Over the past 5 years social networking has gone from minor curiosity to dominant force. Facebook now claims over 500 million users, and a private secondary market valuation of $50 billion, or roughly the same as the Ford Motor Company. Social networking has also started to change the world of commerce. Groupon, a group buying site, reportedly sells $50 million per month of its social coupons, and even well-established retailers have rushed to set up Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.

But despite all the attention being devoted to social commerce in the business-to-consumer (B2C) space, there is a curious vacuum when it comes to the equivalent changes in the B2B space. The problem is that one simply can't apply consumer techniques to complex B2B decision-making processes. The two markets are radically different, and may require far different approaches.

The fundamental philosophy of social commerce in the B2C world can be summed up quickly as following Willie Sutton's Law. Sutton, a famous bank robber, was said to have been asked, "Why do you rob banks?" His reply: "Because that's where the money is." B2C businesses get social with their customers by joining them in the social stream. B2C businesses join their customers on Facebook and Twitter because that's where their marketers can find the volume they need to change consumer attitudes or generate significant transaction volume.