Social Media vs Social CRM vs Social Business vs Enterprise 2.0


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First off, yes this is an actual chess puzzle (you know I love chess right?), can you find the winning move for white?

I’ve been giving this some thought lately as over at Chess Media Group (CMG) we are gearing up for our new website launch which also means finalizing our list of our core service offerings. There are a lot of “social” words people have been using lately such as social media, social business, enterprise 2.0, and social crm (and perhaps you can think of others). I’m not going to define these terms for the world but instead I’m going to tell you what I think about these terms when I hear them and what Chess Media Group is thinking when we discuss these terms with clients, partners, and vendors. Within the past few years “social media” was the term that everyone was using to describe strategies that were developed around social channels such as Twitter and Facebook. At conferences now we’re starting to hear the new social CRM and social business terms thrown around yet those terms are still being used to describe the same things that the “social media” folks have been saying all along. Social business, Enterprise 2.0, and Social CRM are not evolutionary terms, they are evolutionary concepts and strategies.

I’m writing this post as much for my sanity as for yours. Please keep in mind I am trying to keep this simple and as easy to understand as possible. By no means is everything included here but the idea is that you can read the definitions and say “oh ok, that makes sense.” So here is what I think of when I hear these terms:

Social Media:

Simply put when I hear social media I think of another channel comprised of various social sites such as Twitter and Facebook. These channels much like existing channels (phone, email, chat support, etc) need their own processes, guidelines, governance, and forms of accountability. This new channel should not be used simply because it exists but because it makes business sense. Meaning there is a business need for it; it solves a problem and provides some sort of value. Social media is a tactical approach and not ingrained in strategy. Meaning if you wanted to develop a social CRM strategy, social media might be one of the channels to pursue.

Social Business:

This is the evolution of business and is what I would consider (up to this point) the desired state of where companies should be (if there was such a state). When I think of a social business I think of a collaborative enterprise that effectively collaborates both internally behind the firewall and externally with customers. In my opinion one cannot really exist without the other. You can say that an effective social business is built upon the concepts, strategies, and integration of both Social CRM and Enterprise 2.0. Evolving to a social business is a long term strategic approach and along with E2.0 and SCRM includes things such as culture and corporate philosophy.

Social CRM:

This is a strategy (oftentimes supported by technology) which allows organizations to make customers a focal point of how they do business. This isn’t to say that companies just talk to and collaborate with their customers but that the customers are actually a key force behind the development of ideas, services, and products that the organization produces. This is what I wrote about in my post on The Real Value of Social CRM: “The real value from SCRM comes from being able to change how your company does business and improving the user experience while building advocacy. Simply responding to as many comments or tweets as possible is senseless and not scalable. A much better solution is to actually fix the problems the customers are identifying and collaborating with your customers to help give them what they want. This is part of what being a social business is all about.” This is also a long term approach and strategy. Chess Media Group is working on a few white papers all around this space which we will be releasing soon, so stay tuned!

Enterprise 2.0:

This is all about collaboration behind the firewall between employees and partners; it’s almost the counterpoint to SCRM. There is some overlap between Social CRM and Enterprise 2.0 as information and effective collaboration needs to flow both ways. Effective collaboration within large organizations is challenging because employees spend a lot of time in email, information and subject experts are hard to find, employees have dozens of user names and passwords to various internal resource sites, ideas are drowned out, departments oftentimes don’t communicate, work is duplicated, and…I’ll end it here. The point is that Enterprise 2.0 seeks to improve how the company operates and collaborates with employees and partners (similarly SCRM is trying to do something similar with customers). When I refer to Enterprise 2.0 I am referring to internal collaboration between partners and employees only, there has been a lot of confusion lately as to whether or not this is internal, external, or both. Andrew Mcafee originally defined Enterprise 2.0 as something that takes place externally and internally however in a recent video I heard him define E2.0 as something that exists only behind the firewall, internally. You can call it what you want, I’m sticking with internal. Yes, this is also a long term approach and strategy.

If you read the above you will notice something interesting and that is that all of the above are strategies with the exception of “social media” which is a channel. Now eventually (hopefully in the near future) Chess Media Group is going to move to a point where our key strategic consulting areas are going to be around Enterprise 2.0 and Social CRM (or whatever we need to do to develop the long term goal of creating a social business), but at this point in time “social media” is going to be a separate service offering (even though in my opinion social media is the starting point for SCRM). Why? Well for a few reasons. Most people still think of “social media” as a strategy separate from SCRM and in fact most companies that offer social media services include things such as conversation audits, competitor analysis, social site selection, content creation strategy, policy and governance creation, and many other things. You don’t typically hear about these things when talking about SCRM yet Chess Media Group can handle all of the above and then some. The issue is that the SCRM space is still relatively undefined so it’s hard to list out specific service offerings around it, which is why at this point in time social media remains its own service offering even though as I mentioned, we consider it an entry point into SCRM.

So that’s my story and at least for now I and Chess Media Group are sticking to it. Now it’s your turn, what are your thoughts and ideas around this, does it make sense? The floor is yours and I’m hear to answer any questions and discuss, let’s make it good. Oh, and did you figure out the answer to the chess puzzle?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jacob Morgan
I'm a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and futurist who explores what the future of work is going to look like and how to create great experiences so that employees actually want to show up to work. I've written three best-selling books which are: The Employee Experience Advantage (2017), The Future of Work (2014), and The Collaborative Organization (2012).


  1. And no, I couldn’t figure out the chess puzzle. Trick question?

    I’d specifically call your attention to a company I was just made aware of called Get Satisfaction, which I believe calls on some of the tenants of social CRM for a very acute business model based on the application of a user community / open FAQ system.

  2. “Social Media” has been one of those buzz words that people throw out there to sound current when they actually don’t know a thing about it. The evolution of these concepts in relation to Social Media will separate the the people who really are in the know from the people just spouting off buzz words. The cream will rise to the top as social media continues to evolve. Great summaries!

  3. Jacob seems to divide social interaction into two worlds: customer interaction (SCRM) and employee/partner interaction (E2.0). But this seems artificial and unnatural to how businesses operate. Ultimately, aren’t customers your most important partners? It is important to remember that internal collaboration and external communication are not always mutually exclusive – and segmenting them as such could be counter productive.

    By way of example, if we have a support knowledgebase that both partners (resellers) and customers use and it is enabled for social interaction (comments, rating, tags) is it SCRM or is it E2.0? And more importantly, does it matter?

    While it is certainly true that people often think that the social systems used by the public (customers) are best suited for listening, and that internal social systems are best suited for collaboration, they are both about learning from, and communicating with, the community.

    With both internal and external groups operating under the E2.0 umbrella, the right mix of culture, process and tools can enable the lines of communication and information access to be open, fluid and void of the usual silos that stem from segmenting business processes. So let’s forget the labels and get on with it.

    Phil Green
    CTO, Inmagic


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