This guest post is by Nathan Kash of Electric Blogging.
Whether you’re new to online business or you consider yourself a seasoned professional, you recognize the fact that a good promotion strategy can go a long way in generating income for your business. Companies across the world spend millions, sometimes billions (in the case of companies like Heineken) on marketing, which shows just how important it is.
Now, in the days of social media, more and more companies are adopting social promotion strategies to reach a wider audience. Some have even gone as far as to launch their businesses wholly through social means, as did Dollar Shave Club, whose YouTube video became a viral sensation and put them on the map.
More recently, social currency systems have been developed that can add to your overall social marketing strategy. These tools have the potential to drive millions of customers to your site in a relatively short period of time.
What are social currency systems?
Social currency systems are online systems that allow readers to pay for products and services (usually ebooks, reports, and digital courses) using the value of their social network.
In other words, these products cost users the price of a social share.
Social currency in action
There are a few social currency systems available. Here are two of the most commonly used.
Pay With a Tweet
Pay With a Tweet is one of the first services to implement social currency, and it was built by Innovative Thunder.
As the name suggests, this system lets you “pay” for a product with a tweet.
For a customer to get access to a product, they click a button that takes them to a Twitter page. There they tweet the required message to their followers. Next, they’re automatically taken to a download page where they can claim the product in question. Pay With a Tweet has added functionality for Facebook, too.
Popshop is a new service by SYZYGY that claims to be “Pay With a Tweet on steroids.” Rather than just using Twitter as a sharing medium, it has functionality for other social networks like LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, and Google+.
It’s a free, one-page, customizable WordPress popup shop theme that also features Facebook page integration. Here’s how it looks:
If you don’t share the deal before you click the Get This Offer button, you see this message:
This ensures that the content gets shared before the users get access to the product.
Why social currency works
Social currency systems are being used more widely by bloggers and site owners, since they work so well. But why?
They appeal to our inner cheapskate
The majority of people have an inner cheapskate. Whenever you choose to buy something, you always have the urge to go for the cheaper option. That’s just how our brains work.
Social currency systems have the same effect. The desire for a product is further increased by mentioning the price that the product should cost and explaining that, instead, you’re offering it for a far lower price—just a share! It’s a common but effective marketing tactic.
They provide a sense of value
This works hand-in-hand with my first point. People are not as drawn to things that are completely free as they are drawn to things that are “practically” free.
When you give your offer a price, no matter how small, it creates a sense of value. Something completely free seems less attractive because most of the time, it’s perceived as being of low quality.
Excellent promotion benefits
Social currency systems can be used by businesses to successfully promote launches and events.
A good strategy for ebook authors, for example, would be to release a “free” report or mini-ebook as a teaser for their final product. In return, they get shares and are able to create a buzz amongst millions of potential customers.
This tactic can also be used by bloggers to make blog posts and videos go viral, and this also drives traffic to their respective sites.
Other ways to use social currency systems
- Authors can use them to sell excerpts to promote books.
- Freelancers and job hunters can use them to sell work samples and access to portfolios or resumes.
- Internet marketers can use them to sell free reports to create a buzz for upcoming webinars.
- Speakers can use them to sell mini-courses for the promotion of workshops.
- Consumer brands can use them to sell commercials to make them go viral.
- Service providers and use them to sell basic versions of services, as a way to promote premium packages.
- Musicians can use them to sell music demos and singles for upcoming albums.
All in all, social currency systems are underused but have enormous potential not only for promotion, but also for traffic and income generation.
Is social currency for you?
Social currency is gaining momentum. Have you used it already, perhaps to buy something, if not to sell it? Have you tried other social currency systems? Do you think you could use social currency to build buzz around your blog?
Tell us in the comments. We all love to learn.
Nathan Kash (@electricblogger) is a professional blogger who runs Electric Blogging where you can discover methods of traffic generation, writing excellent content, social media utilization and how to blog effectively. He also gives blogging tips to newbie bloggers and seasoned professionals.