According to the post, there are six heuristics or pillars in social commerce: social proof; authority; scarcity; like; consistency; and reciprocity.
Let me go through each of these in turn and give my layman’s take on what it means for us.
1) Social Proof
Social proof is the simple act of following what the majority does. Put it another way, it means “monkey see monkey do”..
When you see all your friends and family members going after a particular trend – K-pop stars, cycling, Zumba dancing, hipster cafes, salted lava whatever, for instance – you are much more likely to emulate their example.
This need for confirmation and conformity has been universally true since time immemorial. It is one of the chief drivers behind word-of-mouth marketing aka keeping-up-with-the-Joneses marketing.
Now that everybody has gone ape-crazy with taking a gazillion photos and sharing it on their mobile social networks, social proof has exploded like never before. All of the major social networks have capitalised on this trend.
In a world filled with a gazillion Facebook updates, blog posts, tweets, and Youtube videos, people are leaning more than ever towards figures of authority. By this, I mean those who are respected, trusted, and experienced in their domain areas of expertise. This also implies that specialisation as opposed to generalisation increasingly takes on greater prominence.
Authority on the social web is not a matter of what your designation or rank is like in real life. Rather, it is a reflection of how well you know your stuff, and how much respect you can muster by sharing the things that you know. You certainly don’t want to be a Jack of all trades but a master of none.
Scarcity is about creating “micro-niches” that are highly valued by folks who value exclusivity, individuality, and uniqueness.
Having what everybody else has isn’t enough anymore. Instead, people are looking at hard-to-find products or services that exude their personality, affirms their sense of worth, and act as a “brag badge” that they can wear. Here, rarity and authenticity counts much more than ever before.
Perhaps the most scarce resource is time. I guess this is why people are focusing more and more of their energies and bandwidths on the things that truly matter.
Anybody who has a Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter or Google + account knows the value of a “like”. In an age where links are increasingly replaced by likes as the new social currency, people are gravitating towards the endorsed and the recommended.
Interestingly, this also presents a kind of a dilemma from points 1) and 3). The more social proof you require (via “likes” or other mechanisms of endorsement), the less scarce that product or service is going to be.
In a highly transparent digitally enabled world, people are yearning for the reliable and the tried-and-tested.
I will follow you and read your posts if I know what to expect on a regular basis. This is something that I’ve been preaching for a long time – that in any user generated content channel, you need to develop a certain cadence in publishing and pushing out valuable content that your readers, viewers and listeners desire.
Finally, in a world that is so “hyper-social”, the only way to gain in popularity is to win people’s trust (and love) by giving, giving, giving.
Selfish hoarders of information or benefits will be easily sussed out while people will increasingly follow those who are generous with their thoughts and their time. The noble notion of paying it forward rings true in this day and age, especially when people increasingly distrust the shenanigans of big money businesses which wrecked havoc in people’s finances and lives.