With all the money you’re spending just to be connected to the rest of the world — computer, smartphone, Internet service bills — it’s about time it pays you back, right? Well it can! Social media has evolved from a just a way to connect with friends on Facebook to an expansive network of people, companies, stores and more. Here are 10 ways it pays to save by using social media.
Rather than plastering circulars with coupons hoping for business, a growing number of retailers are turning to social media to connect with the shoppers who’ve shown interest in their brand. More and more companies are offering coupons and deals on sites like Facebook and Twitter, so by ‘liking’ or following them, you can snatch up those savings! Just do a search on either site for your favorite companies and “like” their Facebook page or follow their Twitter account to keep up with their latest offers.
Check-in with Foursquare
If you’ve already got a smartphone, you can start racking up the savings by checking in on Foursquare! What started off as a way of letting your friends (and potential stalkers) know where you are has now become a way for businesses to reward their loyal customers. Many companies offer savings for checking in at their location at a certain time or by sending you a coupon when you become the ‘mayor’.
Join a Shopping Community
Since you’re likely already spending time on Facebook, it makes sense to casually follow your favorite brands, but it you’re looking for a deal-intensive experience, join up with a shopping-focused community! Sites like JoeShopping.com allow users to get together socially and compare prices, review products, upload and find coupons and deals, and even earn rewards points. It’s a great way to be more active in your search for savings, and you might even make a few friends.
Find Deals on Twitter
If you don’t want to follow every brand you’re a fan of in order to get deals, there are twitter accounts solely dedicated to hooking you up with savings! Accounts like @JoeHotDeals, @Groupon and @AmazonDeals tweet nothing but great coupons and discounts. If you don’t want to miss a single deal, make a Twitter list containing your favorite coupon accounts, check it daily, and you’ll save a ton!
Check Coupon Blogs
If Twitter isn’t your thing, you can still find great deals on good ol’ fashioned blogs. Besides regularly checking the JoeShopping Blog (You do check it daily, right?), sites like Krazy Coupon Lady, Budget Savvy Diva and Rather-Be-Shopping give you coupons and discounts for online and brick-and-mortar shopping. And if you don’t want to check a million websites everyday, you can create an RSS feed filled with your favorite money-saving sites!
Air Your Grievances
Another handy thing about social media is that it’s now much easier to get the attention of brands and retailers. If you’ve had a bad experience with a store or product, and you post your dissatisfaction to a social network like Twitter or Facebook, there’s a chance the company will respond with a coupon or discount, or at least an apology. It’s the modern equivalent of writing a letter to the manufacturer. It doesn’t always work, but it also doesn’t hurt to try.
Swap Your Stuff
In addition to using social media to find discounts and coupons, you can also find totally free stuff! In exchange for YOUR stuff, that is. Most swapping sites — like Swap.com and Title Trader — are focused on books, cds, dvds and games, but there are also swapping sites for baby stuff, electronics, and even make-up! It’s a great way to simultaneously get rid of unwanted items and gain what you really need.
Monitor Your Spending
Want to keep track of what you’re spending? There’s an app for that. No really, it’s called Tweet What You Spend, and it allows you to enter your purchases from your mobile phone, and then it keeps a journal of your spending habits. There’s even a “Wall of Shame” feature where you can drag and drop purchases you’re not so proud of. By seeing your spending laid out, you can figure out where to cut and how to save.
Set Up a Donation Fund
Nowadays it’s almost safer to spend your money on the Internet than to drop a check in the mail, and that’s something you can take advantage of. Sites like Green Note and HoneyFund allow you to set up funds for your kid’s college education or your upcoming honeymoon that your friends and family (and even strangers) can contribute to. With a physical check, there’s pressure to make it a bigger amount, but with an online fund, you could get a lot more micro-donations you might not have gotten otherwise.
Create Your Own Group
Even though there are countless social media sites that can help you save, it’s likely that the best resource you have are your closest friends and family. Start your own savings group on Facebook or Yahoo and invite everyone you know to join. Everyone can look for different types of deals and then share with the rest of the group! And that’s when you’re truly getting social with your savings.