Over at Forbes, Fred Cavazza has proposed six pillars of social commerce (pragmatically defined as maximising sales through social media), that help take people through the three-step path to action:

  1. WHAT?
  2. SO WHAT?
  3. WHAT NOW?

Here they are in brief;

  • Visibility use social media to extend the reach of your offers (Blendtec and Old Spice)
  • Reputation use social media enhance brand image (Saddleback Leather and Domino’s Pizza)
  • Proximity use social media to get personal with customers (“no Photoshop, no BS”) (Beauty Swatch)
  • Contextualization use social media to connect with customers in their world (Canon on Flickr)
  • Recommendation use social media to drive product recommendations WhereToGetItEtsy GiftsHunch)
  • Customer care use social media as a customer service channel

Forbes’ six ‘pillars’ are useful insofar as they remind us that social commerce as more than just adding a shop tab to your Facebook page.

Social commerce is about harnessing social media as a sales tool – whether that means attracting customers, selling to them or servicing them.

Social commerce is not a retail revolution, it is simply making retail better with social technology (and as the article correctly points, social commerce not only not a ‘revolution’, it’s not new either – online social commerce is a very 20th Century affair, pioneered by Amazon and eBay).

We like this – although it does blur the boundaries (perhaps properly) between marketing (attracting customers), sales (driving revenue), and service (customer support).  We’d prefer to use the term “social business” as an envelope term for this general business use of social media – and keep ‘social commerce’ with a shopping focus.

Sure, social commerce is more than shop tabs in social media, but surely where there’s no shopping there’s no commerce.