Included with the current social networking and Web 2.0 (think Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, MySpace, Plaxo, etc.) craze is a resurgence of the concept of “social currency”.
I first heard the concept of social currency described as the “whuffie” factor from Cory Doctorow several years ago.
When cut down to its barest essence, I think of “social currency” as essentially the trust and personal connection you create with people (clients, prospects and the community in general) when you do things for the better good, or in service of others, without thinking of yourself first.
Building social currency equates to taking people on the journey of first being a disinterested prospect (MAYBE they’ve heard of you), to wanting to know all about you (a sense of infatuation if you will), to then becoming a client (they’re happy to give you money) and, if you’ve done your job well, a passionate advocate (referrals come pouring in).
You see, it’s not money which makes the world go round. . .it’s relationships.
Building them with your prospects and valuing them with your clients — above all else — is the mark of a successful business leader.
For some, increasing your social currency is as simple as getting up every morning — it’s who you are naturally as people and business owners. For others, it’s a great lesson in self-awareness and how you treat others (Scrooge is a classic example).
Make It Real: My Request to You
Here are a few ways you can earn social currency with your prospects and clients:
1. Let your guard down and be open and honest with everyone, especially if you’ve made a mistake — after all, we’re all human and mistakes are gonna happen.
2. Listen to what your clients and prospects are telling you — if not by their words, then by their actions.
3. Remember that less is not always more. Treat your clients and prospects as you want to be treated, or better.
4. Be client-centric and develop all of your programs, products, calls, etc. from a place of being of service to your client first and foremost.
5. Look for ways you can contribute, just to help someone out or provide info without expecting anything in return, and act on them.
Earning social currency goes far beyond providing good customer service. It’s a way of being which shows your clients and prospects that you care about them and connect with them as people, not just as a revenue source.
How full is your “wallet”?