Over social media, opportunities to connect with influential people have never been easier. Often, we see ourselves only an introduction or email away from opening new relationships. There are no boundaries or limits in this modern era of networking.

But building an invaluable network takes time and effort. It helps to build a strong reputation for yourself. You may not realize it, but if you are constantly asking too much from the people in your network, you can make yourself out to look Machiavellian.

It’s important to know how to add value to the people around you. 

When providing value to your network you can see the positives within you and the company around you. Start offering something for free to people such as introductions, ideas to improve on the projects they are working on, and a simple “hello." Your network should start to acknowledge you as a resource, connector and trusted source.

Below are three keys to providing value to your network:

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1. Give.

At the center of fueling your network, it’s beneficial to focus on giving and helping other people. By doing this, you are building a stronger foundation for the people around you, and developing meaningful and authentic relationships.

There is no better reward than you connecting two people together who can add value to each other's lives and businesses. When you give to your network, it's important to not expect anything in return. When passionately helping others, your network will likely be influenced to do the same for you.

2. Offer to teach.

One of the most impactful ways to help those around you is to offer some form of teaching. Perhaps like mentoring, offer to help influence an individual's mindset and bring the person closer to his or her goals.

Try reaching out to your blog following or your Facebook friends and alert potential mentees about your interest in teaching an area of your expertise. There is never a shortage of individuals looking for mentorship in some form or capacity.

Sure, we all have busy schedules, but taking the time to help educate someone in your network in a special category can benefit you in the long run. It shows you are investing in others around you.

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3. Build an empire of contribution.

Your network should never be viewed as the hoarding of contacts with you reaping all the benefits. When you become the immediate source of contribution, your value rises immediately.

View this as the power of building a strong community. It outweighs quality over quantity.

Support your own success by creating a way for the people around you to be successful as well. You never know how the individuals you helped will contribute to your life -- personally or professionally.

The end goal when building an "empire of contribution" is to be in service, so act as the connector or the creator for others. Connecting two individuals in your community should take only a limited amount of time from your schedule, but can help build someone’s business and create a lasting relationship as a trusted resource for you, with others.

More than anything, the joy you will receive through being in service to others, from my experience, is the ultimate form of accomplishment and happiness.

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