Social enterprise—a word I’ve encountered recently and truly found to be a source of wonder and inspiration. People who engage in social enterprise actually have a humanitarian goal in mind which is to either improve the social or environmental state of the world (or even both). New hopes for betterment had opened up. Suddenly, it wasn’t just about doing business but doing business for the common good. Okay, I might be sounding too idealistic and optimistic right now but isn’t that a good thing? These people saw a problem and generated a solution. And now, they can involve the public more through online media communication and improve their business through social feedback.
Social feedback implies a two-way communication eventually resulting to action. By incorporating responses from possible interested parties and individuals, you will be able to improve your services, products, and plans for upcoming projects.
HOW SOCIAL FEEDBACK IMPROVES SOCIAL ENTERPRISES
- Assessment – Through social feedback, you can find out the scope of your reach. Have you reached your target group of people? How are they responding to your business or cause? Are you getting the results you want? This is a first step to evaluating if you are on the right track.
- Focus – Social/environment development is the goal of social enterprises which usually entails reaching out to a target community. Of course, no one knows the problem better than those who experience it, right? It’s wise to get perspectives from people who are in the same situation and ask them how they want the system to improve. This allows you to focus your projects on solving actual problems and addressing real-life concerns.
- Collaboration – This might be the most powerful advantage of utilizing social feedback since it opens up doors for innovations and further improvements. The social media has been a great tool for online collaboration since it gathers people from all over the world. Through it, ideas become richer and inclusive. Plus, they become more feasible since real-life situations are taken into consideration. More so, it gathers people with the same passion and heart for a particular cause which makes it even more exciting and real.
- Urgency – Since social feedback is mostly evident online which operates in real-time, it allows social enterprises to address a need right away. People can voice-out their concerns and expect action to take place. This is an efficient way of saving time and actually getting things done.
- Information-sharing – Through social media, millions of information-sharing transactions happen every day. This can aid your social enterprise by presenting valuable information right at your fingertips. Do you want to reach out to a certain community but don’t know how? Someone out there probably has done the same thing and is willing to help you. Are you currently researching on a project? Not to worry, someone out there can help you get started. Through information-sharing, it not only enables you to widen your perspective and knowledge but also introduce new concepts and ideas and how you can execute them.
- Relationships - By getting responses and advices from people, you not only get information but more so, build relationships with people. This is beneficial in boosting your network and sustaining your projects since you’ve already gathered supporters. They have your back as you have theirs and this already makes up for social development, doesn’t it?
HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?
Utilizing social feedback to your advantage sounds reasonable …on paper. But just how effective is this really? Measuring the rate can be tricky as a one-size-fits-all method won’t do. A good solution here can be done through agile methodology. Although, most businesses adopt the Social Return on Investment (SROI) framework when evaluating how much of an impact and change they’re creating so far. Here are some questions that may help you:
What do I mean by success? – Determine if it is in social terms, financial terms, both etc.
What is this measurement for? – Is it for partner companies? Is it for self-improvement? Once you’ve identified this, you’ll know where to look.
Have I achieved my mission? – Evaluate your previous sales and projects. How have they helped you in reaching your goals?
What social and/or environmental aspects have improved? How much of that can I attribute to our business? – If you’ve been contributing to actual change then that’s already some success right there. All you have to do now is to think of how you can further that impact. If not, then maybe you should start developing new ways.
All in all, nothing beats communication in improving one’s business. Have a look at what feedback you’ve been receiving and dig in. You might find your North Star.
image: social enterprise/shutterstock