Social currency is extremely important for marketing success. What does that mean for you, as a brand? The average consumer doesn't trust brands, they trust their friends, their families, and sometimes even strangers on the internet.In the past, success in marketing was all about how much money a brand could pay for ads on radio, television, and in magazines. If you could afford a huge ad campaign, it wasn't hard to make a solid profit.
Today, digital devices and social media have drastically transformed how brands interact with prospective customers.
💡 Check out our guide on how to succeed in Social Selling!
One of the most powerful changes has been the rise of social currency. Word of mouth marketing and social currency is a way to leverage the way people interact on social media to grow your brand. By some estimates, word of mouth marketing drives $6 trillion in consumer spending each year.
What is Social Currency?
Social currency is the extent to which people share the brand or information about the brand as part of their everyday social lives at work or at home.
More simply, social currency is a measurement of how people talk about a brand organically, in everyday conversations. Think, for example, about the last time you had a great meal. Did you tell people about it? Share it on Facebook? Tell your best friend about it? That is social currency.
But why organizations should care about social currency? According to previously mentioned research, word of Mouth marketing impression results 5x more sales than a paid media impression and people are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend.
For brands, that type of authentic interaction is priceless.
🎙️ Listen to our podcast about why employee advocacy should be on every job description.
The Importance of Social Currency
Social currency and brand advocacy have many benefits. Some of the main reasons why you should invest in social currency include:
- More brand awareness
- More website traffic
- More leads
- More sales
- Shorter sales processes
- More brand loyalty
- More trust to your brand
- Better customer retention
Having, for example, your employees to share your content, products or services offerings, you can reach much more people than the company itself. In general, these are some of the main benefits of social currency that every company is trying to achieve.
📙 Read more about the 3 biggest employee advocacy trends.
Here are also a few shocking numbers on social selling:
- 78% of salespeople engaged in social selling are outselling their peers who aren’t.
- 92% of B2B buyers are willing to engage with a sales professional who is a known industry thought leader.
- Social sellers are 51% more likely to achieve sales quotas.
- 76% of buyers are ready to have a social media conversation with potential providers.
How to Drive Social Currency
We have already talked about how employees can help build a brand's social currency, but social currency also helps increase brand value.
There is a catch, though; social currency is inherently authentic. Social currency evolves through everyday experiences - a surprisingly good cup of coffee, a shockingly slim wallet, a great customer service experience.
However, that reliance on authentic interactions does not mean there's nothing marketers can do to help drive social currency. Having ambassadorship embedded in the core company values is crucial here.
The following strategies will help your brand leverage social currency in marketing and roll out a successful employee advocacy program.
1. Drive conversations
Stop talking to your customers and employees. Instead, create conversations. Ask questions, answer questions, even engage in a daily company conversations.
These examples of brands engaging in some good-spiriting ribbing on Twitter are a great example of brands creating social currency opportunities.
In order to drive conversations in your company, you need to be ready to continuously improve internal communications strategy. Many organizations are still not aware that they have brand ambassadors in their organizations. In order to encourage their engagement in social selling, organizations need to nurture open, transparent and honest communication in the workplace.
2. Create a sense of community
As our world becomes more digital, people crave a sense of community. Creating that community around your brand helps satisfy that innate desire while increasing your brand's social currency.
Some of the best strategies for building such communities include:
- Foster two-way communication
- Be generous
- Collect feedback and act on it
- Listen to your audience
The success of community creation will be heavily influenced by the participation of your employees. Making sure your company culture is supportive, that it promotes innovation and knowledge sharing.
3. Promote advocacy
Improving marketing strategy with employee advocacy is one of the main goals of every marketing department. An advocate is a person who authentically promotes your brand, generally for free.
Advocacy can be sharing a referral code for a great new product you tried. Advocacy can also be your when your neighbor suggests a great Thai restaurant in the neighborhood in your local Facebook group.
How do you promote authentic advocacy?
- Encourage peer-to-peer advocacy: The produce delivery company Imperfect Produce offers a "Give $10, Get $10" advocacy program. Paired with down to earth copy and simple images, this program has been quite successful.
- Help your employees engage in social media: Customers aren't your only options for advocates. Starbucks, for example, encourages their employees (called 'partners') to engage in social media and even created a guide to help encourage the practice.
💡 Check out our guide on how content marketing can be improved with employee advocacy!
4. Create engaging content
In order to encourage stakeholders to engage in social selling and advocacy programs, employers need to ensure that they create content other stakeholders will want to promote.
This means content localization and personalization. Dead are the days when everyone gets the same email or message and then we hope that someone shares it. Today, employees expect to get relevant information based on the roles and interests. Only then we can make sure that the content gets more visibility, which leads to an increase in social currency.
5. Launch a formal advocacy program
Research has proved that having a formal advocacy program in an organization is one of the main prerequisites to boost social currency. When there are formal programs in place, employees are more likely to engage in social selling and other advocacy activities.
6. Enable your employees to become ambassadors
As mentioned earlier, employees can be your best brand ambassadors. Therefore, they have a big impact on your organization's social currency. However, in order to drive employees' engagement in these programs, the process needs to be easy, clear and streamlined.
In other words, employees should have an easy way to share their company's content on their private social media networks. Today, employees expect the same digital experience at work, as they experience in their private lives. This is why we say that EX is the new CX.
7. Measure the impact of your employees' engagement
If you can't measure the social currency of your organization, it is hard to make improvement and achieve better results in the future. Yet, many organizations don't have an access to the right technology that enables them to measure the impact of advocacy programs on the ultimate business goals.
8. Reward your advocates
Many formal advocacy programs also have a recognition or reward system in place. Sometimes, these can even be non-monetary awards. Rewarding employees for good and desired behavior serves not only to encourage them to keep going, but also to show the others what's expected from them.
Social Currency and Social Selling
By now, we have seen how employee engagement can help improve social currency. One of the main goals of every company is to drive more sales through social selling, as social currency has a big impact on purchase intention of customers.
Even though many organizations would like their stakeholders to engage in social selling activities, this is not easy to achieve.
Here are the 4 main pillars of social selling that also drive an organizations social currency:
- Social selling is all about leveraging social networks to interact with potential buyers
- It is soft selling that delivers value to the right prospects
- It is often a perfect way to engagement with customers and prospects
- Social selling should be "Always Be Connecting", and not "Always Be Selling"
Check out this infographic on how to succeed in social selling and which is driven by your company's social currency.
Final Thoughts on Social Currency in Marketing
It is tempting to assume social currency is just another marketing buzz word that will quickly be forgotten when the next shiny strategy comes along. In reality, social currency is simply a different way of looking at the way you interact with your customers, employees and other stakeholders online. A successful use of social currency relies on being authentic, relatable, and human.
For organizations that want to improve their social currency, it is important to understand that they need to put employees at the heart of their organization. Moreover, employee experience has a significant impact on employees' behaviors and willingness to act as ambassadors.
What's next? If you are looking for a modern, intuitive and mobile-friendly solution to drive advocacy within your organization, schedule a Smarp demo today and learn how other organizations are leveraging their employees' word of mouth.