Social media or social business – what’s the difference, and why understanding this difference is important to your business. We’ll explain…

Social media is technology, delivering tools which enable a conversation between people, no matter where they are on the planet. The use of these tools has been labelled ‘social media’ but the term itself doesn’t cover any plan or strategy. You love your cat, so you post a picture of it. Basically, you dip in and out as you please.

Social business uses the same technology and tools but this is where the similarity ends.

Social media is something Millennials and Gen Z have grown up with. They Tweet, pop out Facebook posts, update their Instagram photos, and video themselves on TikTok with speed, dexterity and aplomb. What they see and think, they post and share… and then move on.

That is not a methodology for social media that businesses should engage in and that is why we should stop using the term ‘social media’ when it’s related to the business world. We need to call it social business.

Social business should be a part of any business from its first day to its last day of operation. It is a process that involves consistency, commitment, budget, technology and people. It requires an organised, measured and planned approach. With those elements in place, the discipline reaps rewards for businesses.

Social business isn’t a magic wand and there is no accurate yardstick by which you can measure X number of Tweets equalling XX number of ££s or $$s. So if this is the way you are still trying to measure the return of investment of your businesses social activity then you are missing the point.

The real measure for social business is its impact on the business’s sustainability. Social business is a journey not a destination.

The content we put out along that journey needs to focus on our audience, what interests them and what is useful to them. Content is all about them and not about us!

An effective social business journey must dovetail with other marketing activity, fitting with the target market, the businesses strategy and purpose. When done well, social business keeps companies and organisations at the forefront of customers’ and potential customers’ minds. It enhances the organisation’s reputation and branding, giving credibility, and engendering customer and staff loyalty. In other words, supporting a business’s sustainability.

Ten tips for getting to grips with social business

Whether you are new to social business or whether you have been Tweeting for years, don’t worry. It is never too late to start but the sooner you begin building your sustainability with social business the better. Ideally social business should be a part of a business from day one, and carry on for as long as the business is operating.

Start with the Visually Explained checklist. This will help you audit your current social business performance, and act as a building block from which you can grow:

  1. Are you in the right frame of mind for social business? We still come across business people who are sceptical about ‘social media’ and others who pay it lip service. You have to be prepared to commit to the journey.
  2. Are you adequately equipped? You and your staff may need guidance on setting up social media platforms and understanding the process.
  3. Do you understand the social business process? Because social business, as we said at the start of this blog, is purposeful and strategic and not hit and run.
  4. Where do you source images from? There are many images available on the web, some free – such as on Pixabay – and others with royalties attached. You also need to create some branded images to support your social business activity.
  5. Have you thought about training? Social media platforms are constantly evolving, adding and taking away features. Are you confident that your ability to post your holiday pictures on Facebook is sufficient to run your social business activity?
  6. Are you able to dovetail social business activity with your business goals, your business plan and your marketing strategy? It is important there is no mismatch.
  7. Have you checked out your competition and, importantly, your social business credentials compared to theirs?
  8. Are you confident you truly engage with your audience or are you just adding to the ever expanding volume of traffic?
  9. Do you track performance against KPIs? What KPIs do you use?
  10. Do you have an up-to-date social media policy for your business and are your team familiar with it?

If you’re not confident with the results of your audit, or you would like a more thorough social business audit carried out, we are here to help.

At Visually Explained, we specialise in helping our business clients get to grips with social media so for them it truly becomes a social business journey. We either set them on the right path, or become their outsourced team.

To chat to us about social media for your businesses, please get in touch.