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Who is Your Tribe in the Era of ‘Me-Commerce’?

They say the onset of Facebook has changed the rule from 6 degrees of separation to a norm of now 4.9 degrees of separation. I see this as a sign that the world is literally becoming more connected. That’s why we, as marketers, have moved away from mass advertising to micro-location-based targeting within communities of users. But it goes beyond that—this social shift has changed the very dynamics of commerce. We're living in a liquid economy where hundreds of users can become a relevant, targeted customer base. Hence, the rise of location-based, community-focused social groups—all geared toward making relevant human connections.

Think about how online communities and social networks have changed the game. To today's buyer, the connection matters more than the service or product—and therein lies the secret to the new business model. Like most consumers, I'm heavily influenced by a community of people I admire and respect—some of whom I know through personal relationships, some who are associates from work, others who are influencers in my industry and some who may even be celebrities. The point is, I care more about what these people have to say than what an advertiser might tell me about a product or service or lifestyle.

Contextual relevance matters so much today, communities are developing story-based engagement models. Because I want to engage, learn, and buy from others I trust in my circle, a story is formed around me and around those who 'like' me. They matter to me more than commerce, more than material things. Triberr, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Uncram… they're all creating these storytelling tribes of connection. Business leaders, thought leaders, marketers, entertainers, technologists—you name it—they're all out there building influence.

The companies that still think social is just for fun are missing the point. The world has changed from a market driven e-commerce environment to a socially driven me-commerce era.  The most sophisticated brands are building a community of influencers to co-create and reinforce their brand message.

So ask yourself, who is your tribe in the era of me-commerce, and what stories are they telling about your brand?

8 Responses

  1. Duffy Fron says:

    Nice article, I like the tribe and contextual relevance comments.  "If a man can be known by nothing els, then he maye bee known by his companions." -[1591 H. Smith Preparative to Marriage 42]


  2. Amar Trivedi says:

    "Changed from market driven e-commerce to socially driven me-commerce"…that's a keeper. Another well-articulated post with a fantastic one-liner. (It shall, with your permission, be pinched 🙂

    To add to your point, here's a little exercise: Analyse the last 5 things you purchased. Think reason to buy, choice of retailer or brand. Most times, the source (keyword: influence) would lead back to a review, recommendation or reference made by someone you know (keyword: trust). 

    YES! The consumer purchase decision has changed. Definitely, it's gone social. An early example of the "new" purchase cycle was when Amazon and Google built the "People who bought this also bought" suggestions into their algorithms. Proof contextual relevance matters more than ever.

    Brands that get and develop human connections can leverage the power of our tribe. Great read, Tami. Interesting area of discussion. Thanks for the value!

  3. Bryan Kramer says:

    This is great. Seth Godin would love this! I've always thought that "followers" is the wrong term. I don't have desciples, I have tribes of people I meet and we engage (or not). It's a one-on-one conversation …."Me-Commerce"….love it!!

  4. I agree Tami and this why reputation marketing is becoming such an issue for business.  If someone has a poor interaction with you and this is widely broadcast (which it will be) social proof kicks in.  Just as you have highlighted above if a friend says "avoid business X because they ripped me off" this potentially has a greater impact that any positive social media campaign as the reputation aggregators will collate this for all those outside of your circle to see as well.  I couldn't agree more with your comment about those not getting "social".  Get it or perish.  The choice is theirs.

  5. Ted Rubin says:

    Awesome post Tami.

    Welcome to the ‘Age of Influence,’ where anyone can build an audience, advocate brands, build relationships, effect change, and make a difference. Marketers and Brands better start pating attention. 

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