In our previous blog post, we reviewed the most effective ways to establish yourself as an expert online by joining and becoming a contributing member of online communities, including Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups and the millions of message boards that are available on the Internet. Joining an online community requires an investment of time. Even before you post your first messages, you should “lurk” and ensure that you understand the particular rules and code of conduct of a particular community, and once you do begin posting and contributing to the community, you may be asked to answer questions and offer assistance to other members on an ongoing basis.

Helping Others Is Good For You

At this point, it is understandable that many busy professionals, entrepreneurs and managers may not believe that helping others online is a good investment of time, especially since creating content marketing for blogs and social media accounts is often easier and requires less interaction with others. However, in addition to the benefits of helping others online that we previously outlined, there are other benefits to helping others as well, including benefits for your professional life and personal health and well-being.

Helping Others Can Boost Your Business And Career

Whether you are helping strangers online or helping your employees in the office, helping others can be good for your business and for your career. As a subject matter expert, you have a wealth of both academic and practical knowledge, in addition to the experience you can apply to real-world problems that others may face. Anyone can claim to be an expert, both online and in the “real world,” but actually proving it is the key to gaining the trust and potentially the business of others. If you have carefully chosen the right groups and online communities to join, it is likely that the group includes members of your industry and other professionals and business leaders in your community. By actively participating and demonstrating both the breadth of your knowledge and experience and your willingness to assist others, you have the opportunity to make excellent impressions on others who may be in the position, now or in the future, to employ you or your business or to pass along choice opportunities.

Helping Others Can Boost Your Health and Happiness

While there are many practical benefits to helping others online, including establishing and boosting your online reputation and attracting new leads and opportunities, your willingness to help others should be based, at least partially, on true altruism. People who just pretend to be altruistic when helping others often have a hard time hiding their true feelings and intentions – if you have participated in a charity event with others who may have been pressured to attend, you may have noticed an unwillingness to participate or a lack of interest among those not committed to the cause. If you are helping others online and you aren’t truly interested in helping them, others may be able to sense this, which could be harmful to your reputation in the community.

Helping Others Can Connect You To New People

In addition to these business-related reasons for not “faking” your altruism, many people experience personal benefits for nurturing and developing their altruistic natures. Helping others and participating in communities connects you with other people outside of your usual circles of friends, colleagues, employees and partners. Meeting new people can provide different perspectives and insights into your industry and community and can be intellectually and emotionally refreshing. Another benefit of helping others, which naturally includes interacting with more people, is the boost it can give to your communication and interpersonal skills, especially if your roll in your business or organization doesn’t include client-facing interactions.

Helping Others Can Boost Your Confidence

Finally, successfully helping others can provide a boost to your self-esteem and confidence, especially if you are experiencing professional difficulties or a decrease in business. It can be hard to generate business or leads, but it’s not as difficult to find individuals online that need assistance, and helping others can give you the confidence you need to pursue for-profit opportunities.