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Evolving into a Social Business

February 28, 2011 - 2 Comments

“Social Business” seems to be the next logical evolution within an enterprise that has already started adopting social media practices within various departments. Recently, I had a chance to discuss this topic with other industry leading social media practitioners. I also attend a few panel discussions at Social Media Week in San Francisco during which a spotlight was placed on this topic. Through this blog series, I will share my findings and thoughts on topics such as Social Business and Social CRM, and how these concepts can be leveraged within an organization to improve the bottom line.

The online behavior pattern of consumers has shifted noticeably in recent years. According to comScore, the percentage of time spent on portals has declined by 1.4 % while at the same time; the percentage of time spent on social media has been steadily increasing.

Time spent on Social Media Websites

Thus it makes perfect sense to include social media in your marketing mix, but this is only half of the equation. Businesses are realizing that it is important to close this loop by tying social media practices with business processes, to improve the bottom line. However, the general consensus at this point has been that it’s not necessary to invent a new business model just around social media. So, what’s the concept behind “Social Business”?

The fact of the matter is “business is still as usual”, and thus for now Social Business is all about leveraging social media to solve existing business challenges such as:

  • Identifying untapped sales opportunities
  • Shortening existing sales cycles
  • Enhancing customer support by keeping costs low
  • Real time market research to unearth trends and preferences

When it comes to Social Business, Social CRM is another topic of interest. In a nutshell, Social CRM is an attempt to capture a 360 degree view of your customer. Jacob Morgan of Chess Media shared the following schematic for a Social CRM approach. Notice that the Social CRM process is shown as a loop, and not a one-way process.

Social CRM

Here is a chart highlighting a few points differentiating Social CRM from the traditional CRM approach:

Social CRM VS. Traditional CRM

Social CRM Tools

Nimble and Utopy were the most commonly referred to names during the discussion. The consensus was that traditional CRM software still trumps over new social CRM software. We will see more powerful solutions when traditional CRM vendors start incorporating social channels into their software.

One of the common questions around the social business discussion was, “Do I really need my business to evolve to Social Business?” In my opinion, if your customer base is evolving into Social Consumers then it is worth looking into social business. I also liked the answer that one of the panelists gave – “If you are in the coal mining business, then social business may not be your top priority.”

I am still pondering how social media can be used in the coal mining business 🙂  If you have any thoughts or comments please feel to share.

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  1. Hi Sushant, Thanks for featuring the infographic here. I actually had no idea Cisco put it up until I came across a random tweet. Would love to explore some collaboration opportunities with you and team around this if you're up for it! Thanks again!

  2. Very interesting post. Clearly explains how we can position our companies. But sometimes it seems that Facebook will replace all the sites together! Thanks!