Social Media means so many things to so many people,  I thought I would add my 2 cents.

I want to start by agreeing with Gary Vaynerchuk in saying that there is no such thing as “social media”. Social media is just a term to describe the current state of the internet. Just in the same way web 2.0 was the phrase a few years back. This is explained in more detail in the video below.

Watch on YouTube > >

I believe the term social media will disappear and people will talk about “social business” instead. Eventually the word social will be dropped and the ideas and methodology in social will just be part of the way people do “business”.

The Wikipedia definition is:

Social media includes web- and mobile-based technologies which are used to turn communication into interactive dialogue among organizations, communities, and individuals. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.” When the technologies are in place, social media is ubiquitously accessible, and enabled by scalable communication techniques

Social media, in my eyes is a mind set not a tool set. It is not just Facebook or Twitter, it is a whole new way of looking at the world of business and a whole new way of operating in it. A company needs to make it part of their culture and not just their strategy.

Today the majority of businesses are just trying to use it to force marketing communications down people’s throats as if it were a TV commercial. They don’t get it and they are missing a trick. Social media is an opportunity for you to communicate with the people who touch your business and give them a service currently reserved for royalty and rock stars.

Social media has the opportunity to touch so many different parts of business: sales, R&D, customer service, public relations, to name but a few. I cannot think of any part of a business which could not make use of social media in some way. Whatever part of a business you are involved in, you could use social to communicate better and to work more effectively as a team. Even if you work alone, you can use the social web to learn how other people in your industry do things and to help you develop your approach and find other people who you can work with.

If you remember one thing from this post, make it this:

“It is not about having a social media strategy, it is about aligning social to your business strategy”

If you want to figure out what you should be doing with social media,  go to see your CEO and ask him what his or her top three priorities are and then go ask a few “social media” companies how they can help you achieve them.  If you cannot see a correlation between what you want to achieve and what they want to sell you, then find someone else to talk to. It might help you to read my post on What is the future of social media.

And just incase any of you don’t believe me about how important social media is, check out this presentation below.

View on SlideShare > >

I agree with almost everything said. I believe that you should not be looking to just create a social media strategy. You should be looking to align social to your business strategy. Instead of thinking what can I do with social media,  you should thinking about how social media can help you do something you are already trying to do – just in a better way.

I think the people who make the most of social media will be those people who figure out how to utilise social media data to build mutually beneficial relationships with the people who touch their businesses. I share some more thoughts on what I think the future holds for social media here.

Your turn

What do you think social media is? Is there anything you would like to add to this article? Do you agree with how I have defined social media?

Other posts you may be interested in

Whose job is social media in an organisation?

How to find ideas to write in your blog

Can social media replace email?

Join the conversation


  1. Got to love Gary V (cuts to the bone every time) – thanks for sharing your POV too. You absolutely hit the nail on the head with your point on “how social media can help you do something you are already trying to do – just in a better way” – but I believe it can ultimately change WHAT you do (as a business) too. Exciting & profound implications for all.

    1. Thanks for sharing your views SImon. I totally agree that social can change what you do as a business. I guess I thought it would be easier to convince somebody to use social to help them do what they currently do, but new way rather than try to convince someone to do something different in a new way. Too many creates of habit around the world to change too much at once!

      Thanks again for stopping by.

  2. I don’t agree that social media is about business. It is about business and private life at the same time
    You can use in a purely private capacity, contacting people of various interests that has nothing to do with your area of business.
    If the phrase social media is not good enough, then I’d rather call it communication media.
    A good thing about for instance facebook, is that it gives the consumer more power. Complaint on a vendors facebook page and you’ll get help much faster than if you had phoned them. In this capacity it is a business media, and a communication between the private person and a specific business.

    1. Hi Cecilia,

      Thank you for your comments.

      I do agree with your point that social media is not just about business. I was writing this from the perspective of a business. If people stopped using social networks for personal reasons then most of the gains that businesses will see in the future will disappear.

      I totally agree with your point that Facebook gives a consumer more power. You took the words right out of my mouth. I will be publishing some work in this vain of thought soon. This point is in my mind, what most businesses do not realise and it is the most valuable piece of advice I could offer anyone. Social restores the balance of power between an individual, whether that be a consumer or an employee, and the world of business.

      Businesses have typically dictated to the world how the relationship works because they have the power. Social shifts the power to make both parties equal. In the future the companies who embrace this movement will succeed and the other will fade away.

      Social is a cultural shift which I do not feel many companies are very comfortable with. They know that it will expose their weaknesses and it scares them.

      Social will be the thing that by the end of this century will have made the best businesses better. The bad businesses will either be given an opportunity to change or they will disappear.

      It will be the catalyst to accelerate the natural selection of which businesses will have a future and which do not.

      Thanks for stopping by and hopefully you will be back soon!


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