Recently I was on LinkedIn, and a person (we’ll call him Jake), who is viewed by many as a ‘thought leader‘ left a post on LinkedIn. Jake typically leaves posts every day or so, often asking a question or asking people for their comments. The posts are typically somewhat self-promotional in nature, but not too bad. I sometimes comment on Jake’s posts, and Jake usually responds when I do.
A couple of days ago, Jake asked for our feedback on how to improve a certain aspect of our marketing efforts. I left a comment with some tips. This morning, I checked my notifications and saw that Jake’s post was getting replies, and that’s what reminded me to go check and see what Jake and others had said about my comment, and to check other comments as well.
Jake didn’t reply to my comment. And I started checking the other comments, and Jake had replied to almost every one. The post had gotten dozens of comments, and all had earned a reply from Jake, except for mine and a couple others. I checked and noticed that almost every other comment included some compliment for Jake, then their comment. Myself, and the other two others had just added a comment, with no compliment for Jake. Such as ‘Jake I love what you are doing with X, here’s my suggestion’. Jake would reply with ‘Thank you so much!’ and go on, addressing the compliment, but pretty much ignoring the comment itself.
I checked a couple of Jake’s earlier posts and noticed a similar trend: If you leave a comment and compliment Jake in the process, you get a response from Jake. No compliment, no response from Jake.
Perhaps I am being naive, but I’ve always felt that one of the great joys of having a bigger audience is your ability to point that bigger audience toward other people. Yes, you absolutely want to grow a following and network so you can leverage it to help yourself and your career.
But there’s also joy in helping someone who doesn’t yet have your level of ‘notoriety’ to find a wider audience. To introduce these people to your network and your network to them.
There’s joy in simply helping others for the sake of helping them.
Look at what Christina Garrett has been doing on Twitter with #MarketingTwitter over the last few months:
If you have less than a 1,000 followers and work in marketing in some capacity, introduce yourself to Marketing Twitter.
Say hi, tell us about yourself, and what you like to tweet about.
— Christina Garnett (@ThatChristinaG) December 3, 2020
#MarketingTwitter started as a way for people who may have less visibility (under 1000 followers), to meet new people. And in the process, they will help others, grow their network, and grow their visibility.
Most people would never even think to do something like this, because it would be harder for them to see the direct benefit.
The benefit for you should be simply helping others. The best part of being a ‘thought leader’ or being rich, or being successful in whatever way you define success, is that it allows you to share your success with others, and lift them up in the process.
It’s great to lift yourself up. But don’t forget that some of life’s greatest joy comes from lifting up others as well.