Thursday, May 31, 2012

What's Your Social Currency Worth?

What's your social currency worth?

Your social currency is the value of your social networking influence. That is, how many of your friends trust you? And how deep is that trust within your friends' networks?

I've been doing some lurking on the various social networks lately, and noticing that I average about 2000 friends or followers on the most popular social networks. My Klout score is 56, and Pinterest members love my photos and repin them often.

But what does that mean?

How many of those social networking 'friends' actually trust me enough to buy from me if I promote something? How many of them will reach out to me if they need me to photograph their event (I also do event photography--family reunions, school reunions, parties, etc.)? Your social currency is the depth of influence your words, your status updates reach into your friends, your friends'-friends' networks.

Case in point, my sister in law Cathy, has a cooking business. She caters meals to local schools and sells lunches to hungry workers who have a taste for fine, healthy foods. She charges $5 per meal and does really well. I know because whenever she posts a picture of the meals for sale on any particular day, because I am subscribed to her updates, my smartphone blows up! My battery dies quickly from all the responses and orders she gets from hungry Facebook members. Even people who don't live in the St. Louis, Missouri area respond and ask things like can you "FedEx my order?" The responders are not just her friends, they are my friends, friends of friends of other friends. Cathy has a high social currency, her value is great.

That's because she has responded to a need, that is to eat, at a low price ($5) and she has great pictures to showcase her work. Now, Facebook helps her too, because each time someone posts something, whether it is a compliment on the food itself or the fact that a particular friend wishes they could get to St. Louis to enjoy the food, it is shared on that persons' page and all their friends see it too.

How far do your status updates reach?

My sister in law Cathy is a textbook example that social networking works, and she is using it the way it was intended to be used.

Let's go over the steps again:

1. She creates an affordable product 2. She stimulates emotion and desire by posting clear, engaging photos 3. She makes it accessible and easy to obtain

Notice any common denominators here? Ease of use, easy to get to, good to look at, appeal to emotion--the natural desire to eat, and networking.

Yes, good old fashioned networking still lives on Facebook and in social media networking.

If you want to take a look at what my sister does, click here for a look at the photos she posts on my page (by the way, she doesn't even have a Fan Page!)

Sometimes you can look far and wide and still not find your niche, then if you look in your backyard (or in the case of my sister in law, the kitchen), you can find a gold mine. What are you doing to increase your social currency and how much is it worth?