I remember S&H Green Stamps! As a child I remember wanting to go shopping with my mother so we could watch her earn stamps as her items were rung up on the cash register, then of course there was the fight to determine who got to carry the stamps home and the licking of the stamps and adding them to your books was actually a family event. Kids even bragged about the number of books their family had completed and I am sure that housewives would discuss which retailer gave the most coupons and what was the best item to purchase with their books during their weekly coffee sessions around a neighbors kitchen table.
That was social media long before the advent of the internet as social media has become the "coffee klatches" of the 21st century.
For companies and brands the primary focus of their social media campaign is to advertise but the real success of social media is about conversations not the number of 'visits' or 'likes' one attains.
Everyone attempts to determine the success of their social media campaigns by the number of conversions that occur from social media sites but the reality is they may want to take a hint from S&H Green Stamps and think about how many conversations their product can create on social media.
Rather than viewing social media as nothing more than an advertising channel why not think of it as rather how many conversations can my product generate?
I think the ideal social media campaign would involve a game and that game would be involve some sort of token that would be gained via purchases of your product. Zynga creates some awesome social media games, that create conversations and interaction. All of their games involve earning points via playing the game but also involve the purchase of other, different points. It would be logical to replace the PayPal based purchase of other points with tokens that are earned through the purchase of products.
You would benefit from the fact that individuals would be interacting and broadcasting that they purchase your product, at the same time you would be creating the potential for increases in the sales of your products due to the desire of the game players to earn additional rewards and at the same time you would be creating an opportunity for consumers to earn rewards through their participation.
I have to admit that I am fascinated with the social psychology that is built into the games that Zynga has produced. The way they build interaction and competition into their products and it just seems to me that they have created the ideal social media vehicle for products; for the creation of the 21st century S&H Green Stamp program.