Social media is evolving past the early days of fun and novelty. Yup, it’s serious now. For society and for businesses and organizations. Which makes one wonder, with all this evolution and intersection – of social media, marketing, and business, how will it all shake out?

Social media has spawned its share of pundits and celebrities, but we suspect that the real power behind actual social businesses lies somewhere behind the scenes. Have you ever noticed social media ‘celebrities’ that are associated with businesses or organizations? It’s an interesting paradox that (in many cases) the individual has 70 or 90K followers and the organization has 5000. What does that say about social media and the social business?

We’re beginning to feel a bit like we’ve been sold a bill of goods. Straight-up professional marketing organizations have embraced social media, yes, but simply as a tool to serve the ends of their marketing goals. Does anyone honestly believe that a business that has not ‘gone social’ is doomed to extinction? It seems more like those that have gone social simply have a larger marketing budget to work with. Some might say the ‘social business’ is a myth. That relationships, friendliness, helpfulness and attentiveness is how ‘social’ businesses have been successful for hundreds of years!

So what does social media bring to the table for marketers? For the social business?

Q1) What is the literal meaning of ‘social business’?

Q2) What are the characteristics of a social business?

Q3) What is the ‘secret’ to being a social business?

Q4) Will people care if you are a social business if your customer service sucks?

Q5) What role does social media play in becoming a social business?