I use the word social business a lot, but there seem to be few definitions of what I and others actually mean when we use it. I thought I would list out some definitions to help others.

[BTW – the phrase in this context is not to be confused with the traditional definition of a social business as a social enterprise (a business pursuing a social objective rather than profit).]

This is taken from Social Business Forum 2011:

  1. “An organization that has put in place the strategies, technologies and processes to systematically engage all the individuals of its ecosystem (employees, customers, partners, suppliers) to maximize the co-created value”

I like the concept of eco-system here.

This is from Business 2 Community:

      2.  “The implementation of the unique communicative properties of social media across all levels of a    business.”

I like the concept of ‘across all levels of a business’. It’s not just the role of marketing and comms!

This is from Niall Cook:

3.  ” Social business isn’t a state, it’s an acknowledgement that culture and technology has changed, and that organizations can leverage these changes to solve the same business problems that they have always had and will always have.”

I like the emphasis on social business as a change agent.

Here is my definition, perhaps a bit theoretical and aspirational, but here goes:

4. “A business that has broken down silos and barriers that enable employees to have a genuinely open and collaborative relationship with the outside world.

It is a business that doesn’t just use social media – social technology and social thinking have permeated all areas of the business and sit within its cultural DNA in terms of how it talks, listens and learns from its stakeholders.”


Here is a one from @fredcavazza, featured in Forbes:


[blockquote] 5. Social Business is not a technology, a practice or a strategy, it’s a unified vision of social media usage inside and outside of a company.

As brands and organizations are maturing on social media and enterprise 2.0′s adoption, they need to have a more integrated approach in order to better serve customer’s and employee’s expectations, and to spread social practices in employee’s daily habits. The objective of social business is to rethink the company’s strategy, processes and culture with a social lens. [/blockquote]


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