What Is Social Business?
Social business the application of social technologies as a formal component of business processes—revolves around understanding how your customers or stakeholders connect to your business and how you reshape your business to understand, accept, and innovate based on their involvement. Social business is about integrating all of your business functions: customer support, marketing, the executive team, and more. It means doing this for the purpose of creating collaborative innovation and engagement at meaningful, measurable levels tied clearly and directly to your company’s business objectives.
Social Businesses Are Participative
Ultimately, social business is about participation with and by your customers and stakeholders in pursuit of an organization that is strongly connected to them through participative and collaborative processes. As a result, a social business is often better able to respond to marketplace dynamics and competitive opportunities than a traditionally organized and managed firm. This may occur through participation in a social community, a support or discussion forum, or any of a variety of other social applications and contexts. The efforts leading to the creation of a social business often begin with identifying or creating an opportunity for participation with (or between) customers, employees, or stakeholders within community or similar social applications
Build Around Customer Participation
Regardless of who the community is intended to serve, strong communities are best built around the things that matter deeply to the members of the community: passions, lifestyles, causes, and similar fundamentally aligned needs. This applies whether the audience is primarily business B2B communities like Element 14’s engineering community or Dells Take Your Path” small business owners community form around very specific shared needs common to small business owners or a personal-interest B2C or nonprofit or cause related community
Participation Is Driven by Passion
Getting the activity focused on something larger than your brand, product, or service is critical to the successful development of social behavior within the customer or 56c h a p t e r 3: BUILD A SOCIAL BUSINESS. stakeholder base and as well within the fi rm or organization itself. After all, if narrowly defi ned business interests take center stage, if the social interaction is built purely around business objectives, then what will the customers of that business fi nd useful? What’s in it for them? Further, how will the employees of that business rally around the needs of your customers? At Southwest Airlines, employees are bound together in service of the customer, through a passionate belief for the freedom to fl y being a reality for anyone.
So much so that when times are tough or situations demand it, the employees don the personas of “Freedom Fighters” and literally go to work on behalf of preserving the “right to fl y” for their customers. As Freedom Fighters, they keep the characteristic Southwest energy up: This translates directly into the positive conversations about this aspect of Southwest Airlines found on the Social Web. Being a Freedom Fighter is the kind of powerful ideal that unites businesses and customers and the kind of passion— for travel, exploration, or the ability to go out and conquer new markets as a business executive—that powers Southwest. It’s the kind of passion around which a business traveler’s community can be built.