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Social CRM vs Social Media Management

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 06 Mar, 2015
Essential Essential topic

Why Social CRM could be better than traditional Social Media management?

Social media is a big deal for businesses, but that’s not exactly groundbreaking news... Consultants and strategists have been talking about the importance of social presence and social marketing for years now.

It’s simple math, really: 74% of online adults use social networking sites, there are about 500 million tweets sent every day. That adds up to a lot of missed opportunities if your business isn’t doing something intentional with social media. But there are many different opinions on what exactly that something should be.

A 2014 study from TNS Global revealed that over 80% of U.S. small businesses try to leverage social media for growth and have increased spending to do so. But many businesses have a difficult time measuring their return-on-investment (ROI), according to a recent survey only 44% attempt to measure it.

This disconnect between adoption and ROI reflects a larger disconnect between social strategy and business processes. Many organizations still see social as something separate from sales, customer service, and even marketing. They manage and track feeds in a siloed system, or don’t have a formal management system at all.

Bringing it all together

Social media management has traditionally belonged to marketing and public relations (PR) departments—a side chore relegated to a few select team members. While these individuals often have the competency to curate their company’s public image, they don’t always have access to the relevant data and back-office systems. That means the social media strategy will be limited to publicity management.

In the past few years, a growing movement in the IT world has sought to combine the power of social insight and business process by bringing the social element into existing customer relationship management (CRM) systems—hence the name, Social CRM - definition. This movement, and the solutions it has spawned, are about engaging with and understanding customers across different touch points in order to add value and strengthen the relationship. It often entails:

  • Customer profiles enhanced with social data
  • Social “listening” tools
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Social marketing insights
  • Social leads and sales offers
  • Social customer service and support

Since its inception only a few short years ago, Social CRM has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Some predict it will be worth over $9 billion by 2018.

Beyond the software titans like Oracle, Salesforce, and SAP, smaller, niche players are also releasing socially-proficient CRMs (such as Nimble or Batchbook). It’s probable (for many of the top solutions at least) that social integration will soon be standard. Make sure to look for this when you compare CRM software, or implement a new system.

Advantages of Social CRM over discrete Social Media Management

The question on the mind of many decision-makers is: 'How is this better than what I’m already doing?'And that’s a valid question. Dedicated social media managers/teams are a valuable asset to any business, but without being plugged into larger workflows, these teams will always fall short of clear, measurable results.

Advantages of Social CRM

There are several advantages that Social CRM has over isolated teams that manually oversee social media:

  1. Build more robust customer profiles: Social CRM makes personal insight and discovery available to all of your agents across all departments. That means they can pull in social data at the point of capture and use it to add value to each engagement without interrogating the customer every time they call.
  2. Directly administer service and support: When your social listening tools are directly tethered to back office systems, your service department can pick up cases and resolve them directly from their place of origin. The customer won’t have to make a separate request on a new channel (i.e. contact center) and re-explain their issue.
  3. Better targeted marketing: For many organizations, CRM and marketing automation already have a symbiotic relationship. Social CRM tools help marketers identify trends, acquire new prospects, and contextualize in ways that are most likely to add value. Some business, for example, offer rewards to customers who perform certain social actions (sharing a post, liking a page, etc.). This is largely a marketing play, but it allows the business to use Social CRM to track and administer the rewards, eliminating unnecessary time and labor.
  4. People helping people: As 'millennials' increasingly dominate the market, more consumers will seek concise, efficient help online, rather than waiting in a phone queue for twenty minutes. Social CRM helps your support agents accelerate conversations and deliver rapid service, which inevitably keeps customers happier. Not only that, but as other customers and prospects witness these efficient exchanges, their opinion of your brand elevates. You might even gain some self-elected brand advocates in the process.

It’s not that your PR reps or marketing specialists are bad at social media. In fact, they should keep doing what they’re doing in terms of monitoring publicity and brand sentiment. But without the right tools, social media managers are stuck serving as couriers of esoteric knowledge to the rest of the business. The requisite change is about letting social awareness innundate your company across all departments, getting the right information to the people who can do something with it. Social CRM, it just so happens, is one of the best ways to do that.

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By Expert commentator

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