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.  So I thought I’d expand on them a little here as well.

More and more, I’ve realised the push 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-1Back in his CIPR presidential days, the 2017 President, Jason Mackenzie set the scene perfectly for me when he said, “modern PR professionals can ill afford to restrict themselves to the silos of their region or sector”.  For me, looking more at social business externally and internally, I’ll add in “or business unit/function” too.

There remains a need to collaborate, think openly, think digitally, be transparent, be credible, to be more integrated and of course, to develop new skills – all crucial elements of social business as well. People get hung up about social media because they don’t understand channel X, Y, or Z. As Lars suggests in his quote above, it’s sort of irrelevant. The platform is a mere technology that helps up function better in our modern times.

I start my internal 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 leadership teams (and global ones) onside with tweeting, or instagramming or Youtubing. 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, 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 in the social sphere add value? Does it help you improve yourself?  Something to think about, I hope.


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