Social Currency: What is it and Why is it important in 2024?

Social Currency

Social currency is the value that information has when it is shared. Many consumers trust their family and friends' recommendations on social media over news outlets.

Social currency is the value that information has when it is shared. Many consumers trust their family and friends’ recommendations on social media over news outlets.

Social currency

Social media is an ever growing entity that continues to govern our digital space. But with our world view expanding and anonymity growing, trust is a valuable thing. It allows us to build and foster relationships with others and gives us a sense of security. In our digital space issues of trust are ever present. Many consumers frequently choose trusting their family and friends recommendations on social media over Big Tech.

So how can large companies turn a profit if they don’t hold consumer trust? This is where social currency bridges the gap. Social currency is the value that information has when it is shared between individuals. If something has a good social currency, then people want to continue to share it. In essence, it is a way to build brand loyalty and consumer trust by harnessing the power of recommendations and reviews. Brands can amass social currency, but so can individuals.

Individual currency

Social currency begins with individuals. After-all, it wouldn’t exist without people to fuel it. The psychology of it is rooted in how we view ourselves. Basically, people share what they think makes them look good. They will share things on social media that they believe will maintain or boost their reputation.

When someone chooses to share, they place their public image on the line. This is how we spend our social currency. Many of us want to make sure we are sharing relevant and entertaining content so we don’t lose status with our peers. It gives a sense of value and combines our basic human needs to belong and the need to feel significant.


Advertising of the past


Marketing success used to bank on how much advertising money a brand could spend on television commercials, radio ads, and magazine appearances. The more a brand could afford to spend, the more likely they were to make a profit. There was also a lack of brand to consumer interaction. Essentially, there was a clear boundary between large corporations and their consumer base.


In today’s world, social media has drastically changed marketing strategies.  It is more important than ever for a business to have a social media presence. As of 2021, 82% of Americans have a social media account. Now a brand can interact with their customers directly, like never before.


With the rise of social currency, businesses now have a method to  leverage the way people interact, buy, sell and promote on social media. Examples of social currency in marketing can be found just about anywhere. For instance, it comes into play when making a beautiful website so it is inherently more shareable. It is seen when Influencers share affiliate links or promote products. It can even be exemplified in a brand that has a long history of established quality. The goal is to solidify that a brand has social capital and you should spend your social currency on promoting it, and referring it to others in your circle.


Building social currency


Social currency is incredibly simple, but can quickly become complicated. Yes, it can build a brand’s awareness and increase leads but that only goes so far. Social currency can take a brand a lot farther when used with the right strategies. It has its bonuses and provides brands a multitude of benefits. Here are just a few:


  1. Increased brand awareness.
  2. More brand loyalty and credibility.
  3. Increased sales.
  4. Higher customer retention and rate conversion.
  5. More website traffic.
  6. Better lead generation.


In a world of fake accounts and spam emails, authenticity is key. Brands who are transparent about successes and failures tend to have a higher following and more social media success. Sharing your wins and fails on social media can increase a brand’s relatability. It sends a message to consumers that the brand is honest and human. Not just another account trying to sell something. The following strategies when used tend to have the most success in building a brand’s social currency.


1.Establish a community.


Having a community mindset for your brand is vital for success. It tells people that you are accessible and human. Inviting your audience in to get advice for ways to improve is a great way to start. It gives your audience a better experience. Allowing your community to tell you what you as a brand can do for them is a successful way to build loyalty, trust, and best of all — social currency.


2. Engage with your audience



With your community built, it is important not to ignore them. Our world is becoming more digital everyday. When people receive direct interaction and feel like the community space is active, it builds consumer trust. More importantly, it can help your brand expand.


Liking and commenting back on community posts is one method. Starting conversations and responding to consumer DMs is another. Even reposting photos your brand has been tagged in shows that you are actively participating with your consumer pool and building relationships.


3. Utilize referrals and affiliates.



Getting your product in the hands of an influencer can lead to big success. By having an affiliate link and your product promoted by a well known instagrammer can fill in any sales gap. It works because that influencer has social currency to spend. With thousands of followers who trust them, they can become a middleman for your product. When you have multiple people beyond you and your company to promote your brand it builds trust.


Putting referrals to work also helps. Giving consumers incentives for trying your product for free and having them share the results can further build credibility. The more honest testimonials you can have floating around the more authentic your brand becomes. Now you even have content to repost and more exposure to audiences you might not have tapped yet.


4. Find a face for your brand



Putting a human face on your brand is crucial. It makes you relatable and approachable. Having someone who constantly promotes your brand is a big driver of sales and works for you to improve social currency. Finding someone who promotes your brand is a big win when working to improve your social currency.


5. Be consistent


A consistent brand is often a successful one. Keeping up with socials, posting regularly, and utilizing SEO to gain visibility is all important to give your brand longevity. Things do take time and being able to successfully keep up with the pace of social media and our digital space will be the key to success. Consistency in your brand activity also shows that you are in fact active and therefore approachable and accessible to consumers.


6. Use data



No surprise here. Data is a crucial element to tracking the success of a brand. From small startup businesses all the way to top dogs like Amazon, data drives marketing. The purpose of this is to ensure social currency growth.  The more a business can garner social currency the more their brand will expand. With steady branding, consumers are more likely to return for additional purchases and recommend products to others.



A brands backing


When a brand holds social currency it impacts a few different things. It pertains to their influence on social networks, online and offline communities, and the degree by which a business is shared by others. In 2020,  $102 billion was the projected spending for the advertising budget and many built their campaigns using social currency as it’s base.  


The average consumer doesn’t necessarily trust business brands but trusts their friends, family and people they follow on social media for purchasing advice. There is one trick that is used now more than ever. Today, many brands push their products through influencer accounts. Because of this, many influencers essentially became the sales representatives for millions of products. The idea of recommendations and trust in other accounts fueled sales through affiliate links. In 2020 one influencer made an average of $5,000 per month through affiliate links alone. This marketing strategy is so effective that it drives 16% of global e-commerce sales. While this may seem low, it is still important to remember the context. All in all, it means that 1 out 10 of every online sale comes from affiliate sources.


Banking currency


Building your social currency is something everyone can do. Whether you are an individual or a brand. Social currency is basically a bank account. If you want to spend your social currency then you have to earn it first. If a potential consumer does not think that a brand has a decent social capital and doesn’t have an existing relationship with them, they aren’t likely to recommend it to others. Personal accounts work the same way. Friends recommend others to fellow friends and family members. If there is no existing relationship in any way, a follow isn’t likely. 


Still, you can easily add to your social currency. Being present on social media and sharing content can increase your social capital. It works for brands and individuals. Every time you use one of the techniques above you make a deposit into your social bank account. You can draw from it later when asked for a referral or promotion.


Use what’s yours


Social currency has earned its rightful place in the hallowed halls of marketing techniques. It even has become an underlying principle of how everyday people interact with social media. Whether you are a brand owner looking to expand your reach or even an individual user becoming informed, it is an important concept to understand. We see it everyday and it informs our digital interactions. Now you can be more conscious of social media tactics and put social currency to work for you.

If you bank online, use social media, send emails through any large tech platform, then your data is already being shared and sold for profit. It’s time to reclaim its worth and use it to unlock premium rewards instead of giving it away for free.

Invisibly is a platform that allows you to maximize the value of your data and earn brand rewards for it. The data collected is the data you decide to share – putting you in direct control, always. Connect your bank or credit card account(s), take surveys, and earn points to unlock your rewards from brand partners including Target, Ulta Beauty, Best Buy, and many more.


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See your data work for you.