How Blockchain Can Help Brands Identify Power Users and Maximize Social Engagement

Opinion: Now is the time to learn more about the technology

It’s important to forget every blockchain preconception you have matejmo/iStock

Blockchain is the latest technology craze, and many industries, including marketing and advertising, are looking to implement it in an effort to improve transparency and efficiency.

To determine whether or not blockchain is something that can positively impact your marketing efforts, it’s important to first understand what exactly blockchain is and which aspects of a marketing campaign can best benefit from the technology.

For those who leverage incentivized referral marketing, where a digital reward is offered in exchange for social shares, blockchain can provide a more accurate, detailed understanding of where posts originate from and the extent of their reach. Instead of watching the sharing of cryptocurrency back and forth among users, blockchain, in a referral marketing sense, delivers a clearly defined roadmap of the entire sharing process, from start to finish, helping to identify which posts and users helped to gain the most exposure.

Blockchain is not just for cryptocurrency

First, it’s important to forget every blockchain preconception you have, since its use for marketing purposes—particularly in incentivized referral marketing campaigns—is much easier to understand.

In its simplest form, blockchain is a ledger that keeps track of the digital currency individuals acquire. People can see where money is coming from and where it’s being shared to, allowing users to track the flow of cryptocurrency as it’s passed back and forth among users through the digital realm.

For marketing efforts, instead of tracking the exchange of cryptocurrency, brands are able to track the exchange of digital rewards that brands provide to users in exchange for social shares of their brand messaging. These rewards can be monetary in the form of coupons or discounts, or as a free download or entry into a larger contest or sweepstakes.

When a digital reward is unlocked via a social share to the user’s personal network, the reward becomes the compensation that is tracked, as opposed to cryptocurrency.

It’s a win-win for consumers and brands as the compensation is generally a low-cost, high-value reward that consumers are interested in, enough so that they’ll share with their audiences.

Blockchain’s digital ledger creates a road map of social media success

Social media marketing is a challenge due to both the saturation of content in user streams and the constant platform changes that prioritize consumer content over brand content. Now, brands are coaxing everyday users into sharing their brand message by incentivizing this ask with a digital reward.

Through this, brands are still able to reach relevant users in social media streams, and consumers immediately unlock a digital reward that is of value to them. This is a proven tactic, but, like all other marketing strategies, the emergence of new tech tools helps to boost the efficiency of targeting efforts, enabling teams to increase their impact.

The addition of blockchain to these campaigns provides value through the ability to create a digital ledger. Prior to the introduction of blockchain, these campaigns could collect a significant amount of data on engagement, including the number of shares in exchange for rewards, where social sharers are based across the globe, what platforms they used the most and how many people clicked through to the brand’s website to purchase the product being promoted.

All of these data points are helpful in determining how effective a campaign is or was. However, one data point that this tactic has been missing is identifying who the key “power sharers” are and when key sharing events took place.

How to use blockchain’s ledger to identify ‘power users’

Power sharers are the social media users that are the most effective in getting others within and beyond their networks to share the brand message. These are the users that have the potential to create a viral response and drive engagement beyond just likes and shares, helping to get a brand’s message out to the masses. Instead of simply retweeting a post, these users are likely to create a message that their network responds well to and piques their interest.

As for key events in the sharing process, these include when a post reaches a new social site or even a new country through organic sharing. These events are preserved as time-stamped “blocks” in the chain. By studying the recorded ledger of transactions, brands gain a more complete picture of the reach of a single user’s post.

Integration of blockchain technology directly into a brand’s digital rewards and social referral marketing platform can help to track the entire process and reveal where each share in the program originated from and was sent to in order to identify these key moments and people. The integration also makes it easier, as all data on the campaign, included the blockchain information, can be consolidated and managed on one platform for marketers to reference.

While blockchain for marketing is still growing, now is the time to learn more about the technology and identify which applications could be most useful in various campaigns. The technology itself may be new, but the value that blockchain brings to campaigns with its ability to identify key users and events is clear and something that could immediately benefit many brands.

Herman DeBoard is chief marketing officer at social referral marketing platform Grabbr.