Social business is a way of operating a company that combines classic strategy with today's emerging technologies. It sounds like a very generic term, but it's really about putting in place new ways of working, marketing, communicating and innovating.
For example, companies like TurboTax and Delta Airlines use Twitter for real-time customer service responses. IBM and AT&T use internal online communities to increase employee collaboration and get products to market sooner. Even in supply chain management, companies like BASF and Owens & Minor are using social to improve information flow and increase operating efficiency.
he direction we're heading is towards operating environments where companies embrace participative culture and collaborate on a more persistent basis, rather than preparing new brand campaigns season after season. We're seeing some startups like (Chicago T-shirt company) Threadless succeed here already. (Threadless, which has more than 1.8 million followers on Twitter, runs T-shirt design competitions on its online social network and lets users vote on their favorites, many of which are then created and sold on its site.)
Larger brands like Coca-Cola's Vitamin Water are experimenting with co-creation, which involves opening the product development process up to greater consumer involvement. It's a smart move — by staying in close contact with consumer preferences, products end up on store shelves with a greater chance of sales success.