With more than 15 percent of Internet users on Twitter, more than 1 billion active Facebook members, and new social media sites cropping up all the time, social media has become a lot more than profile pictures and reconnecting with old friends. It’s a tool that can be used to help you find the perfect recipe for Father’s Day Dinner, finally connect with your dream job, and yes, save money! Here are 5 unbeatable, totally tweetable ways to reap the secret benefits of your social media accounts:
1. Make new friends. The first step to getting exclusive access to social media deals is making friends with the companies you like. Think about retailers or services you use frequently, like @Target, @BestBuy, or @JetBlueCheeps, find their Twitter and Facebook accounts, and follow them! Sure, you might get spammed every once in a while with info you don’t care much about, but these companies also tend to publish coupons and discounts exclusive to social media. You can also try accounts that wrangle up other social media coupons for you.
Some are specific, like @AppleDiscounts or @AmazonDeals, while others like @Coupons and @DealsPlus, bring a wide range of coupons to you for your choosing. American Express offers an exclusive program to their card holders where they send out multiple coupons daily, and if you reply with the appropriate hashtag, you get the deal! To learn more about this reward program read on here.
2. Helpful hashtags. If you don’t already know what it is, a hashtag is the symbol formerly known as the “pound sign” (#) that’s been commandeered by Twitter and Instagram to help categorize social media posts. But its perks don’t end there. Search #coupon or #discount to find deals you might not expect – everything from discounts on computers to $1 off Burt’s Bees. You can also use this feature to save where you’re on the go by hashtagging your location or “checking in” on Facebook. Businesses near your location may respond to you with unexpected deals. Social media mavens recommend this for vacations to help you get local deals while you’re away, i.e.: Ready to soak up the sun in #Maui!!
3. Don’t wait for the deals to come to you. So you’ve refreshed your Twitter and Facebook feeds 10 times in the last 10 minutes, and no sign of the deal you’re hoping for. What can you do? Take matters into your own hands and tweet or post a comment directly to the company you’re looking for. You may inspire the company to send you a personal coupon so they can get your business. Another more mutually beneficial way to be proactive in your coupon search is to regularly post your opinion, good or bad, about companies you shop regularly. Companies always want their customers to give feedback, and often reward it with perks.
4. Make saving a habit. Coupons are great, but social media also offers an endless amount of ways to improve your financial situation if you look in the right places. Tons of Pinterest boards are geared towards DIY activities that really save money. With everything from how to make your own baby wipes to turning a coffee table into an ottoman, Pinterest has tips to save on all sorts of small costs. You also have access to tons of financial service companies who want to send you free, daily financial advice to help keep good saving and budgeting on the brain. Start by following @Manilla and @EmergeFreedom and stay current on the latest financial trends.
5. Tap into existing communities. While some sites, like Manilla, give you access to a personal financial tool, others make social media the driving force behind your ability to save. SmartyPig and GreenNote, for example, let you publish a saving goal you’re working toward that your existing friends and followers can contribute to. Saving up for college or a new car? Let your friends help you get there! Another great example is Freecycle. If you’re trying to get rid of your gently-used stuff, Freecycle will help pair you up with people who will swap goods so you’ll get something free for the junk you don’t want.
Social media is changing all the time, so keep on following Manilla for more ways to make your posts count.
Caitlin Cogdill is a Marketing Associate at Emerge Financial Wellness and the lead creator of its financial education resources. As a UC Berkeley graduate with degrees in English and History, she aims to use her skills to address our nation’s gap in financial education. When she’s not reading up on the latest news in international human rights, she can be found rock climbing, relaxing in the sunshine, and immersing herself in all things French.
Emerge Financial Wellness is an employee benefit company offering a workplace-based financial wellness program which includes access to free financial counseling, dynamic educational resources, monthly credit reports, and more. Emerge is a social mission driven business – our goal is to help working people make the best choices possible with their paycheck. We believe that everyone needs access to expert financial guidance and socially responsible financial services, regardless of income or wealth. We help people budget, plan for the future, and successfully manage their bills so they can save more. To learn more, visit www.emergefinancialwellness.com.