What is Social Capital?

Social capital refers to “the interpersonal relationships, institutions, and other social assets of a society or group that can be used to gain an advantage.” The term is used mostly in terms of political movements or social studies. However, it can also apply to the relationship between a brand and its consumers as well as the impact of digital marketing and social media. Social capital can help guide the way brands develop and maintain consumer relationships, as well as how they interact with customers. There are three key elements to social capital: Social networks, trust and reciprocity, as well as shared norms and values. So, how do these apply in the digital age?

Social Networks

This one might sound a little obvious since the digital age is full of social networks, aka interactions and relationships between people and organizations, aka social media. Social media is useful to your business for so much more than marketing. It is a way to build the value of your brand and gain social capital. Your brand is nothing unless your customers believe in its value. When done right, social media can create a flow of communication that lets you listen to your customer’s wants and learn how they see your brand while increasing your social capital. Social media followers are consumers, so the value they place in your brand is more important than you might think. 

Trust and Reciprocity

Trust and reciprocity focus on the quality of relationships rather than the quantity. Social media can bring users together who share an interest in your brand that may not have interacted otherwise. Their passion for your services or products can build a sense of community and trust, which can later turn into an increase in sales for your business. According to Dialogue, 58% of consumers age 25-34 say they are more likely to spend more on a brand’s products or services if they feel like they belong to that brand’s community. There is a good chance you have been among that 58% at some point. 

Shared Norms and Values

As a business, it is essential to have a mission, values, and purpose that is shared between the brand, employees, and customers. Many consumers want to feel like there is more to their purchase than just a simple financial transaction. They want to feel as though by purchasing your product, they are supporting your values and beliefs in which they share with you. Having shared values brings you closer to your customers. Consumers have so many options available, and sometimes, your product features, benefits, and prices aren’t enough to make you stand out from the rest. 

How To Measure Your Brand’s Social Capital

To really get a full picture of your brand’s social capital, you will need to analyze your online sentiment and influence. Start by checking your brand’s tone in the online conversations that your brand has. This will help you determine how trustworthy your brand truly is, ultimately showing you how effectively your brand can share valuable knowledge on social media and gain followers from it. There is a constant ebb and flow of social capital transactions, so keep your finger on the pulse of your social network to know if your business is on the right track. 

Build Your Community

Building a community of engaged and loyal followers is no simple task. The Evoke Group team has experience in helping businesses fine-tune their brand, message, and presence to increase social capital. Reach out today to learn more.