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What does it Take to be a Social Business?

By now it should be no surprise that social media isn’t going anywhere. As we hear more and more talk about how social technologies are disrupting the way we work, a new trend is emerging: the social enterprise. But what does it mean to be a social business?

I came across an interesting Fast Company post by Drew Neisser talking about what it means to be a social business. In his post, he highlights several key elements of what it takes to be a social business.

People do business with people, not companies

According to Neisser, “one of the notions behind becoming a social business is that your employees should be front and center in your digital activities.” Despite what you may think, business still revolves around relationships. A positive interaction with an employee can make or break a deal. As organizations place a greater emphasis on becoming more social, there will be a shift in strategy from selling a product to selling an experience with an employee.

Practice what you preach

Part of the appeal of the social media revolution, is an increase in transparency. It is now easier than ever before to contact customers and suppliers. Take advantage of this. Becoming a truly social business means, “recognizing the need for your employees to become “digital citizens”’. This isn’t something that you can afford to only pay lip service. It’s important to provide “training for them to manage their digital reputations” because having employees to be proficient “digital citizens” helps create better online interactions. A stronger online interaction, creates good outcomes and that “brings value to the organization and to the individual.”

Slow and Steady wins the race

Do you remember the old children’s story, the tortoise and the hare? Remember how by the end, the tortoise ends up up beating the hare in the race? This is because the tortoise was methodical, it won by moving one bit at a time. The same can be applied to social media. With the multitude of channels now available for companies, it’s important to not get overwhelmed and be a “mile wide and an inch deep”. Slowly grow your social media presence, this way you can focus on how to optimize your strategy for that channel.

If you try and try, you’ll succeed at last

Jimmy Cliff was definitely on to something. Neisser points out “not every social business initiative will take hold, it is important to try lots of approaches and move on when one doesn’t work.” It’s important to be flexible when implementing social media initiatives, “you can’t spend 10 months planning it and then launching it–the idea is to learn quickly and if we need to, fail quickly.”

Social business is something that will take time and patience to achieve, but the rewards are great. I hope that this has helped outline what it takes to become a truly social enterprise.

Your Turn

Is your company trying to become a social business? If so, what are some of the steps they are taking?

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