“Sharing extraordinary, novel or interesting stories or ads makes people seem more extraordinary novel and entertaining.”

– Jonah Berger, Contagious

The natural human inclination to be respected, valued and just plain liked is a powerful trigger that, when harnessed effectively, can motivate people to share information. Humans achieve respect and influence by earning and spending “Social Currency”. This concept can be used to pull market attention towards your brand on social networks.

The idea of social currency is nothing new. Dating as far back as the 1950′s, sociological studies have shown that valuable information spreads fast and change behavior in groups. This information a medium of exchange that, purely through the act of broadcasting it, can earn credibility, respect and influence. Marketers participate in this exchange by spreading “novel or interesting stories” that will give the other users the chance to collect social currency.

Anyone can collect social currency, but those who earn it will grow large-scale brand reach on social networks.

Earning Social Currency

The one thing to always remember is that social currency at it’s base form is just information (in the same way that money is just paper). But it is the value and scarcity of the information determines the value in social currency. Highly valuable and scarce information is the gold of social currency.

Brands can earn golden social currency through research, idea generation, education and other forms of information gathering. But simply gathering large sets of information isn’t valuable in itself. Like a miner sifting for gold, large sets of data must be curated to discover truly valuable and scarce information.

Brands with the largest reach on social media are gold mines of social currency. These organizations regularly curate and publish the most valuable information with respect to their target audience.

Investing Social Currency

“[Your followers] want to share information with the friends and family that will give them the reputation of being a valuable person to interact with. So give it to them.”

– Dan Zarrella, Zarrella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness

Don’t just simply “spend” social currency by telling a few people in your network to boost your ego. Instead, put in the work to regularly earn social currency by doing the work necessary to discover the gold nuggets. Then invest the social currency by utilizing the technology of social media to shape and transmit the information across the largest human networks in history.

If the information is targeted towards the right audience, then this process will earn the attention of thousands of potential customers that visit your social media accounts each day to collect your brand’s social currency. This investment process drives marketing returns that pay back in perpetuity.

Curation is Your Mint for Social Currency

Curating interesting, relevant and valuable content on a regular basis is the way that organizations print social currency. Content curation takes dedication and a strong methodology that can work the process efficiently enough to generate substantial marketing returns. Because once the social currency stops flowing, your brand messages stop spreading!