Defining Social Media Terms
By David Dorf on Mar 12, 2010
As I talk about social in the context of retail, I sometimes get tripped up on different terms. I know what I mean, but the audience may have something else in mind. So I decided to see if I could find some well accepted definitions for common terms. While there are definitions on the Internet, I'm not sure they are well accepted. After reviewing several, here's what I came up with:
Social Network: a structure of individuals and groups connected together by commonality.
That seems pretty straightforward. A group of friends, co-workers, music fans, etc. The key here is that they have something in common that connects them.
Social Media: Internet channels that support the collaborative publishing of information by and for social networks.
The key here is to differentiate between traditional one-way media, and conversational social media. When its social its two-way, allowing both the publishing and consuming of information. Examples are blogs, wikis, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Social Marketing: the use of social media for marketing, public relations, and customer service.
Wikipedia actually includes "selling" here but I think that's separate from marketing, as you'll see further down below. Most people look at social media as entertainment, but the marketing angle adds business value. This is where retailers discover and engage customers to build a relationship.
Social Merchandising: the integration of social media and product discovery.
Whereas marketing is focused more on brand image, customer engagement, and promotions, merchandising is more directly trying to convert browsers into purchases. This includes deciding what customers want, often by asking the social network, and deciding how to position products to the social network.
Social Selling: the incorporation of e-commerce into social media.
While on a social media site, social selling enables the purchasing of goods/services in the user's context, without leaving the social media channel. If a user clicks on an advertisement and is taken to an e-commerce site, then that's really just web advertising and not social selling.
Well, do these terms and definitions make sense? Let me know what you think.