I previously posted a blog on how to effectively advertise on Facebook using the teachings of Megan Adams. This blog goes over another course of hers that illustrates how to use Social Customer Relation Management (CRM) to build your brand. Social CRM pulls data from all social media and conversation platforms to help you engage with your customers. Her course titled “Social Media Marketing: Social CRM” gives us a look at how to find, implement, and improve your own social CRM system.
Social Customer Relation Management (CRM)
It is a social way of marketing that adds another dimension to how you communicate with your customers. You can use the data it generates to create a strategy that applies to your marketing, customer service, and organizational sales process. It allows you to provide social customer service by listening to sentiments received from customers about your product or service (Adams, 2018).
Social CRM provides a full picture of interaction and engagement that allows you to act faster in providing your customer with the best experience. The right strategy will help you to use the social information you collect to establish and sustain meaningful relationships with prospects and clients (Adams, 2018).
Social CRM is a new way of marketing to your customers. It combines all the information from social media and uses analytics to track which information is most useful to you. Today, tracking, measuring, and analyzing is becoming increasingly difficult due to the vast amount of data that is available to be used. Some benefits of using social CRM include having more meaningful engagements with customers, the creation of brand advocates, the collection of important data, and construction of a brand image (Adams, 2018).
These are extremely useful facets of the program because it builds a place where customers can interact with your organization. A major addition to your marketing strategy will be the social listening you do when looking at the what people are talking about online about your brand. Social CRM also lets you see where customers and prospects are online and what they are discussing. You also can provide real-time multichannel support. The most important aspect is that you can understand a customer’s needs and wants and create a unique experience for them by listening to them, acting on the information you collect, and having a strong social CRM strategy in place (Adams, 2018).
Having a social CRM platform gives your organization the tools needed to grow your brand in one central location. One reason to use a social CRM platform is that you can automate and boost your sales. Another reason is that it makes marketing and engaging with your customer much easier. It also allows you to deliver excellent customer service with quick and precise responses (Adams, 2018).
When looking for a good social CRM platform to use, there are things to keep in mind. You should consider the size of your business, ease of use of the platform (this helps in training employees), features such as sales and marketing, and total costs including additional fees (Adams, 2018). You should also check for security features and the options it gives for providing good customer support. It should also support multiple social media platforms, give you options to monitor your brand, provide analytics, and integration with other CRM platforms or services. Adams suggests trying free trials or demos of various platforms and choose the one that will be most helpful in meeting your organization’s goals (Adams, 2018).
You also should consider allocating the proper resources as your success will depend on it. Ensure that you have leadership support that will buy-in to the implementation of social CRM and integrate it with the organizational strategy (Adams, 2018). You should also consider any changes in the culture, process, and technology of the future. Your budget should focus on investing in growth and using analytics to benefit in sales, marketing, and customer support.
Build a social CRM team by determining roles and headcount and invest in your team. Make sure they receive enough training by getting in contact with your social CRM provider. Direct your resources to new initiatives and keep the team evolving by monitoring its progress. You may require additional support once you evaluate the performance of the platform and strategy.
Develop Your Strategy
According to Adams, building an effective strategy builds an organization’s brand while creating fans and brand ambassadors (2018). A brand is an overall impression of a product or company that distinguishes it form its competitors (Adams, 2018). This could include things such as identity, logos, communication, personality or persona. It is important to humanize your brand so that your customers can connect with an identity with a face. You should join in on conversations that customers are having online to connect with them.
You should also focus on personalization by allowing customers to choose their own experience with your brand. This can be done by using multiple platforms. You should also see how your brand is resonating with the intended audience by tracking brand consistency and sentiment across all platforms. Again, make sure to integrate all social platforms with sales, marketing, and customer support strategies.
A good strategy also has rules laid out regarding engagement with customers. This includes implementing rules on the tone, personality, set response to specific situations, personalized responses, and guidelines for communicating company-wide announcements (Adams, 2018). It is important to include in the bio of every platform how your company can be contacted, whether its by phone, text, or email. Accounts dedicated to customer support should also be considered to centralize activity.
Try your best to reply in a timely manner. This shows commitment to the customer and builds your brand in a positive image. Be proactive in your interactions by communicating issues that will affect customers and provide consistent updates until the issue is resolved. Maintain that you are actively looking to solve any issues that arise.
It is also recommended to use a monitoring tool that lets you quantify brand sentiment and help mitigate a negative reputation. Going back to the humanization aspect, let your customer know that they are talking to a real person and know when to take the conversation offline, keeping in mind the customer’s privacy. Get feedback often!
When running a campaign, you should have focused targeting. Using social CRM, your campaign should be highly individualized and include targeted messages with strong appeal to the customer. You can also segment based on behaviours such as recent purchases, opened emails, redeemed coupons, and social activity. When personalizing content, tailor it to directly speak with the customer as it will be more likely to get a response and improve brand perception.
You should always monitor and see what worked and what did not. In the words of Adams, “Iterate what doesn’t work and repeat what does” (Adams, 2018). Social CRM platforms allow you to upload data to channels like Facebook and Twitter so you can run targeted ads based on the analytics you have collected.
Manage Social CRM
People who are active on social media and can create exposure for your brand are known as influencers (Adams, 2018). Using influencers is a practice of building relationships with people who can create stronger relationships with customers. When looking for an influencer for your brand, look at your audience, the relevance of that influencer to your brand, the reach of that influencer, and the engagement that the influencer has with their followers. You can find influencers through social media monitoring, using hashtags relevant to your brand, google alerts for keywords, services, and products, and blogger outreach.
Work with influencers in collaboration to encourage content creation and post images or videos of them using your product or service. Take advantage of having product giveaways and discounts. You should take care of your influencers and foster strong relationships as they can provide many positives for your brand.
When engaging with prospects, you must understand who they are, where they stand in the sales cycle, and what previous interactions they have had with your brand or product (Adams, 2018). To connect with prospects, use social media to allow them to investigate your brand without a sales pitch. This will let you provide exceptional value, build credibility and trust. You should also keep working with the marketing department to communicate the problems that your organization can solve, find out the customer’s complaints, and use your content to solve their problem.
You should keep your content engaging by monitoring trends online and listening to customer feedback as this can improve the customer’s life. Watch your tone and message when and lead with value when pitching to the customer. Using a social CRM tool will allow you to figure out when to engage, how to engage, and who is best suited from your organization to engage. This will strengthen your relationship with the customer and increase conversion.
Social CRM can also help you by giving you the ability to provide better support to the customer. It gives you the opportunity to support the customer in their preferred environment. The best practices when it comes to customer service is to monitor what is being said and by whom, identifying problems that customers are facing, contacting, and acting in real-time. You should also acknowledge loyal customers. Sometimes, you may receive negative feedback, but you can use this as an opportunity to show your customer service skills and differentiate yourself from other brands (Adams, 2018). Every issue is a PR opportunity!
Having a process of documentation is extremely useful. You should document the support process, activity of process discovery, and procedure templates. It leads to forming business process success criteria which you can use as measures to gauge performance. These criteria should include ownership, goals, metrics, interfaces, documentation, integrity, and alignment with business vision (Adams, 2018).
Start by creating a new standard for optimizing customer relationships, building connections with the customer via new technologies, and leveraging new channels to create more personal communication to achieve targeting and human approach. Your organizational process should include how you will handle social insight, what will be the impact on sales, marketing, and customer service, and how and when you will monitor social CRM strategy. You will be filtering data and finding the best way to integrate it into the organization strategy. Make sure to choose tools that support where work is being done and use them often!
Using analytics is a vital part of keeping your brand alive. They allow you to understand how your organization is performing and how it can be improved. Start small and stick to basics because every organization will differ in analytical frameworks and goals. You must find your own unique measurements. Focus on customer feedback and gauge what they are saying to and about your organization. Keep an eye on customer behaviours and psychographics as this will let you see where customers are spending their time and their social presence, spending habits, and buying behaviour.
You should understand your organization’s goals for social CRM and what tools you will require to effectively use it to build your brand and resolve customer issues. Do your research as there are many platforms to choose from and make sure it aligns with your overall organizational strategy.
Personally, once I start my own shoe company, I will use a social CRM platform to engage with my customers and monitor what is being said about my brand. I can use hashtags to find influencers, perhaps major league athletes or Hollywood stars, and use them to help me build my shoe brand. I can use the data collected from my Facebook posts, tweets, and Instagram posts to see who is engaging and with what. Like Adam’s course on advertising on Facebook, a major portion of social CRM focuses on analytics.
By using the collected data, I will able to better target my ads and improve my overall sales, marketing, and customer service strategies.
Adams, M. (2018, April 11). Social Media Marketing: Social CRM. Retrieved from LinkedIn Learning: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/social-media-marketing-social-crm/welcome?u=2109516