How do you refer to “this space”?
If you’re from a marketing or communications background, you likely refer to “Social Media Marketing.” At Forrester, we named this space “Social Computing” in February 2006, originating out of the Devices, Media, and Marketing research group.
If you’re from an IT background, you likely refer to “Enterprise 2.0″ originally defined by Harvard Associate Professor Andrew McAfee in May 2006, while researching IT for business use.
There’s nothing wrong with these terms. In fact, they speak clearly to the roles they have served for over three years. Social Media Marketing works best as part of integrated communications strategy, along with other forms of media: tradigital, direct, broadcast, out of home, guerilla, et al. Enterprise 2.0 helps technologists focus on new approaches to infrastructure.
Recently, thought leaders have been calling for an elevated focal point: social business. This evolution is natural – and fully anticipated. You see, on their own, social media marketing and enterprise 2.0 are means of building a better mousetrap, of working smarter not harder…and very sisyphean, waiting to repeat the process with “semantic media marketing” and “enterprise 3.0.”
In contrast, social business is a theoretical target for transformation…but the catch phrase alone doesn’t help companies get anywhere.
- Articulate the approach to creating a social business: “intentional creation of dynamic and socially calibrated systems, process, and culture.”
- Utilize a mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive framework for analyzing the current state of business via four archetypes: ecosystem, hivemind, dynamic signal, and metafilter.
- Outline how functions can apply social business principles within their areas of practice: customer participation, workforce collaboration, and business partner optimization.
Within these practice areas, social media marketing lives as a subset of customer participation. Enterprise 2.0 provides infrastructure support within workforce collaboration and partner optimization. They are complemented by additional people, process, and technology considerations within Social Business Design – which encompasses ALL organizational functions as well as broader industry and value chain perspectives.
It’s time for us to straighten out the terminology we use when describing this space. Social media marketing and Enterprise 2.0 have their value within their respective niches and should still be used to refer to functional niches. Social Business may be trending today but cannot stand on its own – it’s only a theory. Social Business Design drives holistic focus on corporate system change, the responsibility of executive management and the overarching goal for business functions.