In today’s fast-paced digital world, social capital is becoming increasingly valuable. It’s like the new gold rush, but we are cultivating relationships online and offline instead of prospecting in rivers.
“Social capital is the new gold. Add value to others, value others, and you will be valued, ” said Lynn Ujiagbe.
Social capital is the 21st-century currency. It is all about the people you know, the networks you build, and the trust you earn.
Why Social Capital Matters?
Imagine you are throwing a massive party. You have the venue, the decorations, and the snacks. But there is one problem – nobody is coming. Your party is a flop, and you are left with a room full of empty chairs.
Sad. Embarrassing, even. But that is what social capital is all about, ultimately. Think of it as part of your guest list. It’s not about having the biggest list but having the right people on it. These people will come to your party, enjoy themselves, and, in turn, invite you to their parties and events.
The point? Social capital is your ticket to success, both personally and professionally. It is not just about having many friends on social media (that you have never met or talked to).
With social capital, you need to make meaningful connections. Social capital can open doors for you, create opportunities, and solve problems.
So, how do you build your social capital right?
Build Trust and Meaningful Relationships
At its core, social capital is about trust. When you build strong relationships, people trust you. They are more likely to help you when you need it, whether it is a job placement, a business partnership, or simply advice. Trust is the currency of social capital, and you earn it through genuine interactions.
Scour Both Online and Offline Spheres
Unfortunately, we have become so immersed in the digital world that we often overlook the richness of our offline world. To build your social capital, you need to look beyond social media.
Online networks can be helpful. However, don’t underestimate the value of face-to-face interactions. You must interact with people online and offline and create a balanced mix of connections.
Leverage Social Media
Online connections are just as meaningful as offline connections. So again, let us not downplay the significance of either.
Social media platforms, especially LinkedIn and Twitter (now X), are treasure troves for building social capital. Regularly sharing valuable content, engaging in conversations, and connecting with like-minded people can significantly boost your social capital. Remember that it is not quantity that matters, but quality. Therefore, strive to cultivate quality relationships.
Help Others as Much as You Can
Unfortunately, people think or behave as if social capital is only needed on special occasions, such as weddings. That is why someone has not contacted you in ten years but sends you a message out of the blue, “Hey, long time. By the way, I am planning my wedding for December 15. I need your support.”
Social capital is built over time! It thrives on reciprocity and does not need any financial investment to build, at least not when we are so virtually connected. You need to recognize that people have feelings, and you can not just show up in their lives when you need help.
You help, too. That way, people will be more likely to help you in return. Be generous with your knowledge, time, and resources. It is a win-win situation that strengthens your social capital.
Embrace Strategic Networking
Building social capital that fits into your aspirations is of utmost importance.
Joining professional networks, clubs, and communities can be a goldmine for social capital. Attend events, seminars, and conferences to meet new people and expand your horizons. These gatherings provide opportunities to strengthen existing connections and forge new ones.
It is impossible to fail when your network always discusses building wealth, entrepreneurship, and investing. Build a network of friends that fit into your future aspirations. Leverage their knowledge and experience.
For the End: Social Capital Impact on Your Life
Social capital is hugely important, and building and using it properly can significantly improve your quality of life. It can save you money, make you money, and get you a better job. Social capital can make things easier and safer for you.
Learn to connect with people inside and outside your circles. Catch up with people from time to time. See how they are doing, send them a birthday message, check their social media, and comment something positive and inspiring.
It could be a relative, a colleague, a former classmate, a former or current boss, or your parents.
Think of social capital as a long-term investment. It is not something that brings immediate results. Building trust and relationships takes time, but the payoff can be enormous. It can be a safety net during tough times and a launchpad for future endeavors.