Social business - more than just social media marketing

Social business - the way forward.

Social Media has significantly changed the way that businesses & brands interact with customers. There are many articles about Social Media and Social Media Marketing. Even though some businesses are yet to fully embrace this, the development of the Social Business is taking place.What is a Social Business? The best way to answer this is to use SAP as an example.

Purple Frog attended the CMO Exchange in July 2011 were Sarah Goodall of SAP was one of the speakers and panelists. It was very enlightening to hear her talk about how SAP has developed into a Social Business and how as a result social media transcends the marketing department and actually involves the whole business.

Sarah described how SAP had in effect started in social media before it had even really been thought of. They originally started by creating networks where their developers who were based around the world could get together online and help each other solve programming and other software issues. This in turn led to further collaboration between the developers covering innovation, peer insights and evaluation.

Social Business

The IT community as a whole not just SAP has been able to benefit from social networking. In fact according to a recent Forrester Research report (When to Socialize online with B2B buyers December 2010), “As a source for answers to business problems they need to solve, and for the ability to tap into a broader network of peers, business decision makers are making greater use of social media for business purposes”

SAP totally embraced the value of Social Networking as they saw that it gave customers the opportunity to get the maximum from their IT investments in a way that had not previously been possible.

SAP concentrated on 3 specific areas of benefit to develop the social business:

  • Social Innovation
  • Social Intelligence
  • Social Commerce

By concentrating on these areas SAP were able to develop the SAP Community Network. This network is open to and used by a variety of people in different roles. These include developers, IT professionals, business analysts, decision makers, and end users. The network also hosts the largest aggregation of SAP experts, partners, industry opinion leaders, and SAP employees all of whom are collaborating to increase the return on customers’ SAP investments.

SAP were not the only company at the CMO Exchange to have developed a Social Presence which transcends marketing. Psion have also developed a Psion Community where they are also engaging with developers and other professionals as well as actively talking to clients to understand their needs, wants and desires.

The Social Business has been able to grow within the IT industry. Further examples are communities that have grown up around open source software such as Drupal and WordPress. It does not have to be just the domain of the IT industry though. Whatever sector you are in which part of your business would not benefit from:

Social Innovation: The ability to develop products and services whilst accessing all creative, business and financial talent available. The ultimate in brainstorming.

Social Intelligence: Using insights and understanding gained through collaboration for new product launches, project development and education. The ultimate in market and peer research.

Social Commerce: Offer solutions and products on new platforms that are only a click away from the discussion areas. The ultimate in visibility.

So don't let everything pass you by. If you are not engaged with your customers then someone else will be. The future for all business is collaboration and through collaboration developing a social business. Make sure you are ahead of your competition and are acting first.

To read more from Sarah Goodall of SAP visit her blog Tribal Impact which gives even more details on the developments at SAP and where they are going next.

About the author

Boss of Digital. Swindon fan. And frantic music collector.

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