Blog Technology & Social

Social Media as Currency

What’s The Trend:
Networking and social exchanges have come to dominate consumer behavior. In response, brands are turning to online interaction methods to help spread brand awareness by using social media platforms as a form of currency; a way to exchange goods for social engagement.(1)

What’s New:
The trend of Social Media as Currency demonstrates a shift in consumer engagement towards “more reciprocal yet socially integrated methods of day-to-day interaction.”(2) Brands are taking advantage of the rise of user involvement with such sites as Twitter and Instagram by offering discounts and rewards for a consumer’s supportive tweet or picture. Companies are utilizing consumers as their brand advocates.

For example, Doorman is a San Francisco-based company that created an app through which consumers can place shipments to be delivered by a variety of carriers. A consumer’s package is delivered to a Doorman warehouse. The person is notified of the package arrival and then is able to schedule a delivery through the Doorman app to ensure delivery. The service costs $7/piece, but if the customer tweets or posts to Facebook, Doorman delivers for free. Cofounder and CEO Zander Adell says this exchange helps spread the company’s brand message while reinforcing loyal customers.

Some marketers are skeptical that social media as currency can start to devalue the power of sharing. Adell counters this notion by saying that these exchanges say to the customer, “it’s so valuable to me that you talk about my product with your social network that I’m going to literally make it valuable to you.”(3)

In another example, Marc Jacob’s Daisy brand created a New York Fashion Week pop-up “Tweet” shop in SoHo. Utilizing the hashtag #MJDAISYCHAIN, consumers could receive a range of products from a fragrance sample with a simple post to even a handbag with a more creative post.(4)

Why It Matters:
This trend is pertinent to the Hispanic consumer as Hispanics adopt new technologies early and have a high spending on devices and content.(5) Hispanics are also far more active on social media platforms and log in to a variety of social sites compared to other internet user groups.(6) Therefore, Hispanics are highly likely to learn of these campaigns through social media, partake and then engage with the brand.

Moreover, studies show that the Hispanic consumer is a digitally driven shopper. reports that “95% of Hispanic internet users download coupons from retailer websites or mobile apps before shopping and 70% have used a coupon found on social media,”(7) demonstrating that Hispanics are willing to take advantage of digital offers and forms of currency via social media, making exchange deals appealing to the Hispanic shopper.

1. “Social Bartering.” (2014). TrendHunter.

2. “Social Bartering.” (2014). TrendHunter.

3. Truong, Alice. (2014, February). “Tweet For Your Supper—And Handbag: Customers, And the New ‘Social Currency.’” Fast Company.

4. Truong, Alice. (2014, February). “Tweet For Your Supper—And Handbag: Customers, And the New ‘Social Currency.’” Fast Company.

5. “Hispanics to Spend $500 Million on Mobile Apps in 2012.” (2012, April). eMarketer.

6. “Hispanics More Active on Social Media than Other Ethnicities.” (2012, March). eMarketer.

7. Hausman, Angela. (2014, March). “Marketing to Millennials: Shopping, Owning, Consuming.” Business 2 Community.!4oRSg.

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