Benefits Along with the term Big Data, Social Business has become one of the terms du jour when it comes to how organizations work.
Several agencies and organizations have come up with their definitions of what a social business is.
- As we begin to be able to measure the degree to which employees collaborate in helpful ways through social technology, we will be able to build improved reward mechanisms to drive the desired behaviours and break down long-standing cultural barriers. Nigel Fenwick, VP and Principal Analyst, Forrester.
- An organization must promote a business culture of transparency and trust from senior leadership to those working in the field. It must work to encourage a culture of sharing as well, employees need to feel comfortable sharing their sentiment and collaborating across teams and departments. Sandy Carter, VP, Amazon Web Services.
- Stop focusing on the technology and move into how people work… [in] their day-to-day tasks. Luis Suarez, Digital Transformation and Data Analytics, Panagenda.
- A social business is something altogether different as it embraces introspection and extrospection to reevaluate internal and external processes, systems, and opportunities to transform into a living, breathing entity that adapts to market conditions and opportunities. Brian Solis, Digital Analyst.
As you can see, there are several takes on what defines a social business, yet they all have a common theme – the people behind the business.
It’s these people that both agencies and organizations alike are recognizing the need to empower with decisions and deeper interactions within the business, and to be able to do the work they’re best at and be provided with the tools – more often than not, social tools – to help them do just that.
Make that happen, and you have a far better culture, internally and externally. Achieve that culture, achieve more success.
Except, that’s not really what a social business is all about – instead, that’s more about humanizing your business through social collaboration. And there’s a difference.
Defining a Social Business
Perhaps it shouldn’t be too surprising that so many seem willing to jump onto the social business definition as the one highlighted by the above examples. After all, social media has often been a constant when it comes to definitions outside original scopes:
- Return on anything (Relationship, Influence, Connection, Empathy, etc.) except what matters to the bottom line – Investment;
- Explosion in marketing terms (Content, Influence, Social, Social Media, Empathy, Relationship, etc.). Even though they all have a singular goal – results through marketing.
These are just two areas where social has – forced or otherwise – changed the language while not really changing the methodology or meaning behind the new terms. Social business is a little different, though.
A true social business isn’t about using collaboration, social tools and technology to improve the culture of an organization.
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Using a Social Business Mindset to Build Loyalty and Advocacy
That’s not to say that businesses need to reconsider calling what they do today “social business”. After all, they may have a philanthropic involvement with either the local community or a need further afield.
Perhaps they allow employees time off for community projects, or they allocate their Christmas Party money to the local food bank.
For Sensei Marketing, we have a social good initiative that supports The Friendship Bench organization, offering peer-to-peer support for students around the topic of mental health.
It’s these kinds of initiatives that will continue to build loyalty from employees and customers alike, as these collective stats from Engage for Good show:
- Nearly nine-in-10 consumers (86%) say they’re likely to purchase from purpose-driven companies.
- 64% of consumers choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on its stand on societal issues.
- 86% of consumers believe that companies should take a stand for social issues.
- Turnover dropped by 57% in employee groups most deeply connected to their companies’ giving and volunteering efforts.
As the marketing and advertising audience shifts from boomer and Gen X to Millennial and Gen Z, organizations need to shift with them.
The core values of a brand, and how they adapt to being a “true” social business, will have a large say on defining which ones succeed with this new audience, and which ones fall by the wayside.