BrainTrust Query: Defining Social Media Terms


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While the industry has adopted terms such as Social Marketing, Social Merchandising and Social Selling, are we clear on the meanings? David Dorf, Director of Technology Strategy for Oracle Retail, offers definitions. Which “social” terms remain too vague or carry varied meanings for you?


Athough a “social network” is fairly straightforward in terms of its definition, “social media” can be much more broad. Since social media is a two-way conversation, brands can incorporate marketing, merchandising and selling into this channel as a part of an overarching initiative. Though separate definitions are helpful, for further clarity, simply think of social media in a hierarchical manner. “Social media” subsumes “social marketing,” “social merchandising” and “social selling.” Further, since we essentially have online dialogue as our forum, these aspects of the “conversation” between brands or their representatives and consumers are not entirely exclusive from one another. There is much overlap associated with social marketing and social selling, for example. A retailer may make it a strategic initiative to answer, via Twitter, some of the complaints or service questions from a competitor’s customers. So while it’s “social marketing” it’s also “social selling” because the user has the ability to convert to another brand if they so choose.

As with any dialogue, some brands are far better attuned to their customers and as such, are in a much stronger place to capitalize on their relationships to service, market and sell to the direct needs of their customers.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dr. Gary Edwards
Gary is the Executive VP, Client Services at Empathica where he is involved in solving business challenges with research and technology solutions. For over 15 years, Gary led worldwide and domestic research projects to assist with program development, implementation and follow-up with clients in the retail industry. To read more of Gary's posts on RetailWire, please click here.


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