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Use Social Media to Promote Social CRM

Social media has impacted many facets of our lives and Social CRM. When you consider that social media is a relatively recent phenomenon, you can see just how big an impact it has made. Everyone seems to be online and using social media.

According to the Nielsen Social Media Report from the third quarter of 2011, the average social media user is

  • Gender: Female

  • Age: 18–34

  • Ethnicity: Asian or Pacific Islander

  • Location: New England

  • Education: Bachelor’s degree or higher

  • Household income: Less than $50,000 per year

That’s how Nielsen describes the average user, but what about your customer? Do you know who he or she is? Your customers might not look anything like the average user. Knowing who you’re speaking to is the key to a successful online business. Speaking to your audience through social media is the way to have the most impact.

Social media can be viewed as a two-sided coin used to establish relationships. It is both an experience and technique. From your customer’s point of view, it’s an experience. From your point of view as a businessperson, it’s a technique. If you don’t understand both sides, you won’t develop the kind of full relationship you hope to achieve with your customers.

The following are ways to think about each side of the coin:

  • An experience: Your customers interact online with their family, friends, and followers. They can exchange opinions, recommend products, or just share daily updates. They experience social media as a vehicle to interact with others around the world.

  • A technique: For your business, the tools are available to develop a relationship with your customers. Not only do you interact, but you sell, provide information, and drive traffic to your channels.

If you think of managing social platforms as only a technique and not also an experience, you miss out on the richness of the relationships that can be formed. You need to see the potential of both to build your social CRM. Creating experiences for your customers and analyzing their reaction will help you get to know and understand them.

You want fudge with that?

Sometimes your relationship can be superseded by the unpredictable buying habits of your customers. In the spring 2012 issue of Marketing Matters from the University of Minnesota, Professor Joseph Redden points out a very strange buying habit. He reports that, "Branded products are not always consumed in isolation.

Some products are experienced in concert with other products such as ice cream and hot fudge, televisions and surround-sound speakers, razors and shaving creams, designer shirts and slacks, shampoo and conditioner, even makeup. Consumers enjoy matching brands because they infer these items were specifically designed to go together."

So even though you may make the best-tasting hot fudge, unless you make the preferred ice cream to go with it, in some cases, you just won’t make that sale. This shows that additional psychological factors may override social media influence.

Changes to CRM with social media

To illustrate how social media has transformed CRM into social CRM, Get Satisfaction created an infographic called The Evolution of Social CRM. You can find the original infographic at Get Satisfaction’s blog, at this address:

http://blog.getsatisfaction.com/2010/12/17/the-evolution-of-crm-v2/?view=socialstudies.

The analysis illustrates what makes social CRM so different from the business functions of previous years. The critical points in the Get Satisfaction infographic, in terms of how social CRM has changed, include the following:

  • Instead of specific departments handling CRM, everyone in the company is involved in CRM.

  • CRM processes used to be company centric, but social CRM is customer centric.

  • Channels used to be defined, but now channels are dynamic, in that no one department can own a social media channel.

  • CRM happens on the customers’ time frame, not the set hours a company establishes.

  • The purpose of CRM has transformed from transactions to interactions with customers.

  • Whereas businesses used to handle CRM by sending messages from within the business to customers, messages now come from customers to the business using a social CRM model.

It’s easy to see that social CRM requires a whole new paradigm. The customer is the center of all the action. Effective tools haven’t completely caught up with the requirements. For this reason, social media tools are layered on top of typical CRM systems to gather all the needed data.

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