Mitch Joel (Six Pixels of SeparationTwist Image), one of the key thought leaders in social commerce, has just shared a 50 minute video of his 2011 talk on Social Commerce and the Rise of the New Consumer (itself an evolving feast – see summary of 2010 version here) at the Radian6 Social 2011 conference (see video below).

The big insight offered is that selling to the New Consumer [Connected, Mobile, Tactile (touch-enabled) is about using social technology as a value delivery channel not a sales channel per se.

In other words, the primary objective social commerce should be to provide customers with a reason to choose you over your competitors - thus answering the question "why do people buy from us [instead of our competitors]?”

So here’s a speed summary of what Mitch has to say in the form of six key insights into social commerce and the rise of the new consumer.

1) Accept the New Consumer – Digital technology – web, social, mobile, touch – is changing mainstream consumer behaviour in a fundamental way – gving rise to the new consumer – connected, empowered and smart.  For this consumer, social is not a channel, it is a tool, and in the context of consumer behaviour, it is a tool for making smarter choices simpler. [The key implication for social commerce is that we should run with the change, not fight it - and base our strategy on delivering this value proposition "making smarter shopping simpler"

2) 'With' not 'instead of' - social is a layer, not a channel - consumers use digital technology to make "smarter choices simpler", and social commerce to make smarter shopping simpler; in other words don't consider social [commerce] as not a channel to be used in preference or in exclusion to other channels – it is a layer to add onto your business.

3) Don’t write checks for social media… that your website cannot cash.  Social for the sake of social is pointless, it should measurably lead to creating customers or keeping customers, the core purposes of your business.

4) Be Open for Business – social media humanises digital technology and opens up the human dimension of your business to your customers; a good sense check to see if your social commerce efforts are headed in the right direction is to ask yourself if your social commerce solution makes your business appear more human than your competitors…

5) Be a Publisher not a Marketer - your content strategy should be based on helping your customers, not selling to them.  Think like a publisher, producing quality content with timely, relevant, useful and entertaining content. [If you have a marketer, PR pro or intern producing your content, get them to think, create and act like a journalist, or replace them with one].

6) Don’t ask “What” ask “Why” – don’t ask what you are doing in social commerce, ask why.  And the right answer is to add economic value to the business by helping customers make smarter shopping simpler