Everyone’s still talking about Social Media these days. Businesses are promoting their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts at every opportunity. The number of social media experts, consultants, gurus and ninjas still seems to be increasing daily. But how often do you hear people talking about Social Business?

Google Trends Comparison: Social Media vs. Social Business

Google Trends Comparison: Social Media vs. Social Business (via Julie Blaustein)

A Google Trend Comparison of Social Media and Social Business illustrates that Social Business has not hit the mainstream. It may actually never become as popular as Social Media. Just because there isn’t any hype around it, doesn’t mean that it should be ignored.

Introducing the Social Business

While I struggled to find an official definition for Social Business, here is my definition of it. Let me know what you think.

A Social Business is an organization that communicates effectively both externally with customers as well as internally across departments. The organization engages with customers to understand their needs and uses these insights to improve their business processes to ultimately offer their customers a better experience.

The Social Business is sincere and human. It listens to you and me. It cares about what we have to say and the frustrations we have with its products and services. It learns from these interactions and genuinely wants to help us.

Social Business is a Natural Progression of Social Media

Over the years, Social Media has become associated with Marketing, PR and Corporate Communications. Typically, these are the first departments to embrace Social Media. Social Media Marketing has actually emerged as another hype term.

Although Social Media may begin in the Marketing department, it quickly attracts conversations that are not necessarily related to Marketing. The Social Consumer is not shy and is not ashamed to complain about service quality (Customer Service), or to ask for product details (Technical Support) or to apply for a job (HR/Recruitment).

These departments historically operated within silos. What started as a simple marketing initiative has quickly grown into something much larger and complex than many of us expected. Social Media has become a catalyst for organizational change.

Social Business Requires a Holistic Point of View

Social Business Requires a Holistic Point of View (via Peter Kim)

Social Business is a new type of Business Model that is emerging. It requires a holistic view of an organization. A significant amount of internal change management is required to reach this state.

Social Business is a journey, not a destination. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. This is not something that should come across as a major surprise. Customer behavior has changed, so businesses must also change. The future of business is the Social Business.

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  • Anonymous

    In Wikipedia and the Linkedin skills directory, Social Business is described as ” a non-loss, non-dividend company designed to address a social objective”.  In the words of Muhammad Yunus, a business which is “all about others”. 

    • http://www.abbasalidina.com Abbas Alidina

      Thanks for feedback Jeff. Yes, that is what Social Business traditionally refers to.

      However, in the context of Social Media, Social Business is a relatively new term that has emerged to describe the concept of a customer-centric organization that listens, engages, adapts and innovates.

  • Nilofer Memon

    Hi Abbas!

    Nice  post and really informative.


    • http://www.abbasalidina.com Abbas Alidina

      Nilofer: Really appreciate the feedback. Thanks.

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  • Manoj Pillai

    Hi Abbas,
    Liked your post. hv shared it already on my FB page.. :)

    • http://www.abbasalidina.com Abbas Alidina

      Thanks Manoj for the feedback and for sharing it!

  • http://www.meratvforum.info Meratvforum

    It is a great post, however I think there is a bigger issue to deal with
    for this particular brand. Pepsi has never done a great job at evolving
    the brand and products alike (when you compare to Coke for example).

    No matter how good a brand campaign and engagement plan is, you can’t
    force people to love your product, even through social media, however
    you can get people to admire the brand. Unfortunately this disconnect,
    which we see in Pepsi, requires significant product changes in order to
    deliver the results they’re looking for.

    Good luck Pepsi.

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  • http://twitter.com/gtdurzi George Tony Durzi

    Hi Abbas, Thank you for this great article. However, I would argue and say that social media has became a big part in our lives. Every brand needs social media nowadays and what’s even more important is they must know HOW to use it. And that’s exactly what our job (Digital Strategists) is all about. 

    I am sure you have heard about the Nestle crisis? Have a look at the article I wrote about Nestle on my blog. I am also writing another social media crisis that happened a couple of days ago. I will leave the brand name anonymous for now. 

    It is time for all brands to understand how “sensitive” social media is becoming. Social media is not just about engagement, it is about WAY more than that. I am not sure if I would discuss social business though, I see social business more like client servicing.. correct me if I am wrong please. 

    George Durzi – Digital Strategist / Social Media Manager

    • http://www.abbasalidina.com Abbas Alidina

      @twitter-255939606:disqus : Social Media, Social Business or whatever else it is called is leading us to something much greater. A shift towards a more agile, adaptive business landscape where organizations can adjust dynamically to the needs of social consumers. 

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  • http://twitter.com/twieberneit Thomas Wieberneit

    Hi Abbas, 

    I just stumbled over this blog – and need to say that I contradict. 

    In brief: social media is a technology, social business is a business strategy. You just cannot mix them.

    The longer version:

    Lets look at the terms: Social Media is the sum of all internet applications that allow the creation and exchange of user generated content. See also Wikipedia for this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media

    Whilst there is a Wikipedia article on social business as well as one on social enterprise you are right regarding the changed usage. Still: A Social Business is not a natural progression of social media but a strategy that businesses apply. A social business uses social media, internally, as well as externally, but using a technology is nothing without the corporate framework to support this. Applications are tools, they do not solve any issue. A social business in the context of social media (in order to stay closer to your argumentation) is a business that empowers employees, suppliers, and customers and with this provides additional value to all involved parties, owners, employees, suppliers, customers. You can say that this is a collaborative value chain. Again: This doesn’t work by just implementing tools but by building a strategy, mindset and then executing on that using the appropriate tools.

    Paul Greenberg recently put that in better words than I ever can do: http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Columns-Departments/Connect/Social-Everything-Comes-of-Age–78085.aspx

    In that sense social business is not a progression of social media but a user of social media. 


    • http://www.abbasalidina.com Abbas Alidina

      Hi Thomas,

      Thanks for taking the time to read the post and for the valuable comments. 

      I agree with you that Social Business is a business strategy. However, I don’t believe Social Media is just a technology. It’s much more than that. It’s an alternative way to communicate.

      From a business perspective, many organizations started with a social media presence with no regards to becoming a social business. Now these businesses see great opportunities to evolve by developing social business strategies.


      • http://twitter.com/twieberneit Thomas Wieberneit

        Hi Abbas,

        well, with regards to our definition of Social Media we differ a little. I, myself, do not fully agree with Wikipedia  but Wikipedia gives a common opinion. Media, and that includes Social Media, are a channel; Social Media are a channel that is based on a specific set of technologies. In that sense, yes, they are an alternative medium that can be used for communication. Still, they are the technology used for achieving a purpose.


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