When the Mighty Dollar > Social Capital

dollar versus tweet

The Background
The other day a friend of mine was telling me a story about a new experience they had while buying a ticket to a media conference. As they were buying the ticket online the site offered her a $10 discount on the $25 ticket if she tweeted about the event. My friend took the invitation and tweeted out a pre-set phrase about how excited she was to attend this conference. The site redirected her back to the payment page and she ended up getting the 40% discount.

My immediate thought was, “great marketing idea, why didn’t I come up with it.” My second thought was my typical skepticism about social media. “Well, this officially marks the end of social media as we know it…People now whore their opinion out to their friends for $10.” And then I finally settled in on something that I thought interesting enough to write a blog post on.

The point on the graph when dollar value crosses social value.  This point has to exist and understanding where it lies for consumers is something that can be very valuable for marketers to understand. In the real life example above, $10 or (40% discount) was already past the point for my friend. The dollar amount had greater incentive than the risk of tweeting out a potentially faulty recommendation (she has 500 followers, most following presumably for her media knowledge). She had never been to this conference before.

From a marketer’s perspective, an analytic marketer’s at the least, there should be an equation output we can reach to find the point where it is profitable to offer monetarily incentives greater than the user’s social incentives (with the purpose of enticing the consumer to act in the company’s behalf).

The Math
First we find the average value a tweet drives.  In this same example we can do some basic attempts. If the average tweet reaches 25% of the 500 followers (125) and 1% of those end up attending the conference (1.25 people) for $25. Then the average revenue per tweet would be $31.25. So theoretically a marketer could give away the ticket for free (and some) to persuade the consumer to tweet about the conference.

Obviously, this a one person example, and one would have to test and find these points over time, but much like Adwords or any other online ad medium, personal recommendations seem likely they can be bought.

The End
As marketers figure out better ways to get at that incentive what will this do to the social media landscape?  I don’t really know but I think you know where my guess is.