Social Business, Social Media for businesses


I often get asked what the term Social Business really means.  Is it the new name for social media?  Is it something else entirely?

Here are the main differences as it applies to business.  I’ve broken the main points down into the top line bullet points and highlighted the main differences between the two.

Social Business

Breaks down organisational silos.  In the social business collaboration enables virtual teams to work together efficiently on projects without the need to send attachments round, keep multiple copies of the same document that gets out of date.

Democratises data.  Project and workflow information is available to everyone in the team that needs the information.  Enterprise search enables documents to be discovered, permissions ensure that the right documents can be seen by the right person.

Anywhere, Anytime working.  Project teams can work remotely. Conferencing tools enable sharing of information, virtual face to face meetings, and synchronous work streams and engagement.

Flattens hierarchies.  In the social business, internal communications tools means that you can communicate with the right person in the company without navigating the hierarchical layers of management.  Work with the person in the organisation that has the skills you need.

Social Data. Keeps communication flowing and knowledge sharing inside the business

Social Media

The earphones of the brand. Listen to what your customers are saying about you, engage them in dialogue, build relationships and solve problems.  Discover nascent brand issues before they magnify to major problems.

The brand microphone. Use your brand advocates to tell your message on your behalf.  With appropriate advocacy programs and incentives schemes in place, your brand advocates will become an extension to your business.

Community Engagement.  Have a relationship with your customers and partners that goes beyond the sales cycle.  Build enduring feedback loops, gain innovation, ideas and change sentiment.

Competitive credibility.  With thought leadership papers and leadership posts you can show your expertise in the marketplace against your competitors.

Search visibility.  With updated, fresh and engaging content, you will be easily discovered and visible in search rankings.

Social Connections.  Keeps two way conversation flowing between the business and its customers and partners

Both social media and social business conversations enable a rich dialogue inside and outside of the organisation.  To be successful in your social media activities externally, you need to have a ‘joined up’ business internally.

Good business practices will deliver excellent customer charters, customer service and customer satisfaction.

It all starts from within.  Is your business a social business yet?

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Image credit: jasminejennyjen


6 thoughts on “Social Business, Social Media for businesses

  1. dave

    you really made it clear. I was sjust reading about those crowdfunding sites which I think falls into the social business, don’t they? In terms of social business, I guess Skype brought kind of this shift as consultants could stay home and do conferences etc, team all over the world would chat. I remember a video conference online from the company google bought (, where the CEO in the US and the whole team made a video conference live to their counterparts in Puna. That was socially awesome at that time:-)

    Thanks god that you didnt define social media as digital technology limiting it to Facebook only 🙂

    1. eileenb Post author

      It is FAR more than just Facebook! We need to break down these misconceptions and stop the confusion. Otherwise we will never be able to progress with social business… Its about anywhere access – on the device you choose, working how you choose, where you choose.
      And you have access to everything you would have if you were in the office.
      Thanks for commenting…

  2. Jeff Marmins (@jeffmarmins)


    Nice summary and valid definitions, thank you. There continues to be an unfortunate conversation around semantics but customers and prospects are confused. The digital, connected world is social. The web is and always has been social. We are simply more connected at a faster and more mobile rate and the technology has become easier to use. The internets founding, after all, was the intention of connecting people across dispersed geographies to more easily work on projects and solve problems. We’re there. The web = social. It is just the next plateau of technology. The real conversation is that of the cultural changes and workflow changes that are required to properly leverage today’s technology and whatever comes next.

    Having an adaptive culture in your organization and being relentless about offering the best product and character service will win. Successful execution and adoption of the most recent technology, therefore making you more connected, will only provide real time access to your true brand and reputation.

    Terrific, salient point: “Good business practices will deliver excellent customer charters, customer service and customer satisfaction. It all starts from within.”

    1. eileenb Post author

      Thank you for your kind words and commnents. So many people think that social business is ‘just about Facebook’ and don’t get the value of collaboration inside the firewall. Too few experts have the grounding in Enterprise collaboration technologies to be able to talk about both sides of the firewall. It’s either social media OR, collaboration. Never both.
      It’s important that we start to think holistically about ways to enpower the workforce with collaboration and communication. without this joined up story, many businesses will still flounder around…
      Thanks again 🙂

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