Social Currency Black Rock

4 Clever Techniques For Building Your Brand’s Social Currency

Social Currency Black Rock

4 Clever Techniques For Building Your Brand’s Social Currency

When it comes to marketing, a consultant company called Vivaldi Partners defined Social Currency as the extent to which people share a brand, or information about a brand, in their everyday lives. When someone talks about a film or TV show they watched, they’re sharing these things not just as conversation starters, but to show their personality and interests. They share to connect by trading in social currency. 

Here’s an example:

Imagine a guy called Jim who’s really into comics. This passion of Jim’s is a defining part of who he is. So when he shared a photo of the vintage Marvel comic he just bought on his Instagram feed, he’s letting the world know who he is and he’s gaining social status within the comic-loving tribe. He’s also providing something useful and interesting for people who share the same values as him. That’s why it’s called social currency: it’s something you acquire, increase and trade.

On our social media we share the things that we want people to associate with us. With every post we make we’re trying to build our social currency with other people. One of the most valuable things you can do as a social media marketer is to cash in on social currency.

A good marketer will tap into the human need to trade in social currency by creating content that people will want to talk about and share. This is all about creating a strong brand identity rather than simply trying to sell a product. Nike doesn’t just sell shoes. Their ‘JUST DO IT’ brand has created a loyal army of people who want to be a part of that ethos. And more importantly, want to be seen to be part of that ethos. Their Air Jordan shoes are a great example of how they’ve done this. Getting Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, to design and put his name to a range of their footwear brought a whole new generation to the Nike brand.

Here are 4 clever techniques for building your brand’s social currency

1. The Power Of Sold Out

If you get a first class degree from Oxford, Cambridge, MIT, or Harvard, are you getting exactly the same thing as a first class degree from a university like Hull or Delaware? On paper, yes. But people are more impressed by the former establishments because of the status they have acquired. This is a perfect example of social currency in action. 

Exclusivity is a great way to gain social currency and place yourself as an elite brand. You can do this by deliberately capping numbers or only taking on high profile clients. If you are one of the few people that gets a product/service from that brand, you feel like a member of a special group and you want to tell everyone about it. 

2. Capitalise on the Social Currency of tribe

People want to be part of a tribe so, as a marketer, you need to use that to your advantage. You need to build a community that provides people with social status and connection. There’s a lot of financial value to be had from making your social media followers feel like they’re members of a club. When people feel like they belong to a club they tend to spend money in that club. The Canadian clothing company Lululemon have done brilliantly at this, cultivating an athletic wear range that is seen as the must-have brand when it comes to yoga. Because of this, if you turn up to a yoga class rocking a Lululemon top, it shows that you’re a serious member of the yoga tribe and pushes you up that particular social standing ladder. You’re also highly likely to post photos of yourself in your Lululemon wear on social media, as another way of gaining that social currency.

Social media is the perfect place for people to identify as a part of a tribe. Although you aren’t consciously thinking so at the time, you share posts with your friendship group to let people know what you like and what you want to be associated with.

3. Create a tribe that people want to belong to

As marketers, we need to tap into this need to be in a tribe by creating a tribe people want to belong to and talk about. Fundamentally, people are more likely to share something that makes them look good. So as marketers, we have to think about what that would be. Samsung is great at doing this. They have to be because they’re constantly playing second fiddle to Apple. One example of Samsung smashing it out of the park was when they did a sync deal with the band Royal Blood just as they were breaking into the big time. Every time a Samsung advert came on in the cinema or online, there was the band of the moment. This is the kind of content people want to be seen talking about. Samsung makes content that their tribe will be desperate to share – especially if it gets one over on Apple. When it comes to social currency, Samsung is really on it. 

4. Share another person’s content to bring you Social Currency

Sharing other people’s content can also be a great (and free) way of building social currency. Some companies, like Lad Bible, only ever share other people’s content. They’ve built a massive business without actually creating a thing. 

You can build social currency by sharing interesting articles on social media that you think will bring value to your followers. Even though you haven’t created it, if you believe it will bring value by being informative, humorous or educational,  share it and in turn, it will help build your social currency among your followers.

How you can make Social Currency work for your social media 

As we’ve established, a big part of social currency is sharing – whether in person at the office water cooler or on social media. Therefore you have to make your content shareable. Avoid the boring middle ground that’s been done a million times before. Stick to the outskirts. People will share things that they haven’t seen before.

Another way you can get people to share your content to increase their social currency is to tap into their specific personality. When it comes to social media and social currency it might not just be hobbies or interests that people want to show off; it could be their skillsets. If someone is known as the funny guy or the factual girl they’ll be drawn to sharing content that reflects their personality traits. So make sure you mix up the style of your content to cater for different personality types.

Now that we’ve looked at the different ways to use social currency to your favour, look at your brand and try to pinpoint the tribes that are you are trying to appeal to? What would they share to boost their social currency? How can you incorporate this into your social media content? And if you need help with your social media strategy and content creation, get in touch today and see how we can help grow your social media results.



Black Rock Media is a Digital Marketing Company based in Brighton, UK.  –