Top 10 Social Business Questions in 2013:

1) What’s the difference between social business & social media?

Here’s the first of ten answers in this Q&A series covering the top 10 social business questions of 2013.

1) What is the difference between social business & social media?

Social media refers to tools that enable people to connect with one-another and connect with information, like Facebook and Twitter.

Social business takes a much wider perspective, looking at how these capabilities impact the way we do business across every area – from customer service and marketing, to product innovation and internal comms.

There are endless debates around definitions of social business, but I quite like describing it very broadly as the practice of applying new knowledge in technology, process and culture, to solving business problems. Or in other words, using networks of people to get stuff done.

Social media forms one component part of an overall social business strategy that should provide a roadmap to doing things better, faster and cheaper using 21st century communications. The result is ever-improving processes, a more productive workforce, exceptional products, world class service and inspired employees.

For example you might decide to replace your big, expensive, frustrating call centre with an online community where customers solve one-another’s problems.

See Giff Gaff Community
See HP support forum
See SAP community network

Or you might decide to replace your one-way, out-of-date intranet with an internal social network that enables you to stop wasting time searching for the people and documents you need to do your job; and enables you to collaborate on projects, reducing wheel reinvention.

See Mountain Equipment Co-op’s social intranet
See Bupa’s social intranet

Or you might decide to augment traditional R&D efforts with a lightning-fast idea-sharing community, where partners and customers get together to co-create innovative new offerings.

See My Starbucks Idea community
See Dell Idea Storm community
See first direct Lab community

Or you might decide to augment periodic, broadbrush, traditional research with rich, real-time insights from social media monitoring and customer feedback communities.

See Phones 4u’s The uBar

All of initiatives above use social media tools and form part of a shift towards becoming a social business. Social business isn’t a destination where you arrive, tick the box and it’s done – it’s an ongoing journey. You can always be more social – more open, transparent, collaborative, networked, agile, conversational and effective.

In many ways it’s a shame we ever came up with the term ‘social business’ – and as a term it’s destined to fizzle out – because really it’s just plain business: finding ways to do things better faster and cheaper; only nowadays, at long last, we have the tools, knowledge and techniques readily available to make change happen much more easily than ever before.

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