Customer relationship management (CRM) software has been around for a while. At this point, most companies are using a CRM of some sort to manage their customer relationships, track sales, etc. However, a new element has arisen in the CRM realm: social CRM. Below we’ll dig into some best practices for leveraging social CRM to beef up your marketing efforts. But first, we’ll cover some basics.
What is social CRM?
Traditional CRM allows you to store loads of client and prospect data, then use that to move deals through the pipeline. Social CRM is more about targeting potential customers on social media, sharing content and other important news, and engaging with them through direct conversations on the social platforms they use most. It allows for a much more personal approach to customer interactions and can drive lots of business when you engage in proper social media marketing.
Social CRM best practices
1.Select the right technology
As the name suggests, social CRM typically calls for having a CRM solution in place. Some CRMs don’t provide any type of social CRM capabilities. Others, like Agile CRM, provide robust social CRM features.
What should you look for in a social CRM solution? Here are a few of the core features that any social CRM solution worth its salt should include:
- Integrations with popular social platforms
- Social listening and monitoring capabilities
- Interaction tracking features
- The ability to post to social media from within your CRM
2. Have a dedicated social media manager
It’s important that you have one person who oversees your social media presence. They can have assistants, and others in the company can get involved. But it’s crucial that one person owns the operation and drives the effort.
When multiple people are posting to your company’s social media channels, it can result in inconsistent messaging. You also might have two different people posting the same thing at the same time. It can easily spiral out of control when multiple people are posting, so ensure that you have one dedicated social media manager and that every post goes through them.
3. Put a human face on your social presence
Another benefit of having one single person running the show is that they can put a human face on your social media presence. People feel more comfortable interacting with another human—with a personality—than a faceless company logo with a voice behind it.
Allowing your social media manager to let their personality come out in the posts and replies they publish on social media accomplishes this. People will start to form relationships with your company through the relationships they build with your social media manager. This is why it’s so important to hire a social manager with charisma, a great attitude, and a genuine desire to interact with your audience. A “people person,” if you will. Hiring the right person will rocket your social return on investment.
4. Involve customer support
Like it or not, people will have complaints about your product or service. It may not be at all your fault, but it will happen. For that reason, it’s important to have your customer support team involved in your social CRM efforts.
When a negative comment gets posted, support gets alerted and can chime in right away to address the issue before it snowballs out of control. Negative comments and their sentiment spread like wildfire, so be sure support is involved in helping put out those fires before they spread.
5. Create dialogue and avoid one-way communication
Whereas traditional marketing is about talking at your customers and prospects, social CRM marketing is about speaking with them. Respond to their posts. Thank them when they compliment you. If they ask a question, engage them in a dialogue about the issue.
This type of dialogue is how you develop relationships with your customers using a social CRM. It’s a great way to expand the reach of your brand, build brand loyalty, maintain satisfied customers, and reduce customer churn. And this is very important because increasing customer retention rates by just 5% will increase profits by anywhere from 25% to 95% (Bain & Company).
6. Monitor mentions and respond ASAP
When someone mentions your brand on social media, it’s critical that you respond as soon as possible. According to Statista, 41% of social media users in the U.S. expect a response to a social media post within 24 hours.
Leaving a comment or question unanswered for a long period of time will hurt your brand reputation and result in dissatisfied customers. According to Forrester research, 71% of consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing you can do to deliver a positive customer experience. So stay on top of your responses.
7. Participate in relevant social media groups
There are many open and closed groups on social media channels. This is particularly true for Facebook and LinkedIn. These are groups where people gather to discuss a specific topic, such as sales and marketing, finance, or any other industry or topic that people engage with.
Find groups that are discussing the topic around which your product or service revolves. Join them and participate in the conversations there. Don’t blindly promote your brand. Bur rather provide helpful advice and build your presence in the group. Other group members will start to see you as an authority in your space. Over time, as you develop that reputation, you can start to subtly promote your brand to these groups. But be sure to build trust first and foremost.
8. Encourage contributions from your executives
Every now and then, you can have your executives respond to a compliment or comment—when appropriate. This will certainly give the impression that you value your audience and further build brand loyalty. If the CEO has the time to respond to you personally, wouldn’t you feel just a little special?
9. Make sure your audience knows how to reach you
The point of social CRM marketing is to find new prospects and convert them into customers through the use of social media. It’s imperative that someone with whom you have engaged on social media knows how to reach the company. If they get to the point where they are interested in learning more about your product, they need to know how to reach you.
Use your profile page to share the various points of contact where they can reach you. Include contact info for sales, customer support, etc.
10. Identify and nurture your brand advocates
Brand advocates are everyday people who love your brand and are willing to promote it to their colleagues, friends, and family. If you have satisfied customers who post positive comments about your brand on social media, you have the chance to develop a brand advocate.
Cater to them. Respond when they comment and make an extra effort to engage them in dialogue. Treat them with respect and odds are they will continue to promote your brand, meaning you will have created a new brand advocate.
11. Find potential influencers to collaborate with
Using the social listening and monitoring features that social CRMs like Agile CRM provide, you can be alerted when an industry influencer mentions you on social media. If that happens, you should pounce on the opportunity to engage with them.
If you are successful, you’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with them and put your brand in front of their following, greatly extending the reach of your brand. Learn more about influencer marketing.
12. Follow your customers and share their posts
This is especially true if you run a B2B marketing team. Find your customers on social media and follow them. When they post something useful, share it. Comment on their posts. Give them positive feedback whenever possible. They will take notice and, once again, you’ll be creating brand loyalty and giving your customers a sense of being valued.
You can also apply this method to prospects that are high-value targets. Follow them and engage with them in the same way. It will go a long way towards helping you close that deal.
Just like with any pursuit where you’re striving for success, it’s important to measure your results when using social CRM. It helps you identify what’s working, what’s not, and how you can improve.
Some common metrics to track on social media are:
- New followers
- Total followers
- Engagement levels
- Overall traffic
- Post shares
- Brand mentions
- Conversions from social media
Be sure to measure on a weekly and monthly basis, keep a scorecard, and track your progress over time. This will provide valuable insight that will come in handy when evolving your social CRM strategy.
Social CRM is gaining in popularity and will continue to do so. Globally, there are 2.34 billion people that are on social media, and 76% of Facebook users (the largest network) log in every day. Think about that for a second. Increasingly, social media is going to be the venue where you interact and engage with your customers and prospects. Today is the time to start forming your social CRM strategy and get the ball rolling—if you have not done so already.
Do you have any anecdotes about your use of social CRM? Share them in the comments section below!