In marketing there is the classic teachings of the 4 P's, the elements that make up the core activities undertaken by a person or a company. These are: product, pricing, placement, and promotion. These four elements make up the marketing mix and are used to create a marketing plan.

In social media, a communication plan or strategy is still needed. And amongst the social media circles it is nearly universally agreed, the elements of a good social media strategy consist of the 5 C's: conversation, community, collaboration, contribution and commenting. (Just Google "5 C's of social media" and you will see what I mean!)

So let's break it down:

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Conversation- as I mentioned before, social media is a two-way method of communication.  Traditional marketing communication is one-way and consumers have gotten pretty good about tuning it out.  Social media is about engaging others in conversation as well as users conversing with each other about you (user-generated content). 

One of the golden rules of conversation is listening. Listen to what the other person is saying, really listen. Don't think about what you are going to say next, that is not really listening. Listen to what people like, want, and need. Only after you understand and digest these will you be able to add value..to contribute.

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Contribution: This means adding value, being helpful. The social media universe is very karmic in nature. You will get back ten-fold what you give. Last week I saw this great video from Angela Jia Kim, Co-Founder of Savior Your Success. In it she talks about her rules as well as emphasizing Give-Give-Give-Get.  It is not about "what's in it for me" it is about being a resource and adding value.

Contribute to the conversations going on around you. Every social media vehicle allows for contribution whether that is Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, Blogs, you name it. Whatever you put in, you will get back. Give enough value and you will build a community of fiercely loyal advocates.

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Community: You've listened to the conversation and engaged in them with active ears. You have provided value to your users, customers or followers. Now you are building a community. This community of people are your brand advocates, your supporters who are loyal and who promote you or your product through word-of-mouth and other social media methods. 

Do not abuse their trust. Once you have your community continue to engage and stay involved. Continue to be a resource providing tools, ideas, products that will help others fulfill a need. A community is a powerful thing. And opens many opportunities for collaboration. 

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Collaboration:  Your advocates are the ones that know you best. They are also part of other circles of influence that you may want to tap into. Collaborate and partner with others to learn more effective methods to communicate and extend your reach. Collaborate with others to broaden your portfolio and gain insights. Ask questions, test ideas, raise awareness.  Working together is always better than working alone and the end result will be more viable.

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Commenting:  This is core to all the other C's. Your comments should add something to the conversation. Do not comment just for the sake of commenting. Good commenting raises your credibility, shows your personality, communicates your core values, it is a reflection of you. Be cautious, you cannot take anything back, make sure you really want to commit your words to the webosphere - they are permanent.

Comments are also very karmic. Visit other sites, other platforms and comment where appropriate to contribute to other communities besides your own. The comments you leave will not only help others, but it will also lead new people to you!

Lastly, whatever comments you contribute to the conversation will endear you to the community and encourage future collaboration.
10/12/2009 11:05:09 pm

Andi, I am constantly amazed at how the term "5 C's of social media" appears to have taken on a mind of it's own since I coined it back in June 2008.

While I was originally trying to come up with a simple, catchy definition of what social media allows us to achieve the idea that it also forms "the elements of a good social media strategy" only goes to show that the definition was, essentially, correct.

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5/1/2015 04:02:14 pm

Social media is about engaging others in conversation as well as users conversing with each other about you (user-generated content).

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