Social media strategy vs Social business strategy. Whats the difference?

Welcome back

Some organisations talk about their social media strategy, while others talk about their social business strategy. While you may think they are two phrases for the same thing, they are actually different. So let me break it down for you.

A Social Media strategy is: 

The channels, platforms and tactics used by an organisation to support publishing, listening and engagement with consumers.

A Social Business strategy is: 

The integration of social technologies and processes into business values, processes and practices to build relationships and spark conversations inside and outside of the organisation. The goal is to create a set of visions, goals, plans, and resources that align social media initiatives with business objectives.

The difference?

A social media strategy is about how an organisation uses social media within it company as an extra support feature to what they are already current doing. A social business strategy fully integrates social media into the business and forms part of the organisations core values and goals.

So what makes a good social business strategy?

A good business strategy needs two things: it must clearly align with the strategic business goals of the organisation and it must have alignment and support to enable execution of the strategy. No matter how good an social business strategy is, without organisation support it will never work effectively.

But good social business strategies do not just happen. They are created and shaped from social media strategies. Most companies start with external-focused social media initiatives and gradually enable and socialise different areas of the organisation, until social is deeply embedded into the fabric of the organisation.

Altimeter state that there are six stages a business will go though on the way to become a social business.

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 1.58.18 pm

Stage 1: Planning – is to listen and learn to social to ensure a strong foundation is created for strategy, development and organisational alignment and execution. This is an important step to complete to ensure you get started off on the right foot.

Stage 2: Presence – is to stake a claim by establishing a formal or informal presence in social media. It is the dipping of your toe in the pool to check the temperature before jumping right in.

Stage 3: Engagement – is when you make a commitment to social media in your organisation. (kind of like a marriage) This stage is sometimes combined with stage 2 (for those head strong lovers). Businesses that do well at this stage realise that social is not just about getting people to buyer your product or monitor customer activity, but instead understand that social media can affect the entire customer lifecycle.

Stage 4: Formalise – social media will spread quickly through your organisation so must be coordinated so silos are not created between departments. An executive sponsor must be chosen and a social hub created to organise social strategy, create governance, foster increasing initiatives and technologies throughout the rest of the organisation.

Stage 5: Strategic – is when you become a real social business as social starts to integrate into all areas of the business and top executives become fully engaged in the process.

Stage 6: Converged – the final stage is when being social is a way of business.There is no separate social business strategy, there is just one strategy, one set of business objectives and outcomes. Organisations in this stage are driven by a vision  of how social media improved customer and employ relationship and experience.

You can read more about Altimeters social business here.

So tell me:

Do you have a social media strategy or social business strategy within your company?

So you actively participle is your companies social media activities?

Are you looking to further integrate social media to become a social business?

As always I look forward to your comments below.

Until next time,



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