Social media is no longer just for keeping in touch with friends, sharing stuff and accumulating lots of followers and friends.
It is not even a way of making money for some. In our blog Is Social Media Marketing Your Key to Some Extra Income? (21 October 2014) we looked at some ways of monetising what goes onto the web via social media.
This form of communication has also long been a source of collective advice and learned wisdom which is available free as people post their experiences and tips.
But it’s possible to save money through social media. Just try these simple steps. You can get helpful vouchers and offers galore, but you can go beyond that.
Who are you following?
If you sign up to follow supermarkets you line, retailers of clothes, shoes, department stores, restaurants, holidays and flights, in many cases you get news of special offers and frequently vouchers for discount.
Look at the experts
One of the most popular money savers in the business is Martin Lewis. His moneysavingexpert website is taken each week by millions who have clocked up enormous collective savings in every area of spending.
For women in particular, Ashleigh is a great and regular source of ideas for savings.
Love your hashtags
The #hashtag is a simple way of searching for bargains by looking for hashtags such as #bargain, #discount, #deal, #voucher, #vouchercode, #BOGOF, #savings, #giveaway and #offers, for example.
A Thrifty Mrs suggests tweeting to ask shops if they have any discounts available or an upcoming sale. If they are keen for you to spend, they’ll come up with something.
After all, if they give you 10% off something, then they still make something from it, which they wouldn’t have done if you hadn’t got in touch!
Team up to buy collectively
You can use social media contacts to pool resources to buy in bulk. Food is an obvious one, cheaper stocks of grains, breads, rice, pasta, vegetables can be negotiated if enough is being bought.
There is a group of horse fans who have formed an informal co-operative to buy food and veterinary care as they are all geographically close.
Collective energy buying is negotiated by several councils for local residents and Martin Lewis too.
Increasingly companies are aware of complaints on social media. Many have staff dedicated to finding the complaints and responding to them.
If you have had poor service, sloppy attitudes, wrong or broken items, then vent it on Twitter in 140 characters or less. Keep it simple, do not be abusive or threatening – the more in sorrow than anger approach usually works wonders.
The BBC advises complainers to keep it specific, keep it brief, keep it factual, keep it going with any lack of response the basis if a further complaint and keep it public, do not divert to direct messaging, ‘you might as well email.’
Sometimes repeating your gripe to someone with a lot of followers gives you an influential edge. Sometimes.
People have reported being given refunds, vouchers, further offers and a sense of a job well done. So, worth a try.
Cut out the middleman
The real secret and success of using the web to disrupt normal business, is that the middleman is removed from the (expensive) process. Crowdfunding demonstrates that business can secure finance from net users without involving banks.
If you ask social media for help with babysitting, bicycle repairs, securing a handyperson fro gardening or small repairs, car maintenance, home tutoring ….
Ask your search engine for tips, advice, experience on spending, saving, repairing, borrowing, hiring, selling and you will get pages of links doing just that.
The beauty of the web in general and social media in particular is that other users will rate services, they will comment and recommend (or not), so they reduce your chance of wasting your precious cash.