First let’s define a social business and a social brand.

A social brand is a company, product, individual, politician that uses social technologies in order to communicate with the social customer, their partners and constituencies or the general public. There are many social brands today.

A social business is an organization with established processes that improve productivity, efficiencies and workflows, leveraging technology to drive collaboration across job functions and geographies and rooted with a culture of trust, openness and transparency from employees at all levels. A social business is built upon three pillars -- people, process and platforms. All three need to work independent of each other, yet need to be completely integrated into the DNA of the culture. It requires employees to actually communicate -- processes and governance models that help shape employee behavior online -- and technology to facilitate collaboration across the organization. A strong social business will enable a social brand to scale and have more meaningful conversations with the social customer. There are very few of these today.

The Main Differences

An effective social brand doesn’t always translate into an effective social business. It’s usually the other way around. Here is more helpful information about the differences between a social brand and a social business.

When it comes to measuring both a social business and a social brand, there are certainly similarities and differences. Internally, those in charge of social business planning will establish a social media measurement framework and ensure the entire organization (job functions, geographies) is measuring consistently across the board. Measuring a social brand could mean anything -- clicks, page views, engagement, community health, share of voice, brand sentiment and revenue, very similar to what the Social Business Index is measuring today. The social business index is measuring brands’ external engagement strategies and marketing programs. It’s not measuring the internal dynamics of change management -- process creations and technology adoption, the three pillars that make up a social business in my opinion. Perhaps they will build that into the platform in the future.

15 Indicators of Social Business Transformation

Nonetheless, here are 15 indicators that will help determine if an organization is slowly transforming into a fully collaborative social business broken down by People, Process and Platforms.

People (i.e. Change Management)

1. Organizational leadership mandating that internal teams collaborate across functional business units, geographies, product organizations and channel partners

2. CEO and/or executive teams using social technologies to communicate externally and encouraging employees to do the same

3. Social Media “Center of Excellence” teams and Social Organization Models form

4. Global/functional teams sharing best practices frequently; organizational silos become non-existent

5. Social behaviors become engrained in the everyday fabric of employees’ workflow and process

6. Social business becomes a consistent line item in marketing, operations and IT budgets

7. Human Resources adds “social” in job descriptions and employees are held accountable

Process (i.e. Governance Models)

8. Governance models created, published and shared across the organization, i.e., process for new employees to be trained to be social media practitioners

9. Social Media Policies and guidelines co-created by senior management and employees

10. Consistent social media measurement framework agreed upon and used to measure both internal and external social initiatives

11. Workflows created that collect external customer feedback and filtered back to the product organizations

Platforms (Technology Deployment and Adoption)

12. Internal communities and collaboration systems deployed and being used across functional business units -- sales, marketing, customer support, supply chain management

13. Collaboration is happening more within internal communities than in email

14. Social CRM capabilities, applications and systems become a priority in management and deployment

15. IT loosens up firewall restrictions (bandwidth, IP blocking) of social media usage from behind the firewall


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