It is very easy to confuse social media and social business. The graphic in this post, created by my colleague David Armano, is a great illustration of the differences between a social brand (for the purposes of this post, this is synonymous with social media) and social business. At a very high level, a social brand is what we all do from a communications perspective to include marketing, public relations, customer support and so on.
So what is a social business strategy? It helps evolve the thinking and preparedness of an organization by bridging internal and external social initiatives, which results in a more collaborative company and shared value for all stakeholders (customers, partners, employees). If you study the above graphic, a social business is very much focused on the internal dynamics of a company, from training and governance to knowledge sharing and culture. Social media policies and employee engagement also play a pivotal role in shaping a social business.
A social business strategy can almost be considered an enabler, because if you have your internal process and structures sorted out, it is much easier to scale your social media initiatives externally. Whether it is launching a global Facebook page or empowering employees to engage in social media, having a solid social business plan will help minimize mistakes.
As a marketing guy by trade, I will try to communicate the value of how a better social business strategy enables a better social brand.
A social business strategy will ensure that there is one measurement framework and that it is rolled out properly, encompassing all of the stakeholder’s feedback and business requirements.
For some early thinking about social business, feel free to check out my book, Smart Business, Social Business. It takes a look at social business and how it can be deployed in your company.
Michael Brito is a senior vice president of social business strategy at Edelman Digital and was a session presenter at the PRSSA 2012 National Conference. You can catch him on Twitter or read up on his social business blog.