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What Is Social CRM And How Can It Help You?

Brands use social media to talk to and collaborate with customers to solve business problems.

Marketers use social media to ask for feedback on our products and services, and openly ask and listen about wants, needs and pain points.

With user numbers now in the millions, and time spent on social media per day rising by the hour, the increase in spending on social media tools, training and employees needs to be justified. What’s the ROI?

We already know the benefits of CRM, or Customer Relationship Management. Now there’s Social CRM: customer management and relationships cultivated through social media and other online venues.

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As you engage with prospects and customers on social media sites, you’ll find yourself wanting to track those interactions. Maybe this month someone expressed interest in your product or service, and then six months later you found out that they bought it. With social CRM, you can remember and attribute that social interaction to a sale, thus finally defining the ROI of social media.

What else can using a social CRM help you do?

1. Track and reward advocates, solicit feedback.

Current customers and even prospects can be advocates for your brand.

At Cision, we have clients who are enthusiastic about our software, and community members who simply love our educational resources such as webinars and guides and share our content consistently.

In both of these cases, empowering advocates is a smart business tactic that gets you closer to people in the industry. How do you empower your advocates? Create an advocate program where those people get early access to beta, or create reward levels for certain levels of engagement as a surprise and delight.

2. Help provide service and support.

help-support

Carnival Cruise Lines is a great example of this. While having a fantastic honeymoon cruise, I had a sour experience with their ship photographer. When I chatted about it on Facebook to my friends, Carnival immediately entered the conversation and took care of the issue.

Despite the complaint initially being said on Facebook, Carnival found me on Twitter (because that’s the network I am most active on) and would send me direct messages on the status. I was impressed by their ability to track my profile across networks and keep me in the know.

3. Gather more information.

Tailoring content on social media is essential to reaching the right audience. Creating complete contact profiles in a social CRM can give you a bird’s eye view of where a prospect or client prefers to engage and the topics they’re most interested in, so you can engage with them at the right time, place and topic.

Melissa Barnes at Twitter calls this planning for the moment, and according to their data, you can predict the best times to reach people based off of their daily posts and interactions, because they will almost always repeat.

4. Track marketing and PR messages sent to prospects and clients.
Messaging

Mid-market and enterprise businesses can send anywhere from a few hundred to millions of messages a month to their audience. Social CRM tracks whether someone has read your news releases, landing pages or website, and you can then derive from that information whether the message was successful or not.

If a prospect did not open an email, you can adjust the subject line for future emails. Or if someone closed out of a landing page that contained a form without filling in any information, it may mean that the offer did not resonate and you need to tailor something more customized to them.

5. Create the link from social media interaction to sale.

Prospects often turn to social media during the phase of consideration in the buying cycle. They may ask friends for feedback on a business or even ask the business itself.

Keeping track of these conversations, especially the “assists” where you may hook a prospect up with a current user or reference that convinces them to buy, helps the case for social media and shows executives that it contributes to the bottom-line.

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Images: Alan ReevesCory DoctorowRaSeLaSeD – Il Pinguino (Creative Commons)

About Cision Contributor

This post was written by a guest Cision contributor.

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