Social Business

Social business v Social media

“A social business is an organisation whose culture and systems encourage networks of people to drive business value”

Andrew Grill, IBM


“Social media is nothing but a set of technologies that enhances our social nature”

Lars Silberbauer, LEGO Group


These are two quotes I use to set out my stall in my internal (and external) social media talks that I’ve been giving this year.  So I thought I’d expand on them a little here as I start to consider 2017 and where I want to take things.

More and more, I’ve realised the need for Social Business stacks up far more than Social Media does. I’ve realised I’ve been using the latter, when I really mean (and most people really mean) the former.

l-1I just finished reading the CIPR’s #PR2017 document, where the leaders of the different CIPR regional and sectoral groups set out their predictions for the coming year. The 2017 President, Jason Mackenzie sets the scene perfectly for me when he says, “modern PR professionals can ill afford to restrict themselves to the silos of their region or sector”.  For me, looking more internally, I’ll add in “or business unit/function” too.

All throughout the document the authors talk about the need to collaborate, think openly, think digitally, be transparent, be credible, about the need to be integrated and of course, to develop new skills. All of this covers social business as well. People get hung up about social media because they don’t understand channel X, Y, or Z. As Lars suggests, it’s sort of irrelevant. It’s a merely technology that helps up function better in our modern times.

I start my presentations by using Andrew Grill’s definition as I’ve yet to come across anyone in my organisation (with the collective mindset of a traditional, conservative Swiss insurance company) who could possibly disagree with it.  It talks to their language – especially the last three words!  And if you can get your leadership on board with it, then the rest becomes less of a hurdle.  I used to try and ponder on how I can get my UK exec teams (and global ones) onside with tweeting, or instagramming or you tubing. But Andrew’s pearls really made me reassess the start point.

My key leave-behind (I guess that’s the opposite of takeaway?) from this is to get my audience to focus on the “why”, before we focus on the route or channel, and even the content.

So my challenge to you in 2017, is to consider how social your business is (and that could be business with a little b or a Big one!)? Does what you do on social add value? Does it help you improve yourself?  Something to think about, I hope.


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