Where Social Media and Customer Relationship Collide

Social CRM

In any business venture, implementing a solid customer relationship management (CRM) strategy is paramount to success. However, to get it right requires effort.

Any burgeoning business cannot overlook social media as a means of conversing with its clientele. Gone are the days when specific departments dealt with customers through company-defined channels during set business hours. Now, social media allows the customer to tell you how and when they want to talk – it is up to you to be there to listen.

In order to get ahead, you need to understand how it has evolved.

There is no need to pale at the face of a mountainous social media campaign. There are plenty of resources available to help you update your CRM process. To make your life just a little bit easier here’s a summary of how to build social media into your CRM efforts.

1. Choosing the right community

The social customer expects brands to have a presence on the sites that they use. Be it Twitter or Facebook (but don’t forget there are others), research where your customers are hanging out. Remember, you don’t need to sign up for all of the social media accounts, only the ones that you find your customers are participating in after careful research. Remember, setting up accounts on these sites is easy – it’s making the most out of them that’s the hard part (see point three). Thus, you do not want to be on a ton of different sites that are difficult to maintain and see ROI results from. Remember; once you are in the social space, there is no getting out without risking a tarnished brand and user experience.

2. Building a strategy

Planning is everything. When you use social media to manage your customer relationships, it is important to maintain a consistent and cohesive appropriate ‘voice’ (using a dedicated, well trained social media team is a good idea). Once you have this in place you can really go wild. Social media isn’t just about getting feedback – by providing your customers with incentives, entertainment and relevant content you are cementing your business in their online experience.

3. Leverage the strategy

Social media allows you to unite marketing and CRM. Your customers are offering up information that years ago would have taken an age to collect (such as their preferences, tastes, and demographics), so use it. There are plenty of CRM systems available that allow you to aggregate this data and analyze it. Once you have this information you will be able to create highly targeted and integrated CRM strategies that will lead to all important conversions.

4. Avoiding pitfalls

Remember, while social media communication is oftentimes the business speaking to the customer, it can also be customer-to-customer and customer-to-prospect. One bad customer experience can spread like wildfire. Make sure you are equipped to deal with a significant increase in customer interaction. The social customer expects businesses to listen, engage and respond quickly, so you need to be ready to do so. If things do start to go wrong then make sure you can practice a little damage control to protect your reputation.

5. Measuring results

Not all of your social media efforts are going to be successful, so once you’re up running you need to track what it is you’re doing that is actually working. Monitoring metrics like traffic, conversations and followers is a great starting point, and will make it a lot easier for you to see which tactics are working and which are just putting a drain on your resources and offering little ROI.

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