Social currency is a new term but not a new concept.

Look at your actual and potential opportunities or assets that come from your social presence.

That’s social currency.

How do you factor your social currency and put it to use?

Read on.


Understanding Your Social Currency

Social currency is an idea that spawned from Pierre Bourdieu’s social capital theory.

The idea is that the online communities you belong to grant you access to information, knowledge, and ultimately, your status.

In simple terms, what this means for companies or brands is that there is no value in your service or products if people aren’t willing to share them.

With that in mind, you can see how the power of your social currency impacts you, your brand, or your industry.

You have value.

The difference between your value and the value of a dollar is that you get to decide your worth.

If you have a “set it and forget it” mentality in the social sphere, it’s safe to say your value isn’t worth much.

However, if you spend quality time with your online communities engaging in relevant, useful conversations, your value is probably much higher.

Get To Know Your Sphere Of Influence

I’ll give you an example of how I grew my social currency back in 2007.

At that time, I worked in the non-profit sector and was charged with starting a young professionals group for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF).

I knew that I needed a base of young professionals to get started; I could not start this movement alone.

Luckily, the CFF had these Sphere of Influence worksheets to help us brainstorm our network.


Using this worksheet, I connected with other “siblings of CF” (I have a sister who has cystic fibrosis).

By forming a committee of young professionals who were directly affected by CF, we created a valuable social currency — both for the CFF and for young professionals in our network(s).

Finally, we used our social currency to promote a young professional’s pub crawl through Facebook and had over 7,500 young Dallasites register for our event in under 6 months.

Every person in your sphere of influence can attribute to your goals, whether they’re philanthropic or entrepreneurial in nature.

As a result, the more time you spend with your sphere of influence and building relationships, the more your online network with help with your/your brand’s social currency value.

Building Your Online Network (And Value)

We know that who you know — your network — is critical to developing value with your own social currency.

So it’s not only about your efforts to grow your communities but also to nurture them.

You not only need to add value as a member of your communities, your communities should add value for you.

Here are a few ways you can be a valuable community member:

Factoring Your Social Currency

You could use tools like Klout or Kred to understand what your social currency is.

However, these sites aren’t perfect and their algorithms don’t tell the entire story.

One of the easiest indicators of your social currency is the performance of your published content.

  • How many people did it reach?
  • What was the overall reaction or sentiment to your post(s)?
  • Does your content resonate with your audience/community?
  • Does your content influence your audience/community to take action (engage, share, comment, sign up, etc.)?

If your content performs well, and you’re adding value as a member of your community, you’ll see it through more followers, shares, and interaction.

If you’re not seeing any of the above, you likely need to work on all of the tactics I’ve mentioned above.

Building your social currency in a life-long task. Are you up for the challenge? Let us know in the comments section below!

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