Defining Social Media Terms

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 media.JPG

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.

Comments:

How about a broader term "Social Retail" encompassing both Social merchandising & Social Selling.

Posted by Raja Sekhar Atluri on March 14, 2010 at 06:34 PM CDT #

Yep, I agree that Social Retailing encompasses both.

Posted by David on March 17, 2010 at 03:22 AM CDT #

David,
The social evolution is just a re-creation of retail's orginal method of marketing - word-of-mouth or word-by-digital device.

In your definitions - with are great - just replace the word "social" with the word "retail".

Retail is retail and many no retail industries are just trying to add retail attributes - like insight, open comms, and relationship centered to their space. Thus social became the vehicle.

Don't be too social when you are all Retail

Dude-ley

Posted by Dudley on March 30, 2010 at 02:34 AM CDT #

Dudley, interesting perspective and I agree. What's being said isn't any different -- its just being delivered differently.

Posted by David on March 31, 2010 at 12:53 AM CDT #

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David Dorf, Sr Director Technology Strategy for Oracle Retail, shares news and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on innovation and emerging technologies.


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