Social Media Series: What is Social CRM?
Simply put, Social CRM is a marketing strategy that combines social media marketing with customer relationship management tools (CRM). It provides a way to engage with potential customers and track interaction to ultimately provide ROI from social media marketing activities.
Taken a step further, employing a Social CRM marketing strategy will allow your organization to engage with prospective customers and use social media within a sales capacity to nurture leads – an activity which may be the deciding factor in a customer’s purchase decision.
The use of Social CRM
Social CRM is a new and emerging marketing strategy with many interpretations of what it is and how it should be used. The majority of the time Social CRM is being used in marketing, customer service and:
-Peer-to-peer customer support
-Idea management / thought leadership
-Brand reputation management
The majority of brand Twitter accounts use a “drive to web” strategy, pushing content out that ultimately drives traffic back to the organization’s website. This is the wrong strategy to use if you are looking to generate ROI from your social media marketing efforts.
If you are already using a CRM to track client information you are in the perfect spot to employ a Social CRM strategy. Most CRMs are customizable and will allow fields to be added to track account information such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn of clients and prospective customers. However, if you are in the process of getting a CRM for your organization for the first time, be sure to confirm you can customize it to your specifications.
If you’re not using a CRM, here are a few that come with social media integration:
Salesforce.com (our favorite at 6S!) – Salesforce for Social Media integrates Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn information of contacts and leads.
Sugar CRM – Also integrates Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter into the CRM so you can monitor what prospective clients are talking about.
Spout Social –Combines powerful social media reporting with CRM capabilities; however, is much more focused on being a “complete social media management” tool than a CRM tool.
Things to Consider when Creating a Social CRM Strategy
Now that you are ready to move forward with a CRM tool, here are a few key items to keep in mind when developing a Social CRM strategy
1. Technology is not the focus.
The focus should be placed on learning the concept of Social CRM and how it will apply to your organization. Technology is not the focus!
2. Social CRM means something different to me than it does to you.
Social CRM will mean something completely different to a B2B company than it does to a B2C company or from one Marketing Manager to another. Define what it is your organization wants you to achieve and then create the processes that will help your organization reach its goals.
3. At the end of the day, Social CRM is just another “Buzz” word.
You’re already using social media; it’s nothing new to you. And even if using a CRM is a new thing for you, it’s not the end-all or be-all of your Social CRM strategy. Understand how Social CRM works, the concept behind it, and how it will ultimately apply to your organization. At the end of the day, it’s all about how you execute on the concept and not about the tools or literal definition.
4. Define a process using tools that will help you reach your end goals.
How will you determine who to engage with and how to engage with them? How will you figure out who is saying what about your brand or related products and services? Although tools are not the focus of Social CRM, it will be easier to execute on if you have some tools in place to help you identify these points. Make sure your tools will identify customer engagement, allow you to analyze the conversations, identify ways to engage in the conversation, and then allow you to act. Remember, it’s all about the execution. If you don’t have the ability to execute on your strategy, what good will it be?
5. You will not get a quick sale.
Be cautious about developing your Social CRM strategy and hyping it up too much to your higher-ups. With social media it has been a challenge to obtain a return-on-investment for many brands – and of course – your higher-ups always want to know the ROI you will get from your marketing objectives. That being said, Social CRM is a strategy where you ultimately will be able to track ROI from any leads and sales that result from executing on the strategy. Just remember to get everyone in your organization on the same page – it’s not about the hard sell, it’s about the soft sell and that takes time.
Kelly Robertson is the Marketing Manager at 6S Marketing, a digital marketing agency with offices in Toronto and Vancouver. 6S specializes in providing their clients with online strategies that ultimately increase qualified, sales ready traffic through their websites. They have provided their expertise in search engine optimization, paid search marketing, Google Analytics and social media projects to hundreds of clients since 2000. Visit www.6Smarketing.com for more information.