There are companies and entrepreneurs who have figured out how to make the most of the “social” in social media, while also providing benefit to other participants. If you aren’t active on social media yet, don’t go with the assumption that it’s all a snake pit and you’d better stay clear. There are many folks who have learned that all it takes is to be yourself and try to be helpful. Just don’t try too hard.
Customers and potential customers are smart, but it’s hard to know it all. Social media educators that will share knowledge and resources can help people and companies to make better decisions, take advantage of opportunities, etc. This benefits the poster in the long run by establishing them as a trusted resource. You can rally community support, drum up financial resources or pull together volunteers to help others. Going beyond profit motive and embracing a responsibility for improving the community is a noble cause that everyone can appreciate.
Try to be the person who is willing to connect people to people even if it doesn’t benefit you. Folks like to do business with people they know, people they trust and like. A helpful online friend can help a client in need of services with someone they know. The best connectors know a lot of people and bring their own reputation to the forefront for the mutual benefit of the people they are helping.
Being positive and maintaining a can-do attitude will always keep you on good terms with your online audience. Providing positive testimonials on products and services you have used, whenever possible, can keep your opinion important in the community. This can be a particularly powerful way to be a good guy on social media, because a group of small businesses like yours, when banded together, can make a tremendous positive impact on one another’s business opportunities.