Social Media Versus Social Business

In conversations with senior organizational leaders, there is often disdain expressed for the term social media. In some cases, the disdain is rooted in fear of the unknown, but more often reflects the overuse of what is becoming a meaningless term of business.

Below are definitions of social media and social business:

What is social media?

Google: Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

SocialMediaDefined.com: The future of communication, a countless array of internet based tools and platforms that increase and enhance the sharing of information. 

Wikipedia: Social media are computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.

What is social business?

An organization’s use of any or all of the following elements:

Consumer-based social media and networks (for example, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Slide-Share)

Technology-based, internally developed social networks (such as GE’s Colab or the Cisco Learning Network)

Social software for enterprise use, whether created by third parties (for example, Slack, Jive or Yammer) or developed in-house

Data derived from social media and technologies (such as crowdsourcing or marketing intelligence)

Many companies are struggling with three social business issues, namely defining their social business strategy, determining its place among competing priorities, and finding the value proposition or business case to justify investment.

The answer to the confusion lies in understanding the term social business and having a framework to move the organization forward and measure results, incrementally and over a two to three year period.

Social media is not what companies need to embrace. Social business as a normal course of behavior is required from this point forward, and the improvement lies in the speed of social business maturity by the company.