Are you integrating your social media interactions with your CRM?

Unless you went on a space trip for the past 10 years and lost connection with the earth, you would already know the impact social media is currently over human civilization. From the United States to Sub Saharan Africa to Middle East to South Asia and Europe, the age of Facebook has not left any society untouched. It has helped create revolutions, toppled established politicians, spread ideas like wild fire, revolutionized business and re-calibered our daily communications. If you are still thinking social media is for the kool aid drinking kids, you are missing out a lot in marketing your product. In this post, I will cover the fundamentals of social CRM.

What is Social CRM?

Social CRM is about monitoring your customer engagements in the social media and integrating that with the more traditional communication channels such as email and telephone calls. In my business, I get a lot of contacts and orders through Twitter and LinkedIn, and it becomes necessary for me to track them in way I could followup in the future. This is where social CRM comes to help. I use it to stay in touch with the customers, track issues, connect my marketing campaigns and understand the competitive landscape. Whether you are in B2B or in B2C, you can also benefit a lot by merging your traditional communication channels with social media channels.

How can you utilize social CRM to your advantage?

  1. Customer support – Have you ever faced an issue when 1000 customers called up your help desk and asked the same query? It can happen, since a phone caller doesn’t know who else called you with the same problem and what the solution offered to the previous caller was. However, in social media most of the communication is public. If managed well, social media can be an inexpensive way to do customer support. By publicly helping your customers, you show that you care and the solutions offered in many cases can be seen by other customers thereby reducing the need for a number of support calls. There is also a possibility of a peer-to-peer support where your loyal & pro customers might offer their help for free to the other customers seeking support.
  2. Tracking sentiments – In the days before social media, it was very hard to track user sentiments in time. You have to hire the services of expensive market research agencies and by the time the data comes, the users might have moved on to something else. In case of social CRM, you can instantly track sentiments and market directions, and use that as a feedback loop calibrate your product development and marketing messages.
  3. Understanding purchasing trends and patterns – If you are in the B2C sector with plenty of customers, it is hard to track the customer behavior using conventional CRM. However, social tracking tools allow you to create customer groups and track data for each demographic. For instance, you can see how the New England males are receiving your product compared to the Californian females.
  4. Product Launch Management – At my startup we have been helping startups with their product launches and we understand how important it is to tap the social CRM tools to connect with the leads and opportunities before the launch. The instant communication and viral effect of social CRM can greatly be tied with the traditional CRM to create successful launches.
  5. Brand reputation management – Brand management is fundamental to CRM. You need to show your customers that you are responsive and are able to connect with the users. B2C brands such as Starbucks, Coca Cola and Nike have successfully used Facebook fan pages and Pinterest boards to show their creativity and empathy.

In summary

It is time you seriously consider using social CRM tools to help your business connect with your customers in real time and inexpensively perform customer support.

Balaji Viswanathan

Balaji Viswanathan is the founder of Agni Innovation Labs that helps startups and small businesses with their marketing and management strategy. He has been blogging for the past 8 years on technology, finance and business related topics.

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