A truck is just a truck. It's where you take it that makes the difference.

Matt Ridings, Contributor

January 11, 2013

3 Min Read

10 Social Networks For Special Interests

10 Social Networks For Special Interests

10 Social Networks For Special Interests (click image for larger view and for slideshow)

There's a lot of confusion out there regarding the difference between 'social media' and 'social business.'

In the pursuit of clarity, I thought I'd use a simple metaphor: a pickup truck. What does a pickup truck have to do with social business? Glad you asked.

A pickup truck can be fantastic just like it is. Just like a car, you can show it off to your friends, it can get you from point A to point B. It's great.

Social media is great, too. You can use it to show off your company to your customers, you can engage with them and connect them from point A to point B. It serves a perfectly useful function right off the showroom floor. If that's all you want to use it for, that's fine.

However, some people don't view pickup trucks in the same way they do cars. Some people view them as a platform upon which they can build a world of opportunity. It's not a truck to these people, it's a mobile business platform. Perhaps they want to start a lawn business; perhaps they are farmers, perhaps they have large boats they need to tow. These people with vision take the foundational traits of a pickup truck and leverage them to create something more meaningful and with far more impact.

[ What would you change in Facebook's business toolset? Read 9 Facebook Timeline Changes Businesses Want. ]

That's the relationship between social media and social business. Social media is a great tool, but it has far greater implications and opportunities for business than what you see on the surface. It requires a bit of vision to shift past simply thinking about Facebook or Twitter and instead see how the larger societal impact affects your organization and the true opportunities it presents.

Once that vision is in place, you will immediately begin to see how you can leverage the collaborative aspects within your own organization's walls to create better products, to launch faster, to use and retain knowledge more effectively and to attract and hire the best people. You'll also see that a large cultural shift is taking place and it needs a guide to help it move in the direction most beneficial to your business.

Once you see the indisputable statistics of how a social business approach helps companies outperform their competitors and become more profitable, the landscape begins to change. What once was just another vehicle called social media now looks like a foundation for change -- a pickup truck, if you will, called social business.

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About the Author(s)

Matt Ridings


Matt Ridings is the Co-Founder & CEO of SideraWorks, a management consultancy focused on social business transformation. He is a business strategist, keynote speaker, executive facilitator, and writer. A new book -- Creating Gravity: Designing An Organization That Attracts -- is slated for a 2013 release with his co-author Amber Naslund. His work over the last 10 years has focused primarily in developing innovation cultures, change management initiatives, and specialized market research using social channels. He has advised organizations in digital and organizational strategies since 1994 including large established brands such as Levi's, Cisco, and British Airways as well as helping to launch new ones like JetBlue and RedSpark. Prior to SideraWorks he worked as either owner or Partner in three ventures, including building out a 300+ person consultancy.

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