Asking yourself “how do I get more leads from LinkedIn” or “how do I get more business from Twitter” is putting the cart before the horse.

Of course, you want your investment in your network to pay off – new business, new partners, etc. But the key to growing volume, influence and inbound business value from every social network is to give, give, give. You’ve got to give to get. The harvest happens only after regular hard work to grow your “crops.” And it doesn’t happen quickly.

Feeding your networks is both a skill and discipline, but mostly it’s about giving back. Showing others that you notice and care.

For example, think about the networks in which you’re active, and consider the daily and/or weekly activities you could implement to constantly give back:

  • Retweet interesting content from others (instead of sending it yourself)
  • Give “+K” credits to others for their expertise via Klout
  • Write unsolicited testimonials on LinkedIn
  • Make a point of adding comments to well-written blog posts
  • “Like” more comments and content on Facebook (it takes just one click and gets noticed)
  • Positively comment back on someone’s Foursquare check-in

How are you giving back to your network? How are you showing those in your community that you’re watching, noticing, and getting value from their contributions?