While exploring the difference between Social Media and Social Business, I realized that Social Business is a natural progression of Social Media.

However, one of the biggest roadblocks on the path towards achieving a Social Business is that most organizations are built as disparate departments that operate within their own silos, completely sheltered from the rest of the organization.

Social Media Starts in Marketing

In every single case I have seen, an organization adopts Social Media for marketing purposes. They want to increase awareness, boost sales and develop a 2-way relationship with customers. Naturally, this becomes an activity that the marketing department is responsible for.

Conversations Creep Beyond Marketing

However, once a brand is engaging on Social Media, they start attracting conversations that are no longer related to marketing.

Customers will complain about products or services, something that customer service needs to resolve. Other customers may inquire about job openings, which is the responsibility of the HR department. Further yet, some customers may ask technical questions, which can only be handled by the technical support team. Things can spiral out of control fairly quickly.

Marketing Eventually Becomes Overwhelmed

The marketing department quickly becomes overwhelmed because they are not qualified or trained to have direct conversations with their customers on matters outside of marketing.

The Social Media Marketing Deception

The marketing team needs to coordinate with other departments in order to handle these types of requests. Unfortunately, most organizations are not wired this way and each department exists within a silo with minimal intra-departmental communication.

Even if the marketing team does actually try to initiate a dialogue with other departments, they often get tangled in organizational bureaucracy. Through no fault of the marketing team, the potential of Social Media gets trapped within the marketing department. While it may seem like the organization is quite social, it really is not. This is what I call the Social Media Marketing Deception.

There is No Quick Fix

Getting on Social Media is easy. Becoming a Social Business is difficult.

To become a Social Business, you have to be able to communicate internally across departments. You must be able to learn from conversations with customers and then leverage those findings to improve your products and services. You cannot just be social with your customers. You must also be social internally.

The 3 pillars of a Social Business are: People, Process and Technology.

Social Business - People Process Technology

Social Business - People Process Technology (via @britopian)

It all begins with company culture and customer centricity. The most important step in the process of becoming a Social Business is to get business leaders on board. Sadly, unless the leadership team supports this movement, no organization will progress beyond the Social Media Marketing Deception.

Business leaders have the authority to impact cultural change across the organization. Only with the support of the leadership team, can an organization free itself from the shackles of Social Media Marketing and ultimately transform itself into a Social Business.