Turning conversations into cash: The Recommendation Economy & Social Commerce

For those of your currently snowed in and "working from home" (AKA PG Tips + Countdown + Sofa + Webmail) who may be in need of some intellectual stimulation you are in for a treat. I had the pleasure of giving a webinar for the PRCA as part of their Digital PR training series on the topic of The Recommendation Economy and Social Commerce - as I promised the participants I share now with you the deck from said presentation - which may be of interest!

In it you will see that I outline what I see as the three key styles of doing social commerce at the moment:

Social Intelligence

- This one is nothing new but is taking new forms as we see consumers getting more and more savvy about the way they shop by leveraging the recommendations and review of their peers to shop smarter - basically making conversations into cash

Social Capital

- Also nothing new but is finally beginning to see a financial benefit for the brands that give people assets that they can leverage as social capital - chiefly because now through things like in video adverts, foursquare rewards and Facebook deals we can link content to cash

Social Buying

- This one is new! You may jump straight to thinking of the likes of Gilt Group and Groupon (particularly given the rumours of the past couple of days about Googles possible acquisition) - but it goes beyond that. Things like F-Commerce - using Facebook based shopping portals are taking social buying into new and different ways. This one is turning cash back into conversations - that in turn can turn back to cash!

SocCom RecEcon

As I told the attendees this morning I don't think that any of these operate in isolation, but when used in conjunction can finally begin to move towards answering the WOMMA problem of ROI - lets start making our social communications work harder for us!

Over to you...

Have you seen any great example of social commerce in action?

Do you think that people will really begin to migrating to shopping in the social environment?

The Difference Between Value & Achievements

Your value and your achievements are not connected. Get this into your head, because I can't help but feel I see a lot of people around me not getting this. You can see it in the colleague who is constantly striving for the promotion, who never seems content, the friend who clings to their accolades but longs for approval, this is not what we are called for and we need to break a bad habit here and now.

There is a fundamental difference between achievements and value.

Your achievements can be listed, counted up, torn apart, taken away, can fail, can be outdone by another.

But your value - you value is who you are. It's what you bring to the table, it's your character, your loyalty, your dependability, your accountability, your patience, your intuition. This is what people buy, follow and adore. Not what you have racked up, but the ingredients that make you, you.

You are not your job title, your position, your rank, you pay grade, your bonus package. And your value cannot be described of analysed through the lens of these things. Your value is what drives you forward and drives people to follow you when you go there.

This is essential in business, to know this, and to cling to it. There is a saying in the video gsmes industry that you are only as good as your last game - your last title. If we take that mentality and prescribe that to us as individuals then we soon forget that we still have value to add, because we must detach our own value from what we produce or achieve.

We in our human-ness (which forms the basis for all business, family or relational decisions) fall down, fail, make mistakes, are hard done by, can be cheated and outdone. So by that very nature we will have successes and failures, and we must prepare ourselves for such peaks and troughs. But we must never marry these these things to our value.

The Value Of A Blog

So I have finally succumbed to the idea of setting up my blog in a little more personalised state. So if you head over to http://jamespoulter.co.uk you will find "Sunday Latte Lamentations" in a somewhat under construction phase.

I am setting up on WordPress (hosted by lovely fellow @leesmallwood - a thoroughly decent chap) . Which obviously means a overhall of themes and widgets, but also a re-evaluation of why I blog, what I blog and how I blog.

After a lovely morning spent down in Kent @ Huggies HQ (Client: Kimberley Clarke) meeting some of the UK's finest Mum bloggers (@glowstars @YoungMummyUk @Kellyfairy to be precise) really made me think.

I started out blogging as a way of documenting my thoughts and poetry that I began writing in a more serious fashion about 3 years ago (hence the title of this blog - spurred by a poem I wrote by the same name). It really was just the thoughts, ideas and melody that roll out of the life rhythm that is being a Londoner. However over time that changed and moulded into what my blog is today, an amalgamation of social communication-marketing-culture thing, with a quasi-Christian slant on the world. Which interestingly is never what I set out to be about, it just kind of happened that way.

After chatting to the Mums this morning it appear that my experience is not to dissimilar to a lot of bloggers out there, we all start with a passion, a realisation that others might give 2pence about our thoughts, and a desire for a connection with those who share that passion, but over time things get in the way that dilute that (SEO, Google Analytics, #tags).

By no means am I saying that this dilution is a bad thing, I think is just inevitable, however I do wonder what it is that keeps people like you coming back to read these musings.

So that leads me back (kind of) to where I began, as I re-evaluate the way I blog I would love to know why it is you read what I write. What topics interest you, what would you like more of or less of? Or do you honestly just end up clicking inanely on whatever tweetdeck serves you up? (I know I am guilty of that).

I am not out just to please the crowd, but if writing, blogging, journeying, or whatever you call it is truly about passions, and a desire for connection, then it's always nice to know what you connect with, what you are passionate about, what makes you tick.

So please - let me know.

Monday Musings: #Like Minds & Social Communications

Welcome To Your Monday. Here are some musings for the week of March 1st (eek - it's here already) 2010. We kick off today with a couple of summaries from the fantastic #LikeMinds summit, which took place down in Exeter, England on Friday and Saturday last week. We Are Like Minds is a very interesting blend of business, culture, technology and marketing - all connected by (to use Mr Blanchard's term) - Social Communications (we are ditching social media for now...). You can check out Olivier's summary of the summit here. After much internal debate (and some nagging from @drewellis) I had to turn down an invite, which may in hindsight been a mistake - as it looks like all involved had a great time, evidenced by the enthusiasm of my friend Gemma Went's summary of the conference here.

#likeminds 2010
The Like Minds 2010 Team (via @thebrandbuilder)

Just to take up Olivier Blanchards point, as I think he has got it as close to right as we can at the moment, "Social Communications" may be an important change in our vernacular - as he make a very well made (and succinct) point - it was never about media in the first place. I truly believe we are not far away from (as I mentioned last week) that social "media" is going away. What we are seeing around us at the moment is not too dissimilar from the evolution of the printing press, radio, television or telephony, merely an evolution of communications.

We are right to point out that there is something of a cultural phenomenon going on here though, so for now to keep the "social" bit attached to the term seems appropriate, as this is a fundamentally different method of communications that what we have seen before, particularly in the business world. Never before has such a freedom of interaction been allowed to foster in business culture, navigating between hierarchy and rank to just connect people to people - finding like minds. That is something different. So for now "social communications" will have to do.

In other news:

"What the Hell is Social Media?" (Good question in the light of the above!) - A great little video wung its way into my reader this week via fellow Surbitonian and all round good guy Rax Lakhani.

A great explanation of integrated communications in the form of "The Big Social Media Marketing Plan" (or should that be communication?) from the pen of Penn Olson

And a fantastic productivity tool via @lifehacker called InBox2 which combines email and socialnetworking to better organise tasks and files in a lovely way. One to try out! (Windows only for now sadly, but a good web app for all you Mac's out there).