Brian Vellmure, principal and cofounder of management consulting firm Initium, outlines his process for creating a customer-centric social CRM and the opportunities it presents. Social CRM is a five-step process, as follows:


Understand who your customers are, what they value, who they interact with. Segmentation plays a key role here.

Follow your customers on social media to discover how to use segmentation for your brand.


Find out how they interact and set a plan to engage with them in the context of their preferred communication channel(s).

Decide which social media forum you should use to best interact with your audience.


Focus on communicating with them in a way that is relevant and helpful in assisting them to achieve their goals.

Try not to inundate your audience with information they don’t care about. Interact with them in ways that benefits your customers, and therefore, your brand.


Present and/or create or co-create new products or services that help them accomplish (or do better) the jobs they are trying to do.

Consider how you can help your customers. This will create more interest in your brand.


And finally, deepen the value of your relationship over time by repeating the cycle over and over again.

This basic process should be at the core of any customer-focused strategy. Social media doesn’t change these ideas.


Here are five ways that your organization can leverage social technologies during this process:

  • Use social analytics and social network analysis to better understand your customers and prospects. Aggregate demographic, psychographic, and socialgraphic data.

  • Use listening and monitoring tools to extend reach beyond where and how you’ve been able to listen and engage before. Add social as an additional interaction channel.

  • Capitalize on new social media platforms by being the first to try out new sites. This allows you to communicate in new and/or more relevant ways with your customers. Align your business with emerging social media sites before your competitors do.

  • Utilize internal communications systems within your organization to streamline information, product developments, and service developments to all employees. This could be through a company newsletter, closed social media site, or other messaging platform your company chooses to use.

  • Increase engagement with existing customers on new channels in a way for the world to watch and observe. Be everywhere your customers are and enable them to share what they love (or don’t love) about you to their networks.