Social Business Explained: Social Media & Social Business

When executing a social business initiative, measurement is key to it succeeding. Matt Ridings from SideraWorks commented on my earlier post about communicating a social business initiative to decision-makers. He pointed out that I’ve used “social media” and “social business” too closely in context without separating the differences.

He’s right.

This post is a part of my Social Business Explained blog series for social media professionals and community managers so they can create sustainable social businesses.

I originally wrote this post a couple weeks ago. I intended to point out key business metrics used to measure the health of the business. His response, though brief, prompted me to reconsider my angle on metrics that relate to social business. I was unclear in my explanation of social business and social media initiatives.

At its core, social business pertains to communication, collaboration and organizational autonomy. On the other hand, social media primarily centers around online interactions and developing (and tending to) online communities.

You could be a social business that’s not active in social media; conversely, you can be active in social media and not be a social business.

(I credit this to Ridings’ company that published an informative brief on social business.)

Many companies are uncomfortable in becoming social businesses despite having bolt-on social media initiatives. Social business hinges on how they approach challenges — externally and internally.

Largely, social business helps you solve the strategic issues facing the company. Here are a few strategic questions to ask yourself:

How do we increase employee collaboration?
How do we ask for feedback and act on it?
How do we stay competitive, yet transparent?

Exploring deficiencies found within the organization is key to defining goals. It’s not about extracting complaints; it’s about discovering the million-dollar holes that hold your company back and steering around them. Today’s successful companies challenge status quo and iterate on their progression.

As an operator of a social business program, you’re the visionary and role model for others. Employees and superiors look to you for guidance. I recommend you establish a method of measurement in advance of the business asking you for numbers. It’s about showing that your program is convex in its impact. This helps inform stakeholders that the social business program is delivering on its objectives.

Where all this is going is that employees should be able to develop their own metrics (or at least their department leaders) that involve social collaboration, intelligence or engagement. What drives the company I work for will likely be much different than your company. With that said, here are some metrics worth measuring at it relates to your social business program:

  • Customer satisfaction or NPS; drivers, reactions and outcomes
  • Employee satisfaction and attrition and its drivers
  • Ingestion of ideas and feedback from social media and its outcomes
  • Exploration of new ways to support customers and its results
  • Time spent in meetings and its impact on productivity
  • Employee social media adoption, engagement and results

As you explore these areas further, you’ll be on your way to identifying which metrics are important to your business.

Social business initiatives impact all business’ functions. It isn’t quarantined into one department. It’s everyone’s responsibility. It’s everybody’s win or loss.

Photo Credit: Viernest