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The rule of reciprocation says, essentially, you must not take without giving in return. We are programmed as human beings to know this.

“There’s not a single human culture that fails to train its members in this rule,” psychologist Robert Cialdini told NPR in November. Alix Spiegel’s story then even discussed experiments with tipping and charities distributing return address labels that showed when a gift is included in the transaction, tips, purchases or donations go up.

This is perhaps the psychology at play in social media. Companies and brands that give — be it content, gifts, prizes or perhaps discounts — tend to see some measure of return. Those that give generously or in a way that illustrates the giving more prominently are more likely to see greater returns.

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