CLEVELAND - How often do you share your positive shopping experiences with friends? How about your negative shopping experiences?
Business professionals said four times more people will hear about a bad experience compared with a good one. Social media is helping companies change that behavior, by offering you savings just for buying a product and sharing it with others.
"Social media is the land of people who are hand raisers, meaning they volunteer to give you feedback," said Cleveland State business professor Elad Granot.
Companies don't even have to offer you anything to get you to share your interest in their product online. After most purchases, you'll see buttons to share your order on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. You don't get anything in return, but the company gets free advertising.
Some businesses are even paying you to share their deals and product lines.
"I'm willing to give up some of my social media space for deals, no problem," Nathan Vallette said.
Vallette is trying to save for a wedding while paying off student loans. So, he's willing to do almost anything to save and earn money. Vallette said he'd even put a decal on his car promoting a company if it meant money back for him. He's not so sure his fiancee would like that idea. For now, he's sticking to tweeting to save money with American Express .
"As long as you tweet the hashtag and promote the company then it's automatically synced to your card. When you make the purchase you get the deal," Vallette said.
He's taken advantage of deals to fast food restaurants, clothing, movies and concerts. Only certain companies are participating at this time, and Vallette hopes the program grows.
"It will be interesting to see if they have new ways to actually reward the people who take advantage of the deals to help spread the deals to other people," Vallette said.
He said he's had a few friends ask about the deals he's tweeted. He'd like to see that as a way to earn even more rewards.
Sears is offering a personal shopper program that allows you to cash in on your friends purchases. You can invite them via email or social media like Facebook to join you as a personal shopper. You recommend items for them to buy from Sears and partner companies. Friends then sign up to be a client of yours, and you earn 1 percent of their purchase. It can be made online or in the store. There are ways to earn even more money depending on how many clients you obtain.
If you like shoes, Love Be Loved , promotes sharing and saving. The company rewards Facebook users. Just for signing up you get $20 off your first purchase. If you share a purchase, the company promotes savings and possibly free shipping. Their motto - spread the word and save.
Groupon offers you savings if you share your deal and enough people buy it.
Companies are also using platforms like Chirpify to share their deals on Twitter, and make it easy for you to buy them. All you have to do is hit reply and the purchase will be completed with the linked Paypal account. The goal is that if you reply to an offer, all your followers will see it and thus the company gets some more free advertising.
"I don't know if it's causing me to stick around and stay as a customer. Maybe it will if I get a really great experience at a place I never heard of before," Vallette said.
Business experts said this is the marketing of the future. Many companies haven't made the switch yet, and are still using old methods to get your opinion like store surveys. You may have seen them at the bottom of your cash register receipt. You're asked to call a number or fill out a survey online for the chance of winning a small prize, an iPod, or sometimes up to $5,000 cash.
"I've done the online surveys. The 1-800 surveys. I think a couple times I maybe won a $5 credit, but I've never won the big bucks, but I have tried to win those things as well as give feedback when possible," Vallette said.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
A little more than 100 yards into the woods along the eastern bank of Longview Lake, large pieces of what looks like trash begin to sprout from the tall grass.