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The 5 th C of community Social Commerce


									The 5th C of Community, Social Commerce
By Brian Solis, blogger at and principal of FutureWorks, Author of the new book
Engage!, Co-Author, Putting the Public Back in Public Relations and Now Is Gone

Brands are racing to create a social presence on Facebook, Twitter and the hottest social networks
of the moment. The initial goals, of course, are to increase brand awareness and build community.
To do so however, takes a holistic approach that extends beyond the regiment of broadcasting
messages to silent audiences. Now, brands must establish a social equilibrium whereby the 4C’s of
community drive measurable and mutually beneficial activity and engagement through the thoughtful
introduction of content curation and creation, conversation, context, and continuity. More importantly
however, brands must now find creative means to recognize the role of a more informed and
connected consumer and the varying influence they wield in the social ecosystem.

Recognition and empowerment represent the social sparks that can help businesses not only
socialize their brands but now also activate consumer behavior. While editorial programming and
meaningful engagement unlock the spirit of community, it ultimately sets the stage for not only
conversations and connections, but also monetary transactions.

As social media matures, brands must introduce new social sparks that convert decisions and
intentions into outcomes where and when attention is focused. Doing so introduces us to potentially
viral opportunities that trigger a social effect propelled by a new “C” in the 4C’s of community…
social commerce.

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
The Rise of the Social Consumer

Consider for a moment, the attention stream of the social consumer…

People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook

More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums,
etc.) are shared on Facebook each month

YouTube serves over 9B streams per month

More than 100 million Tweets fly across Twitter every day

The pervasiveness of social networks is transforming business as the attention of the consumer is
increasingly focusing on their social streams. It’s where they learn, discover, and share. And as in
anything, there are those who get it and those who don’t. Those who do however, are increasingly
taking to social channels to seek advice and guide purchase decisions in their social networks. This
changes everything, requiring businesses to augment strategies to reach both traditional and now
also social consumers respectively.

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
The rise of the social consumer warrants much more than attention however, it requires an
understanding of what motivates them to click, act, and share. These drivers are different than that
of a traditional consumer. They are not motivated by the clever gimmicks nor are they inspired to
seek out your presence within social networks. Attention is a precious commodity and these
individuals require direct engagement that recognizes their stature in the social web and rewards
them for it. And it is this stature, that introduces brands to a social consumer hierarchy where varying
levels of influence are met with dedicated engagement and activation programs. Why? The social
consumer is connected and their actions reverberate across social graphs to spark conversations
and ultimately clicks to action. And, when motivated or inspired, the social consumer can exact
change through the unification of conversation.

As we witnessed recently with the Gap, its new logo was met with a firestorm of controversy when
the connected consumer responded en masse using their social soapboxes to express discontent
and demand resolution. The lesson here is that any brand can benefit from engaging their
community to convert consumers into stakeholders, allowing them to take part in the evolution of the
company. This is how we earn relevance in the social Web as the touchpoints to reach consumers
also in turn, reach us.

In the 2010 Social Media Report, ForeSee observed that 60% of online shoppers already use social
media sites and networks regularly. And, 56% of those online shoppers friend or follow retailers, but
they can only do so, if the retailer is actively engaging within those networks. The study found that
only one-fourth of the top 100 e-tailers (e-retailers) has yet to create a Facebook page. If that
information wasn’t enough to move you, consider comScore’s report that found Twitter and
Facebook users to spend more than 1.5x more online than the average Internet user.

The Role of the Social Consumer

It is the responsibility of all businesses to embrace their social consumers. Earning their attention
and partnership allows us to harness their reach and authority to impact the decisions of those
around them.

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
Walmart recently introduced a new program that borrows from the Groupon model of social
commerce, combining the benefits of group buying and social effect of the News Feed on Facebook.
Like Groupon (pun intended), Crowd Saver leverages the power of group buying to reward
consumers with exclusive deals. However, the difference here is that it integrates the social graph
into the mix, requiring a fixed amount of people to “Like” the offer to unlock it. This does two things.
First, it heightens the demand for the deal, much like Black Friday and Cyber Monday does every
year following Thanksgiving in the United States. Most notably however, Crowd Saver acts as a
social object. With each like, the potential offer is spread to the News Feeds of every corresponding
social graph, thus increasing its reach, appeal, and the visibility of the brand overall. For example, in
a recent experiment, Walmart required 5,000 Likes to unlock a deal on a plasma TV.

Why stop there? Walmart and any online e-tailer for that matter, can capture attention, trigger a
response, and convert intention into commerce without ever leaving Facebook. The era of f-
commerce is upon us enabling brands to host an online store within Facebook.

There are great advantages to capturing attention where and when it’s focused. For example, 1-800- hosts a shoplet within Facebook where consumers can browse through arrangements
and order directly from the Facebook tab. Doing so, sparks a social effect that broadcasts the action
to their social graph.

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
Integrating social commerce as the 5th C of Community unlocks much more than a new channel to
sell, it surfaces the ability to shift social media from a cost center to a profit center. The more we
experiment, the more we learn. Ultimately, the discussion of ROI becomes a matter of process as
we’re able to measure investment and return as well as improve conversions to escalate ROI
overall. By heightening value and delivering personal experiences, we empower and reward social
consumers and as such, improve the online experiences for our community.

If we are not competing for tomorrow, today, we lose critical opportunities to capture attention now
and in the future. It’s a matter of digital Darwinism, where if we are out of sight, we are indeed out of

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Facebook

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
Brian Solis is globally recognized as one of most prominent thought leaders and
published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has
influenced the effects of emerging media on the convergence of marketing,
communications, and publishing. He is principal of FutureWorks, an award-winning New
Media agency in Silicon Valley, and has led interactive and social programs for Fortune
500 companies, notable celebrities, and Web 2.0 startups. is ranked
among the top of world's leading business and marketing online resources.

Solis is the author of Engage! The complete guide for businesses to build, cultivate and
measure success in the new Web.

In 2009, Brian Solis, along with Deirdre Breakenridge, released, Putting the Public back
in Public Relations.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google Buzz, Facebook
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(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis

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