Social capital is the currency of the internet. The more you have, the easier it is to get things done and get people behind what you’re doing. Once you spend a day shooting the breeze online, you’ll quickly see just how big the gap between social capital actually is. One influencer can have a bigger impact than thousands of people, and do so more quickly.
While obtaining social capital can seem elusive, it’s really not. Unless you’re a celebrity, you start out the same way everyone else does… Start from the bottom then, you work your way up. Social capital is essential, whether building your personal or company’s brand.
I’ve observed for some time now how this social capital works. I’ve “connected the dots” and have come up with a formula for building social capital on the social web. The formula looks like this:
SoC = C3(S)
Social Capital = Connecting x Creating x Contributing x Sharing
The Formula for Building Social Capital
Building social capital is all about effectively doing four particular tasks simultaneously. It’s worth mentioning that this is a marathon, not a 40-yard dash. You have to be in it for the long haul. It’s a job that’s never actually done. As long as you’re breathing you should be adding value to others and building social captial.
Relationships are the seeds of success, so connecting with people in and outside of your network is essential when building social capital. If fact, it’s almost impossible to build social capital unless you’re actively connecting built others and nurturing relationships.
Connecting with others is the “glue” that brings everything together. Touch base with people within your network at least once a month. Make sure you reach out to and engage with someone you don’t know at least once a day.
The more you practice connecting with others, the better you’ll be at it and the more social capital you’ll create for yourself.
This is the most effective way to add value and build social capital. What separates the “socially wealthy” from the “not so socially wealthy,” is that the wealth create. They don’t just create “stuff,” they create massive value. The influencers create “art” that is contagious and of high perceived value, and as a result they have a legion of devout followers.
The first thing to do is to figure out who you’ll be serving (target audience). Then, you need to find out what they aspire to be, or what problem they have that they need help fixing and create something that helps them get closer to that end goal.
Creating is ALL about taking action. Thinking and planning helps, but the world rewards those who are bold and take action.
This part of the equation is all about collaboration. It’s about creating, but from a supporting cast member kinda way. Contributing is about building up a cause that’s way bigger and beyond yourself. It’s about being selfless.
Contributing is at the intersection of connecting and creating. Contributing calls for you to take action and add something meaningful to the cause while working in conjunction with others.
If you want to build social capital, you have to contribute to collective works, and collaborate with others. Whether it be contributing to a company meeting, or Twitter chat, or mastermind session, contributing is a key factor to building trust and influence.
There’s something very unique and special about sharing, that’s different from the other moving parts. Sharing is the ultimate selfless act, it’s putting a great work of art on a pedestal for the world to see. It’s also a way of “bigging” people up to your audience and giving them value on a silver platter.
Sharing is the x-factor in building social capital. It has the greatest ROI because it doesn’t take any kind or investment to share something great with others. In fact, you should be sharing other people’s work much more than you promote your own. Think of Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” concept.
Remember, it’s called “social” capital not mindless selling. It’s about sharing something of value with someone else. Not to say that what you do create isn’t valuable, but just that tooting your own horn is the quickest way to get ignored.