“A social business isn’t just a company that has a Facebook page and a Twitter handle. A social business is one that embraces and cultivates a spirit of collaboration and community throughout its organization—both internally and externally.” – IBM
It’s not going to come as a surprise to anyone that we all struggle with social media. Even those of us who live, breathe and sweat it are challenged by trying to connect ever changing platforms with never changing business cultures.
My passion for social media has always been fueled by its awesome ability to connect us.
It was always about the “social” not the media.
The media will always change but the social is part of our DNA.
So why is it that companies have such a hard time with it? (If you’d like to dig a little deeper into the discussion around Social Business, I recommend checking out Mari Smith’s Google+ postof yesterday.)
Businesses have always been social up until the time we ran like lemmings to the cities during the Industrial Revolution.
As Shopkeepers we cared about what customers thought because the village was closely knit and if we pissed someone off, we wouldn’t be in business very long.
Ford and Madison Avenue changed all that.
Soon a schism appeared between company and consumer.
- Customer service “gates” were installed where “difficult” clients were processed at arms length.
- Telephone answering labyrinths were designed to frustrate people into just giving up.
- Employees were told not let social spill into their business.
Social and business were polar opposites.
So what do companies do now that the writings on the wall for the end of business as usual?
They panic, ignore, or…
If they’re already social, they build upon their current client- focused culture and extend that openness and service to all stakeholders in the company by using new technology – social media.
While there’s much online discussion about the definition of Social Business, I like what IBM, the leader in the field, has to say…
So what does a social business look like?
IBM has identified three distinct characteristics of a social business:
Engaged—deeply connecting people, including customers, employees, and partners, to be involved in productive, efficient ways.
Transparent—removing boundaries to information, experts and assets, helping people align every action to drive business results.
Nimble—speeding up business with information and insight to anticipate and address evolving opportunities.
There is a big difference between “doing social media” and “becoming a social business”. – Pam Moore
Is your business ready to become social? Or are you already?
Ray Hiltz is a Social Media Strategist with management roots in restaurant, hotel and performing arts.
A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus.
His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social".
Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.