Understanding Social CRM / For Marketing Professionals

Social CRM is on every smart marketer’s mind; however whether to dive or not into this new marketing hype seems to be an unanswered question for many. I used to think – it was 2005-2009 when companies were skeptical about getting social; surprisingly I do get emails even today from marketing executives on what’s social CRM and if I could explain them how can it help their organizations. Its 2013!!!

For decades, customer relationship management (CRM) has been described as a business strategy that seeks to identify, attain and retain customers by developing relationships through consistent and relevant communications. The ‘R’ in CRM does not stand for Records. Marketers and Consultants who are connected to CRM space in their own capabilities would understand what am I aiming at.

What is Social CRM?

What is Social CRM
What is Social CRM

Image Credit: http://www.eloqua.com 

Social customer relationship management (CRM) is a phrase used to describe the addition of a social element in traditional CRM processes. Social CRM builds upon CRM by leveraging a social element that enables a business to connect customer conversations and relationships from social networking sites.

These communications with customers have shifted (are shifting) from emails, phones to tweets & comments; where-in the time to respond has reduced drastically from ‘we will get back in 24-48 hours’ to almost instantly. Not to forget, these conversations also are open to un-related prospects/customers and yet affect their opinions on your company.

Do Marketers need Social CRM (Strategy)?

Before I started writing this, I generated a quick view on my Social CRM dashboard – here is some data

  • The word ‘Adidas’ appeared approx 30,000 times on twitter in last week.
  • ‘Toyota’ and ‘Honda’ each had 18000+ and 64000+ mentions on twitter respectively, in last 7 days.
  • 78% of tweets mentioned about ‘Infosys’ had a positive sentiment. A few negative and rest neutral.

As a marketer, what does it mean to you? Do you feel the need to listen & understand to what these tweets are? These can be appreciations, complaints, anger or may-be a wish to buy your products/services or may-be a positive or a negative review of yours.

Soon after I display such data in front of any marketer, an immediate following question has been the same – ‘Can you show how many tweets/facebook comments/blogs/etc has been mentioning our brand?” Well, that’s obvious! More important is – you must now convert this into meaningful information and take relevant action.

Aim at converting a compliant into a delight, a bad exp into a good one, finding prospects, sell / up sell/cross sell, maintain relations and reputation, turn customers into advocates and do more… after all that’s what CRM is for!

What Next?

Before you get carried away by social media hype, you need to execute an experiment and evaluate whether it works for you. Example, if you are selling screws and nuts to an airplane manufacturer, you need not bother; however if you are not sure whether it might work for you or not – pilot it.

  • Talk to your organization’s technology partner or hire an independent consultant to understand more about Social CRM
  • Evaluate Social CRM tools available in market – that suits your requirement. Checkout this guide that can help you evaluate social media tools available in the market.
  • Build a team and a strategy.
  • Set objectives, short & long term.
  • Measure ROI

Satyam is a Consultant with Infosys Ltd. and editor / founder of marketinomics.com. When he is not talking about Digital Marketing or dreaming of CRM strategies, he can be found on a treadmill. He enjoys travelling, reading and listening to music! Catch up with him on twitter at @xatyam