Is Social CRM Good for You?

By: Michael @wCRMblog Taylor

The shift from traditional CRM systems to social CRM is a substantial.

Many companies are embracing this more personal approach to interacting with customers, while still maintaining their standard CRM systems. This is a relatively new strategy so here is some expansion and clarification on what social CRM is and how it may benefit you.

1. What is Social CRM?

Social CRM is essentially the extraction of data from social media. It uses CRM analytics to evaluate social media ROI and market trends. It complements traditional CRM as it engages potential customers, but is able to tailor and target interested towards these consumers. This builds up a meaningful relationship that extends beyond the standard and formal customer-business relationship.

Gartner Analysts expand the definition: “Social CRM is a business strategy that entails the extension of marketing, sales and customer service processes to include the active participation of customers or visitors to an Internet channel (Web or mobile) with the goal of fostering participation in the business process.”

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2. What are the benefits of Social CRM?

The benefits provided from social CRM are potentially endless. Social CRM allows businesses to gain control over their brand by associating themselves with other companies that have adopted social CRM as well. Furthermore, organizations can use social CRM to bring in new clients, improve their customer service and establish leads to your sales team.

Social CRM, if used correctly, can essentially ground a company’s presence in the marketplace by utilizing “targeted social media marketing and focused campaigns”, as suggested by Cathy Boudreau. Social CRM allows businesses to respond quickly to customer demands and concerns through social media as. Doing this, strengthens the perception that the business is stable and responsive, that genuinely cares about customer issues, thereby improving customer service as well.

Moreover, by quickly responding to any customer concerns that may be negative in nature, you can dispel any negativity and also encourage customers to report their positive experience and increase good reputation and establish a loyal customer base. In combination with this, using social media allows businesses to generate demographics and utilize information that was not easily accessible before, paving the way to more personalized customer experiences.

3. How can it be applied?

Social CRM can be applied by going directly for the source – social media. Creating product pages on social networks such as Facebook, and creating Twitter accounts goes a long way in establishing a solid social CRM system. This pathway gives access to customers to interact with organizations and thus solidify their customer base. Furthermore, following other social media channels with products similar to yours means that there will be a larger customer base to appeal and target towards. These potential customers can be brought in by actively engaging in conversation with consumers and bring in more profit. In this case, “brand monitoring” can be used as well, which is a social CRM solution where businesses can track conversations about their specific brand. As said before, this can be used to encourage and promote positivity, or dismiss negative claims if handled correctly and quickly.

An example of an effective social CRM tool is the product Nimble. This product essentially gives all team members within an organization access to a “comprehensive database that has relevant information on customers or potential customers”, as observed by Ulara Nakagawa. Businesses can then use this to their advantage by acting on the information and manipulating it to promote their company.

4. Who will it benefit?

Social CRM benefits both companies and customers. For companies, it aids teams across the globe in remaining connected, manage campaigns through several social networks, and simply gain a better understanding of customers’ wants and online behavior. Moreover, customers now have a medium to express their concerns, problems, and what they like. While this was difficult to do before, the introduction of social CRM has paved a way for customers to voice their opinions. Through this symbiotic relationship, the business-customer experience is enhanced, showing improvement on both sides.

Gartner Analysts look to the future: “organizations will start to see that the concept of customer engagement – the act of treating customers with intent, integrity, consistency and gaining their trust – is a winning ticket.”

Ultimately, social CRM complements the already existing traditional CRM. It allows businesses to interact with customers more personally, engage in conversation, and overall create a better experience for both companies and customers. It encourages engagement between the two, thus being able to mine data from social networks and establish a loyal customer base as well.

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Michael Taylor
Michael is the Lead Author & Editor of CRMSimplified Blog. Michael established the CRM blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to CRM.
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