What is Social CRM?

It seems that social CRM, like all the other social revolutions in digital technology these days, is quite polarizing. Some people laud this methodology due to the cooperation, reduction of formality and familiar model make it seem quite workable and easy to adopt.

Then, there are the detractors to social CRM. These people are the ones who are less than enthused by the social revolution as a whole, and are not what one would call open to the idea of proliferating this further.

Which One am I:

Well, I think that one of each basic type of social network, all with clear goals and mechanics behind them, are useful. People can communicate over them with anyone approachably and visible, and the omnipresence of it means that no guerilla tactics are needed for marketing or handling CRM.

But, I don’t like the fixation on social networking as the epitome of technological accomplishment and application, and have little use for more than one or two of the simpler, utilitarian ones.

So, I’m ambivalent about this, leaning to not really liking it in its current form.

How it Works:

Well, it can work in a few ways, the primary one being CRM systems designed around the social networking model either in their core functionality or through customization and added extensions.

Salesforce can be made into a social model, as can Netsuite and Zoho. Other systems, which are a dime a dozen, are built on this concept entirely, but most of them aren’t mature enough to really be adoptable for other reasons right now, sadly.

The Problems:

Well, with social networks comes a little loss of the structure CRM really needs to keep around at all costs, and that’s a problem. Social systems are convoluted and have security issues, along with being kind of weird in hierarchy.

They require a weird corporate culture to fit without some serious tinkering, and it’s seldom worth it.

The Alternative:

The alternative is to use social campaigns in tandem with standard extended CRM and solid BI software to get full interactivity with real social networks, rather than using a CRM system designed to mimic a social network in its aesthetics.

But, that’s a little tricky to do initially, because there aren’t really any best practices agreed upon for this by most authorities in the field, so you do this with no real examples to set precedent for you.

Is It Worth It:

Maybe the alternative is, if you really want to engage the social platforms. But honestly, while social networking is now a part of life forever, the bubble will burst for the fervor and proliferation of the billions of them we see right now.

While some things are going to be great carried over it, we’ll eventually look back and conclude that not everything needs to be social oriented.

But, is social CRM really workable and viable right now? Eh, it remains to be seen really, but I’m not that optimistic about this concept aside from the marketing implementation over social networks, which does tie into CRM summarily. Beyond that, though … this one’s just hype and I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere terribly interesting.

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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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