Social currency, the new word of mouth

As the full potential of social media is slowly being realised, it has re-engineered the way we perceive advertising. Consumers have become averse to marketing campaigns telling us what we should buy and are now better informed to make that decision themselves.

The rise of the internet couldn’t have come at a better time. The global economy has suffered, squeezing the pockets of consumers and forcing them to seek out more information about the products and services they buy.

Word of mouth doesn’t hold the same weight as it did when you were deciding which shop to visit on the high street; consumers now look to social media and review sites to inform their purchases.

The average Facebook user has around 142 friends (2013). We are now more likely to ask our Facebook friends or check out a review on Amazon to find out which television is the best value for money, than our neighbour. In addition, if you see people in your peer group talking about how great a product is, you are more likely to join the crowd.

Social currency is the new word of mouth!

This has presented companies trying to attract new customers with a new set of challenges. Consumers have more choice than ever; not only are there many different competing products on the virtual shelves but furthermore, the consumer can buy them all from a variety of different sellers who could be anywhere in the world.

Here’s the challenge, can you create a marketing campaign that raises awareness of your brand AND gets people “tweeting” and “posting” about it on social media. At the end of the day, social media offers free advertising and big businesses are finding ways of capitalising on it, without investing their entire marketing budget.

Here is one example to get you inspired for your next project:
Nike got smart with their January 2012 “#MakeItCount” campaign. In the run-up to the London 2012 Olympics Nike and Adidas were locked in a battle of the brands. Whilst Adidas won bragging rights by becoming the official sponsor of London 2012, Nike got out of the blocks early by recruiting 11 top athletes for their campaign.

Led by athletes such as Mo Farah (long distance runner) and Luol Deng (NBA basketball player), they announced their personal goals on videos and posters and then challenged everyone to “tweet” their goals using the hashtag #MakeItCount. Social media exploded with people sharing their stories and encouraging each other.

Because of its success, Nike has continued to use the hashtag on social media to extend the campaign. Check out this video for a taster:

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