Most of us lose hours of our precious time to social media without getting a single cent out of it. But just as it’s technically possible though improbable to leave Orchard Road with more money than you came with by walking around with your eyes to the ground searching for coins and notes careless people have dropped (one of my friends actually does this), your excessive social media use might actually pay off… well, just a little. Here’s how.
1. Check business’s social media accounts to get coupons and discounts
Many people “like” businesses’ social media accounts on Facebook to show how hip and relevant they are, but there can actually be value in following the online activities of your favourite businesses. Online retailers frequently put discount codes online, and even brick and mortar businesses rely heavily on social media to disseminate information about sales and promotions.
Companies don’t always make a Facebook post to advertise discounts and coupons. Often, searching for their #hashtags on Instagram can lead you to posts with discount coupon information in the picture description. To do this, search for hashtags containing the shop or product name, else well as #deal or #coupon. For instance, if you’re looking for an iHerb coupon, you might search for #iherb #coupon or #iherbcoupon.
2. Talk directly with companies and get free stuff
Once upon a time, you had to physically show up at a business’s premises, gun in hand, in order to let them know you were displeased with their service. These days things are much easier, as social media has created a direct channel of communication. That also means that if you’re mighty pissed off, you can tell them—and they might actually do something about it.
If you had a really bad experience at a particular business, send them a message on Facebook. If your complaint is serious enough, there’s a chance you’ll receive vouchers as compensation. In the old days, you’d have to have written a letter or at the very least an email and then hoped for a reply.
If you’re looking for discount codes, you can also try asking the company directly via private message on Facebook. Most big online retail companies like Amazon will have social media managers on hand to respond to queries almost instantaneously, and if you ask politely they might bestow upon you that elusive discount code.
3. Publicise your own sales
Social media gives regular people access to hundreds of eyes and ears. That’s not always a good thing, since we’ve all had our fair share of narcissistic rants and gratuitous photos of people who think that everyone should care about their lives. On the other hand, it also means that if you need to reach a whole bunch of people quickly, you can.
Let’s say you’re trying to sell your camera. Instead of waiting weeks for someone to notice your ad on Craigslist, make a couple of posts on Facebook and you’ll probably find someone to take it off your hands. Note, however, that every post you now make on Facebook will only appear on the timelines of a small (say 10%) fraction of your friends. Since they implemented that change, things have gotten a lot harder. Then again, I’m glad I’m seeing less of those blogshop ads.
If you’re the sort of person who’s able to amass a huge social media following, you might even be able to make a business out of selling stuff on Facebook and Instagram. My Dream Bag is a second hand designer bag merchant that operates entirely off Instagram.
Even if your business doesn’t operate entirely out of social media platforms, there’s no denying that for startups on a budget, social media is a highly important source of promotion. Learn how to use it well and you could be sitting on a pile of cash (and that’s why you should follow us on Facebook!)
How has social media helped you save money? Let us know in the comments!
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