Here we go again. We have a new buzzword. Social media experts, and many others, are now talking about Social Business.

According to Peter Kim, "a social business harnesses fundamental tendencies in human behavior via emerging technology to improve strategic and tactical outcomes." That's an interesting definition, but it sounds like something a consultant would say.

IBM defines social business as an agile, transparent, and engaged organization (of course, it sells collaboration, community, and social-listening tools).

I don't think the definition is that complicated. What does it mean to be a social business? Being a social business is not about having a team of people monitoring LinkedIn, Twitter, and (if you are in the "leading edge"), Google+ and Pinterest. Those are tools and communication channels.

What Makes a Business a Social Business?

What defines a social business can't be relegated to a small rapid-response, crisis-prevention team. The social strategist should be a customer-interaction strategist, not the leader of a support team that is trying to move quickly to avert a Comcast-like crisis or a United breaks guitars viral-video incident. And no formula exists to make content viral, either.

Running a social business has a much deeper meaning. I say "deeper" because becoming a social business requires a fundamental culture change that spreads across the business and changes the way the business operates.

To be a social business, a business must be sincerely interested in listening to customers and empowering employees to have an open conversation with them.

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image of Gerardo A. Dada

Gerardo A. Dada is a technology marketer with 15+ years of experience driving business strategy and product marketing for technology companies, including Rackspace, Bazaarvoice, and Vignette/OpenText. He was director of worldwide developer marketing and community at Microsoft and led mobile developer programs and tools marketing at Motorola. Gerardo is author of The Adaptive Marketer blog. Reach him via Twitter at @gerardodada.