What is social currency and how to build it

What is Social Currency? Definition, Advantages, and How to Use it.

Social currency means your influence on social networks, online and offline communities, and the standard by which others share your business. 

Are you doing anything that stands out from the competition? Do people look to you for a specific product or service? If so, you have social currency.

A customer’s journey, from browsing to buying a product, is relatively straightforward. If you desire to turn customers into advocates, you require something extra – that something more is social currency.

What is social currency

A study by Vivaldi Partners explains social currency as “the ability of brands to fit into how consumers handle their social lives in today’s digital and mobile age.” Social currency (or social capital) refers to the relationship between your business and consumers. If your business gives consumers information and value, it builds social capital and solidifies its position in the market.

Advantages of Social Currency for Businesses

In time, you’ll start noticing numerous benefits that come with obtaining social currency:

1. Greater insight into your customers

Positive social capital develops the relationship between your business and your customers. You’ll have a more transparent view of what your customers need, what they don’t require, and any loopholes in the market you can approach. You’ll also see how customers notice your brand, which enables you to manage your brand reputation.

2. Improved impact

improved impact

Social currency helps boost the market value of your brand. When a consumer perceives others are also experiencing your products and services, they’ll likely trust and try what you have to offer.

3. A larger circle of influence

When a brand gets enough social currency, it becomes an influencer in its industry. It solidifies its position and earns even more leverage with other influencers.

4. Organic growth

When your social capital reaches a particular level, you experience a snowball effect – all the work you’ve done in the past will intensify. Customers are already excited to share the product or service with others. And if this occurs through time at scale, you can anticipate a boom in customers and advocates for your brand.

5. Higher customer retention

Higher customer retention

Social currency encourages the kind of loyalty that catapults you over other brands. For instance, Target and Walmart allow many of the same products. But because Target has acquired social capital through its social channels, it has a higher repurchase or loyalty rate over Wal-Mart.

6. Premium prices

If you’re seeking to position your brand at a premium price point, social currency is a great help. Social currency changes the way customers see the value of a product by combining something money can’t buy.

7. Better word of mouth

Better word of mouth

Creating a brand your customers are proud to support gains social currency and increase your word-of-mouth marketing. Brands with high social capital are more likely to be encouraged and recommended by your existing customers.

8. Larger amounts of higher-quality leads

All the above advantages add up to this final point – more leads. By now, your customers are primed to refer their friends and family to your business. This encourages a steady stream of highly qualified leads, which results in exponential business growth.

10 Ways to Enhance Referrals with Social Currency

Want to build the social currency of your business? We put together some top actionable strategies you can begin using today. Below are several ideas to gain social capital with your customers

1. Discover influencers and brand ambassadors.

When an influencer or brand ambassador supports your company, you’re borrowing their social currency. After all, these individuals will only support a brand they love and think extends their follower’s value. Focus on finding representatives who resonate with your audience and whose fans respect and trust them.

Influencer marketing and brand ambassador programs are some of the most powerful ways to create more social currency. Brand ambassador programs have also been demonstrated to help you grow your brand ten times faster.

Social currency dimensions used: Affiliation, conversation, advocacy

2. Build a community

Build a community

One of the most strong social currencies approaches is to create communities. It is particularly true for your target customers. For instance, suppose your business sells an organic cleaning spray. You might form a Facebook group for people to share natural home cleaning tips. By doing this, you’re allowing affiliation and identity to your members. You’re also drawing others with a growing interest in organic cleaners.

Social currency dimensions used: Affiliation, advocacy, identity

3. Show what’s unique about you

What makes you stand out from your competitors? Do you have a unique selling point? Find what makes you stand out and highlight those features in all of your marketing efforts. This is not only a great selling tactic for your brand, but it also helps to drive social capital and sharing.

Social currency dimensions used: Utility, affiliation, advocacy

4. Create explainer videos

 Create explainer videos

Every brand desires to have the next viral video hit. While it’s difficult to predict what will go viral, creating valuable video content is a good place to start. An easy explainer or how-to video is always important for consumers. As long as you concentrate on valuable insights or tips, you can be sure your customers will be watching.

Social currency dimensions used: Utility, information, advocacy

5. Incentivize your advocates

incentivize your advocates

The majority of people trust their peers’ recommendations, making referral programs one of the most powerful ways to build your business. However, referral programs need the right incentives to work. Consider giving coupons, vouchers, gift cards, or other proven referral rewards for your advocates. You can also give a shout-out to your top referrers within your community.

Social currency dimensions used: Utility, advocacy, conversation, affiliation, identity

6. Launch an informational campaign

It’s always necessary to share key information with your customers. Forming knowledge bases, online learning portals, guidebooks, and other informational resources is a great way to build your social capital.

Social currency dimensions used: Information, conversation

7. Add gamification

Considering game mechanics or competition structures in your marketing efforts. For instance, you can ask customers to complete challenges, progress through levels, and earn points.

Gamification can easily be employed in a loyalty program or referral program. It can also be used in a promotional contest to create buzz around your brand (much more interesting than a traditional ad).

The fun and utility customers get out of this marketing style can further drive them to share your brand. Just make sure you allow a way for them to share their accomplishments throughout the campaign easily.

Social currency dimensions used: Identity, affiliation, utility, advocacy

8. Create a sense of exclusivity

Yield exclusive brand “secrets” with your most loyal customers – things that aren’t known by the common public. This can be a secret menu item, a members-only event, or a private sale.

No matter the mystery, the offer of exclusive info raises your social capital among your select customers. This drives them to speak about your brand with their friends to all experience the same benefits. These friends, in turn, will also share with their friends, which gives your brand’s social currency a huge boost.

Social currency dimensions used: Utility, information

9. Optimize content for social media sharing

Optimize content for social media sharing

One of the simplest ways to boost your social currency is to create products and content optimized for social media sharing. Whether it’s a highly shareable product, an Instagrammable brand experience, a humorous Tweet, an on-trend brand video, this content can quickly boost your social capital. Just make sure to deliver what your audience wants and stay true to your brand voice and tone.

Social currency dimensions used: Conversation, utility, affiliation

10. Put a face to your social capital efforts

Featuring your best customers is a great way to show them you appreciate their efforts and helps form key identities within your community. In a referral program, for example, this may include highlighting your top-referring customers and new referrals.

Social currency dimensions used: Identity, advocacy.


Whether you’re actively building social currency or not, many of the listed dimensions may already play a role in your brand strategy. They effectively help you form deeper relationships with customers and complement any other growth and referral marketing strategies.

The result? Even more high-quality leads and referrals. Review your current marketing strategies and look for other areas you can add to your social capital.


Shivani is a content writer at InviteReferrals. She writes SEO articles, blogs, and guest posts for businesses to improve website ranking on SERP. She follows a balanced approach for the quality of content and its marketing. She loves to do creativity, although she had an English major in her graduation.