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Using Social Media to Increase CRM Results

March 20, 2016

Customer relationship management, or CRM, is the essential cog in building a client base. Reaching customers has never been easier thanks to the popularity of social media. These platforms are no longer confined to a specific demographic; they transcend age, gender, and socioeconomic status. Social media can be an effective way to increase your CRM—if you use it effectively.

Choose a Good Platform

Before you dive into social CRM, set up an effective platform for managing your social media accounts. A good management platform allows you to engage and track customer activity seamlessly. It should also have integration capabilities with your sales, marketing, and commerce applications. In a customer-centric world, you can’t afford to waste time on a one-point solution.

Plan Your Resources

Have a dedicated team for monitoring and responding to inquiries on social media accounts. Customers don’t like sitting on hold for customer service visits, and they expect their social media posts to elicit a prompt response. You can put your marketing and PR gurus to the task of managing your social CRM—as long as they’re properly equipped to handle the challenge. To be on the safe side, offer additional training opportunities before you make your official launch.

Identify Social Stakeholders

Just as your business has key stakeholders, your social media campaign will have key influencers. These individuals are the ones who drive the conversation about your product or service. Use an analytics tool to single them out, and engage them directly to build a positive relationship.

Reward Loyalty

Businesses are increasingly turning to customer loyalty services, and it’s easy to see why. Rewarding loyal customers is one of the easiest ways to build your CRM. Social media makes it even easier; for example, share a discount code exclusively for your social media followers. This rewards your existing social base, and it entices others to follow your movements.

Practice Authenticity

One of the main lures of social media is that it provides the opportunity for people to get a glimpse into others’ lives. Businesses can capitalize on this notion by offering sneak peaks and behind-the-scenes looks at everyday company practices. Inject some personality into your brand by highlighting employees who encompass your values or letting followers know about some of your initiatives outside the job.

Ignore the Trolls

With every social media endeavor, you’re going to encounter trolls. These people are simply in the business of stirring up trouble. A “troll” is someone who posts off-topic or confrontational comments solely for the purpose of drumming up an emotional response in other posters. They post to get attention, so don’t encourage them. As tempting as it may be to defend your hard work and your brand, engaging will only make the situation more inflammatory. Take the high road and ignore it. Don’t ignore legitimate concerns, however. Respond to gripes in a timely fashion, and know the difference between a complaint with teeth and a cry for attention.

Benefits and Limitations

Social media has the potential to create personalized and targeted messaging for your customer base without the pithy nature of more traditional CRM techniques. Mailers that specifically address customers by name (“Just for you, Stephanie!”) or those that evoke handwritten notes amount to little more than customer relationship manipulation. Social media can provide a more genuine avenue of engagement.

This aside, it’s essential to remember that technology complements your CRM campaign; it doesn’t replace it. Person-to-person interactions, not social media exchanges, should continue to be the forefront of your CRM. Use these tips as part of your comprehensive CRM toolbox, and hang on to your tried-and-true methods.

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