I do not think “Social Enterprise” is yet an accepted definition, so you may well use a different denomination. However, I see a lot of coverage and adoption for the term “Social Business” and, by extension, a Social Enterprise is a company that embrace the Social Business way.
However, focusing on the “doing business through social channels” is – as usual – a bit self-serving and frankly ignores once again the real needs of consumers.
There is a growing expectation that any company that wants to peddle their widgets to me on Facebook must also be ready to support me on Facebook; the social web is made by people for people – companies and brands are accepted, as long as they do not attempt to change its nature.
Doing Social Business is therefore a little be like being half pregnant: either you are (a Social Enterprise) or you’re not. No middle ground.
The difficult part of the Social Enterprise is not the narrow-minded demonstration of ROI in selling online (how thick-headed must you be to still have doubts?) or the significant improvement in effectiveness by targeting consumers more precisely; no, the difficult part lies in realizing that once you start going down that path, there is no stopping until you reach the end of the slope. Customer Service, Governance, Employee Relations, R&D, CSR, Investor Relations – everything becomes social and every one of your thousands of employees becomes an ambassador.
Scary? Perhaps. Fascinating? You bet! Need help?