One thing that the internet makes it users realize is that they have value. Their thoughts, their ideas, their opinions, are all worth something and can be used to influence others. The internet has given a voice to the voiceless and a platform to those seeking notoriety for good and for bad. If someone is passionate enough to voice their opinion long enough, they can build a following. No matter how little substance there is to their content, there is a sector of our society that is dying to see, hear, or read their latest content. For example: ABC news reported recently that over 2 million people subscribed to the YouTube channel of two shopping haulers to see their latest haul. Kudos to the haulers and others that have built a following that have garnered attention from some of the largest retailers in the country. They have created an empire. They have been featured in fashion magazines, partnered with YouTube, and companies send them FREE products for them to critique. Another hauler turned her hauls into a money maker. I am left shaking my head at what others find entertaining and/or informative. Lesson: there is space out there for anyone that is passionate enough, and your thoughts are worth something.

But, let us say you are not passionate enough to tweet, post statuses, or blog to garner 2 million followers. Do you still have value? The resounding answer is, yes. In case you have not figure it out yet, there is a push by retailers is to get as many Fans on Facebook, Followers on Twitter, and Subscribers on Youtube, as possible. They have determined that this is a very cheap and effective way to promote themselves and their product. What they have figured out, is that by simply starting a promotions or campaign on social networking and social media sites, they are able to yield a measurable number of Fans, Followers and Subscribers that continue long after the promotion has ended. Furthermore, with the new Fans, Followers and Subscribers, corporations now have unfettered access. Their goal is to increase their Fans, Followers and Subscribers, and they want your help. Retailers are willing to give you a discount, many times up to 100%, if you help them. Why? Because your Followers, Friends, and Subscribers are worth something to them, and thus your opinion and endorsements have worth. However, retailers have been adding new wrinkles to their promotional methods.

Many recent retailer promotions on social networking sites have a twist that have made them less valuable to consumers. Facebook and Twitter users are being asked to promote and endorse retailers products to their Followers, Friends, and Subscribers for FREE. Take the following examples of new twists:

Example 1: Many retailers are initially hyping up there promotions with terms phrases like, “Like” us and come back on a set date for a promotion give away.

How consumers lose: “Like” them now. When you do, your friends will know about the promotion through your Facebook feeds. Chances are, some of your friends will “Like” them also. This continues through their contacts and so on. Then, you find out the promotion is only good for the first few that request it. Statistically, it becomes impossible for you and your friends to get the promotion since so many people have liked them between the promotion announcement to the actual promotion.

Example 2: Here is another form of hyping a promotion. “Like” us for a secret gift that we will give on a given set date in the future.

How consumers lose: Once again, “Like” them now and the promotion propagates through your contacts thanks to Facebook feeds. This time, the worst part is that you do not even know what the “secret gift” is. It might be something you and your friends do not want. Furthermore, it is statistically impossible to receive the secret gift, again, for the reason mentioned above.

Example 3: Get a printable coupon for a FREE grocery item.

How consumers lose: Many stores do not take printable coupons that allow you to get FREE grocery items. If you do find someone to take the coupon, good luck finding that item in the size indicated on the coupon.

So what have you given up for FREE? If your contacts list is long ,you have given a lot and gotten nothing in return. Let us put value to what you gave up:

  • Tweets – According to each tweet you send can be calculated by using the following equation:[(Followers/27)*$51.28]/(total number of Tweets from your account)= Your Tweet Value
  • Facebook -According to Vitrue, a social media management group, Facebook Fans are valued at $3.60 a piece in earned media. (Note: If you do not have a Fan page I am guessing access to your Facebook Friends is close in worth.)

People, this is big money especially if you are a social and influential person among your friends and business collegue.

So, what are you worth? Calculate it, and see if you are selling yourself short. If you want to get a return for your every endorsement or mention, consider your chances of obtaining a given promotion before you endorse or mention it to your Followers, Friends, Fans, and Subscribers. Determine if what you are receiving is worth it to you. If you would like to get returns for your endorsements and mentions, consider applying to sites that will pay you like Twittad, Clickbank, Social Spark, and PaidPerTweet. Do not sell yourself short.