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3 Must-Read Tips for Using Social CRM to Get Rich Insight about Customers & Prospects

Written by Joshua Paul | on October 4, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Social CRM and Customer Communities

Why hasn't your business embraced social CRM?

The reason probably stems from the confusion about what social CRM is and how companies can integrate online communities into their customer relationship strategies. The hype around social CRM leaves many questions like this:

  • Do my customers want to be engaged by my company on Twitter?
  • How does social CRM fit into my existing customer relationship management efforts?
  • What are the components of a social CRM strategy? Legacy CRM? Online communities? Public social networks?

Luckily, we have the answers.

The truth is that social CRM not a magical new approach to CRM. It is part of the 25 year evolution of customer relationship management and simply adds emotional, sentimental, and behavioral data to existing customer profiles.

In a recent appearance on the Socious web show, ProCommunity, CRM veteran Barton Goldenberg of customer-centric strategy firm, ISM, provided an extensive overview of how organizations are getting impressive results by integrating social communities and into their CRM strategies.

Getting a Bigger ROI from Social CRM & Customer Communities

During the conversation Barton outlined clear tips for understanding, implementing, and profiting from adding online community data into your CRM operation. Here are three of the most business-critical points from the discussion.

Tip#1) Set Business Metrics As Soon As Possible

Launching even a small customer community effort without a clear understanding of what your organization is looking to get out of the strategy is a recipe for confusion and damage to your brand. It also sets a precedent inside your customer relationship team that is difficult to overcome as the initiative expands.

It is important to start out with metrics and business goals attached to your social CRM strategy. From there, you have a multitude of approaches and stepping stones that your company can take to engage your specific customers under your unique resource constraints on your business's timeline.

Tip #2) Think Beyond Social-To-Social Interactions

If your business relies on the strength of customer relationships to grow revenue and retain customers, then social CRM may have important implications for the future of your organization. However, social CRM is not a magical new strategy where customers, partners, and employees only engage on social networks. It is an extension of traditional customer relationship management practices.

By pairing traditional demographic and transactional information with social activity data, you have a more complete picture of your customers' interests, challenges, and view of your products (and organization). Since that rich insight will reside in your central CRM system, it can then be used in all of your customer engagement channels, including email, phone, direct mail, and your website.

Tip #3) Private Customer Communities & Public Social Networks Must Work Together

Many businesses treat public and private social networks as an "either/or" proposition with statements like, "Why can't I just create a customer community in Facebook?" There are numerous reasons why companies and membership organizations avoid building customer communities on Facebook or LinkedIn. While both are important, each plays a distinct role in managing customer relationships.

Public social media, like public blogs, tweets, and Facebook status updates, are designed to reach a wide audience of half-engaged people who follow you for the content and information that they would find valuable. The calls-to-action on public social networks should then drive customers and prospects back to your private community where your organization can better engage, track, and convert those audience members.

Social CRM Takeaway

Social CRM is not another new-age business approach that you have to learn. It simply gives your better insight into your prospects and customers. Adding social data to your customer profiles enables call center reps to better support and upsell customers, sales people to close deals faster, and marketers to tailor messages to address customers' root buying motivations.

Image credit: Sean MacEntee

Get the metrics you need to track ROI in your online customer community.

Topics: Customer Success

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