Social Currency is a new buzzword. It’s derived from Social Capital Theory which was created by the late French Sociologist Pierre Bordieu, and is now most closely associated with social media and how it has increased its grip on our behaviors. It mostly refers to the response we seek from our peers in online communities (social networks) when we post content. The greater the positive response, the more social currency we view ourselves as having, and subsequently, others perceive as well. It goes beyond that though. There is an actual physiological response that takes place in our brains when we receive this social reward. Our brains release more dopamine when seeking this social currency. This dopamine release actually gives us a “high” that we become used to, and start to seek more and more.
Social currency, and it’s perceived influence over others on social media is now becoming a very powerful thing. Sites are popping up everywhere that offer users tangible rewards in exchange for their social currency. This is the golden age for social media fanatics looking to capitalize on their social media. Here are 5 ways to get the most out of your social media so that you can capitalize on it.
1. Find your niche
Decide which areas you are most knowledgeable on and stick to them. Post content that is relevant to these two or three topics. Doing so will help you to develop a devoted following that views you as a thought leader or great respite when they are taking a break and searching for relevant content. If your content is all over the place, no one will think to follow you regularly because your content is inconsistent.
2. Understand the platforms
Each social media platform is different, and subsequently, requires different content that is native to each platform. Twitter is great for short bursts of highly relevant information made for the moment. Facebook has a longer life span and is best for blogs, memes, and other photos. Tumblr and Pinterest are the fastest growing sites and are perfect for highly visual content with great aesthetics as is Instagram. Don’t cross post on platfroms as this is a horrible mistake. Create content specific to each platform.
3. Choose a few platforms that best suit you and stick to them
Because every platform requires native content specific to the platform, trying to be an everything to everyone on social media is a full time job and most of us don’t have that much time to devote to it. Decide what platforms suit you and the content you will post best, and stick to them. If a new platform emerges and intrigues you, give it a shot, but only stick with it if you are yielding your desired results.
4. Don’t get competitive
You are only competing with yourself on social media when trying to build your social currency. If you view others as competitors or foes, you will lose out. Make friends with others competing for space with you. You will gain relevant followers, others will be more likely to share your content, and you will continue to build your online presence.
5. Utilize platforms that offer rewards for using your social media
There are already plenty of apps and websites that offer rewards for using your social media. Klout is a great website that companies use to find influencers, and the more you build your Klout score, the more perks you receive. Chitter (yes a shameless plug) will offer you instant incentives every time you share on your social media via Chitter, and is a free app to download. Using apps and services that reward you for your social media will increase your personal brand power, and make you more attractive to other opportunities down the road.