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The social dimension of customer relationships – Part II

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By Mark Atterby

People Networking Concept.Social CRM is an emerging area that crosses over with other digital strategies and marketing technology. Traditional CRM systems from companies such as Microsoft and Sugar CRM have integrated social media into their products, where social media conversations can be tracked along with phone calls and emails. But hundreds of social media tools have emerged in recent years. Some performing very specific functions, while others form part of comprehensive digital platforms.

Social CRM is about aggregating a variety of information from different social

Social CRM depends on the development of good content which generates discussions and interactions with potential customers.

networks to give the most complete view possible of each customer. This aggregated information can then be integrated with data from other channels and interactions including email, website visits, live chat, events and phone calls.

Regardless of which tool and systems, or combination, you use to implement your Social CRM strategies, there are four areas that need to be addressed:

  1. Content distribution and engagement
  2. Monitoring and listening
  3. Aggregation and Integration
  4. Analytics and Reporting

Content Distribution and Engagement

Social CRM depends on the development of good content which generates discussions and interactions with potential customers. But managing the distribution of this content across different channels and platforms can be tedious and time consuming. Tools such as Onlywire.com and Buffer App allow the posting of content to be scheduled and automated.

Then there are engagement tools that allow social media agents to respond to blog posts and comments as well participating in ongoing discussions.  They provide real-time and highly customised dashboards across multiple accounts and campaigns, where agents have the ability to respond in multiple places with one click.

This includes tools such as Hootesuite (which also allows for content distribution and sharing as well monitoring and listening).

Monitoring and listening

A popular service offered by BPO and outsourcing providers is social media monitoring and listening. Based on predefined keywords and phrases, listening and monitoring tools track mentions and discussions concerning the brand, products, competitors and industry issues. They provide a variety of reports that can be used to identify opportunities to address customer service issues or participate in a conversation with a customer.

These include dedicated tools such as Buzz Logic, Brandwatch, Sysomos and so on.

Aggregation and Integration

Social CRM allows users to, by entering an email into the contact record of a customer, to connect to every social media profile that was setup using that email. The relevant interactions and conversations can then be aggregated and stored in relation to that customer record.

But the crucial link between social media and CRM is where a social media interaction such as a tweet or a facebook comment can initiate CRM workflows depending on the interaction. The social media interaction has turned into a sales opportunity.

Recently developed CRM solutions such as Insightly.com and Bantam Live have been designed with social media firmly in mind. For the enterprise Microsoft, Salesforce and Sugar CRM have made integration with social media a top priority.

Analytics and Reporting

To understand the effectiveness of your CRM and social media strategies and identify areas for improvement requires analytics and reporting.  Some of the areas you should look and establish benchmark metrics for, include:

  • Social media consumption:The amount of social media signals – views, likes, downloads, comments, responses, etc.
  • Content Sharing:How resonant is this content, and how often is it shared with others? Retweets, shares, pins, etc
  • Brand awareness and reputation: What are people saying about the brand and how often?
  • Lead-gen metrics:How many likes, downloads etc contribute to a lead?
  • Sales metrics:And how many of those leads become sales?

This list is not exhaustive as what needs to be measured and analysed will vary from business to business.

This is part of a three part series. In part III that will appear in next week’s version of The Sauce we look Social CRM workflows and processes.
March 24, 2015
Comments
  1. Iris Vermeren said on March 24, 2015 1:47 pm:

    Great article Mark and thanks for including Brandwatch in your social listening list. Choosing a tool can be a difficult decision, but the points you make here about the four areas that need to be addressed are very valid. When it comes down to it, the ‘best’ tool depends on the user’s needs, preferences and budget, but research such as that by Forrester, G2Crowd and other companies can help to whittle the list of tools to a more manageable decision.

    Thanks, Iris
    (Community Manager, Brandwatch)

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