it is coming from another platform that shares your values. If it helps your audience identify with you, it expands your own tribe, while generously recruiting people to the other platforms you share. Your peers will return the favor.

Here are four quick ways you can share more meaningfully with others in your social media channels:

  1. Share recommendations. Provide links to the things you find most insightful or meaningful. This can include blogs, news articles, books, music, and movies. Increasingly, “search” is becoming personalized. People are letting their social media networks do the filtering.
  2. Share your expertise. Whether you realize it or not, you are an expert in some field. You have knowledge and experience that you likely take for granted. But your expertise could be a big help to others. Your followers will appreciate it.
  3. Share your contacts. The days of holding these close to your vest are gone. If you don’t know the answer or don’t feel like you can help someone, try to connect them to someone who can. This makes the concept of “six steps of separation” practical and more useful than ever.
  4. Share your empathy. Sometimes people just need your empathy. You can remind people that they are not alone. All by itself, this is an act of generosity. If you see one of your followers post about some difficulty, respond with some encouragement.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Other people willingly share their resources, encouragement, and even humor. What about you?

About John Meese

John Meese is the author of the #1 bestseller Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One). An entrepreneur himself, John is on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and training they need to build thriving businesses from scratch. He is the founder of Cowork Columbia, co-founder of Notable, and regularly publishes interviews and insight at