Social CRM | Likes, Pins and Profit
Social and mobile are now part of our everyday world. Combined with Big Data and Business Intelligence ( topics for other time) we live in interesting times. No longer are the social channels just a medium of communication between friends but it has become the place of the business to join the conversation as well. Companies have realized that social channels and their respective campaigns on them, if done right, can lead to sales and directly and positively affect revenue.
How do we measure Social CRM? How can we tell what value to put on a click or like or share- what medium do we invest in- Is linked or facebook or rwitter more right for our business?
First, lets take a step back and make sure we are on the same page about the term CRM
Customer Relationship Management
This is the name for any system or model used to manage a company’s interactions with its current or future clients or customers.
This system is a piece of technology used to organise, automate and synchronise all of the customer facing areas within your company: from marketing to sales to customer service to technical support.
It gives you the time to develop other areas of your business, while giving you the reassurance that you’re not letting your existing clients down or responding to new enquiries in an efficient manner.
It also allows you the time and freedom to concentrate on other areas of your business, safe in the knowledge that an automated system is keeping you and your team up-to-date and fully aware of your clients’ needs.
Of course traditional channels such as telephone or email are no longer the only channels where conversations between company and customer take place. More and more people are contacting brands with everything from general queries, compliments and of course complaints via social networks.
The digital world is becoming more complex and we’re seeing much broader fragmentation in the way that customers are using channels.
It makes things very complicated for customer service teams. Consumers hop across various channels in order to complete even the simplest of tasks, whether it’s buying products from a brand or checking the opening hours of a retail shop.
However the likelihood is that all these different channels are run by different people in an organization with different agendas and different priorities. It’s entirely possible for a customer to skip across channels and have a vastly different experience within each one.
Therefore consistency is a must.
Early days of social
As social media channels became mainstream they were embraced by users to support conversations with brands and other consumers. Consumers were no longer passive recipients of information. They had unrestricted access to information and content from their peers.
Brands had no direct control over these conversations and could, at best, intervene in them at an opportune moment e.g. make a post in a forum discussion thread.
The default communication dimension was Customer to Customer and the primary goal of the social CRM model was engagement leading to an enhanced consumer experience, with a transaction being a secondary consequence, not the primary goal. The empowered consumer was now in complete control.
We, the consumer, are now in control of their brand. We tell them what we want instead of them just telling us what they offer.
Social CRM now
Brands should be integrating social into their CRM strategy in response to their customers’ adoption of social media.
Social interactions may not directly result in immediate conversion but will promote engagement that may indirectly generate leads, create influential relationships and build confidence in the brand, eventually driving future sales.
Every touchpoint should be made record of within a CRM system, so all the information regarding any last point of contact, regardless of channel, is made available to anybody within the company.
Differences between CRM and social CRM
Understanding the differences between social CRM and more traditional CRM models can help marketers approach social CRM campaign design.
Please note, often you will see the acronym eCRM, the e stands for electronic and was used to denote the difference between offline customer interaction (phone/mail) and the new-fangled digital kind. Now digital is so well established, the distinction feels a little redundant.
Social CRM: best practice
Social CRM is about customer engagement, not management, after all marketers and brands are no longer in control of the conversation.
Social CRM therefore sees a shift in focus from sales, to relationship building conversations, based on a belief that improving customer experiences with engagement will ultimately drive sales. The secret to success is to present the option to buy as a secondary rather than the primary focus.
Use the regular contact opportunities afforded by social media as a means of staying somewhere near the front of consumers who are not ready to buy yet.
In the meantime keep them engaged with useful, valuable content and information. Remember that ‘valuable’ can mean many different things though. Entertaining, educational or informative content is valuable. A quick response to a relevant query is valuable. Connecting consumers with other people or brands that may be relevant can also be valuable. And anything that can either make a consumer feel special or save them time, money or hassle will certainly foster a deeper sense of brand loyalty.
Social CRM is about being patient and methodical. Customers take smaller steps down the sales funnel, but the long-term gains can be much more rewarding for it.
This is obviously a very different sales model to the traditional sales-orientated processes. The rules of engagement have been changed by social media thanks to its ubiquity in people’s lives and the expectations that have changed along with it. Integrating social with your existing CRM strategy will mean your company matching those expectations and hopefully exceeding them.
For more information on Social CRM and what that means to your business, contact us today.