If you own your own business and are looking for strategies to drive sales, chances are you would have come across the term social customer relationship management (Social CRM). Social CRM is a strategy focused on customer engagement and interaction, rather than directly driving sales. There are a range of specific tools and software that can be used. But remember, that it is an evolution of CRM that has been around for decades, so Social CRM still involves a back-end system for managing customer relationships through data collection for more efficiency and better targeting – and ultimately drives sales. The particular strategy and tools used for social CRM depends on the needs and goals the organization is trying to accomplish.
What is Social CRM?
Social CRM is defined by Paul Greenberg author of “CRM at the Speed of Light” as:
“…designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide a mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment. It’s the company response to the customer’s owning of the relationship.”
An authority on the subject Michael Fauschette explains that it is:
“Social CRM are the tools and processes that encourage better, more effective customer interaction and leverage the collective intelligence of the broader customer community with the intended result of increasing intimacy between an organization and its prospects and customers. The goal is to make the relationship with the customer more intimate and tied to the company by building a public ecosystem to better understand what they want and how they interact with the various company touchpoints like sales, customer service etc…”
So what does this all mean?, the the real difference is control and communication. In social CRM, the company does not fully control the brand, rather it is more like a joint partnership between them and the customer and two-way communication between customers and companies are emphasized over simple interactions to drive transactions.
Social CRM is driven by the customer. Companies can no longer push out one-sided messages to customers, but rather they must to communicate directly with customers and develop relationships to encourage them to become customer advocates. Customers now have say in the most appropriate processes, businesses, channels to use, interactions and referrals between customers to drive sales (as opposed to the business solely driving sales and so on. Despite being known as customer relationship management, the old CRM strategy, ignored the interactions from customers in driving internal processes and strategies.
How CRM evolved into Social CRM
CRm evolved into Social CRM due to the invention of the internet and the growth of social networks. Customers now have access to an abundance of information available to enable them to determine which products and services are best for their needs. Therefore companies had to jump on the social media management and social monitoring bandwagon to capitalize on this opportunity. Social CRM allows your brand to stand out from the neverending list of competitors in your product or service category. Cone Business who conducted a social media study and discovered that the reason consumers decided to choose conduct business with a specific company are:
– 60% of Americans intereacted with companies through social media on a regular basis- 43% of consumers want companies to interact with them on social networks to solve an issue they were experiencing.- Before buying recommended products or services, over 81% of consumers conduct online research and/or review the product or service.
It can be challenging for businesses to meet the constantly evolving needs of these social customers and trying to convert your followers and fans into customers and advocates, but remember that the results are incredibly rewarding. Particularly when you look at the abundance of social media statistics that reveal that social marketing along with other forms of online marketing is much more cost effective than traditional, mass media marketing. It also has the advantage of being much more targeted so there is less wastage of marketing dollars. Spend some time finding the best strategy for your business in terms of social monitoring and social media management through Social CRM systems and begin reaping the rewards.
My name is Lucas Wong. I’m an internet marketing consultant for Web Promotion Software, involved in all aspects of internet marketing from internet marketing tools and social media management tools such as Facebook tools to SEO and PPC. Internet marketing can be confusing so in my spare time I like to write internet marketing reviews to help businesses make the most out of their internet marketing efforts.