February 20, 2012

Set the Stage for a CRM Social Strategy

BY John Paul Narowski IN CRM Software, Sales and Marketing 0 Comment

Set the Stage for a Customer Meet-n-Greet with Social Media

For today’s business leaders, doing more with less has become a recent mantra. At the same time, in a tight economy it is more important than ever to reach as many customers as possible. Using social media is a highly cost-effective way to balance the goals of a tight budget with improving customer relationship management (CRM). Using a variety of social media tools can help you build brand loyalty and grow your business even in tough economic times. Here are several points to consider when using social media to boost your CRM strategy:

Social is Smart

While you can’t beat the free cost of most social media you also can not beat the reward potential brought about by direct customer interaction. Through real time feedback tools, a business knows right away how they are doing in the eyes of the customer. Staying aware of client feedback allows a manager or business owner to respond immediately, interjecting damage control if needed. Most customers are satisfied with a quick and honest response even if the problem cannot be solved immediately.

In addition to feedback ratings, social media is a great tool for building your client network. Managers interested in promoting their businesses through social media might consider starting an interactive blog with clients on topics or issues that are of wide interest. You can also use Twitter or a blog to boost brand recognition and loyalty by promoting community projects that you support. Most companies have a philanthropic connection in the larger community. Make sure you use social media effectively to let your customers know about the special projects that make your company unique.

Synergized Strategy

An investment in a multi-dimensional social media strategy is a smart way to get the most out of your CRM efforts. In order to be effective, your social media must be user-friendly. Customers should find all necessary links on the homepage of your business website so that they can easily follow your news, announcements, and special offers. Many business owners are priming their mobile websites to be in tip top shape due to the steady increase of mobile device dependability.

Recently, social CRM has become a trend to watch. Social CRM allows a company to integrate a customer’s Twitter handle with other social media information into a company’s database. Working synergistically to learn about their interests, social CRM tailors your interactions to their likes and needs. This kind of personalization allows for pinpointing communication and special offers that better address client trends. In addition, companies can use social CRM for interesting applications, such as conducting virtual focus groups that can lead to more profitable business decisions.

The Customer is Always Right

Since customers drive sales, getting it right the first time is critical. In reality, that just isn’t always possible. With social media, your customer service professionals, or you, can personally engage with customers to resolve issues that would have traditionally been done over the phone. For instance, through online chat or Twitter, the customer service connection is established and upheld. When customers feel that they have been heard, they leave more positive feedback which can fuel future sales.

Businesses who take social media engagement one step further to monitor brand chatter can reward customers who consistently support the brand in their commentary or blog posts. By following what customers are saying about other companies, a savvy business owner might just get a great idea for a product or service that can fill a gap in current market offerings.

Follow the Leaders

Managing employees in a social media focused work environment requires attention and work, but the investment of time and effort can produce a big return on investment. In a time when some companies are trying to cinch employee engagement with social media, other brands like Best Buy are using it to their full advantage. Each employee is encouraged to use social media to share technological expertise about various Best Buy products. When you have 180,000 employees Tweeting, blogging, posting interesting content, and connecting with customers who share their passions, then you have a recipe for ROI success.

Innovative leaders think outside the box. Innovative CRM leaders turn the box inside out and find new ways to work along with the social media outlets to boost client relationships that are both authentic and meaningful. Whether you are part of a small or large company, engaging in a more social CRM strategy can bring your clients together, create ways for them to interact over shared interests, and at the same time boost your brand recognition and drive profit goals upward.

What Does the Future Hold?

As more business leaders strive to connect with clients in creative and successful ways, CRM will need to fully embrace the potential of social media in order to stay ahead in a diversified and highly competitive global marketplace. Creating innovative ways for customers to interact with your brand is important for keeping your company fresh and appealing.

One of the most interesting CRM trends with great potential is the simultaneous use multiple technologies – using mobile device applications while watching television. Social media users can interact in live time, partake in trivia challenges, and enter to win contests held by sponsors. Business owners who can harness some of this customer engagement will not only enhance customer experience, but can potentially boost brand loyalty.

With more synergistic database systems that integrate customer information, companies can evolve to be more responsive toward an increasingly connected client base. By taking the time to examine the possibilities in a CRM strategy that integrates a wide range of social media applications, business leaders will be well positioned to engage in growth that is responsive, innovative, and sustainable. That applies not just to the present, but also for generations of consumers to come.

Guest Post Author:

The University of San Francisco, in partnership with University Alliance, has provided this article. The University of San Francisco offers online education opportunities through a variety of certificates, including the master certificate in internet marketing and the specialized certificate in advanced social media. To see additional information please visit http://www.usanfranonline.com

I’ve been hacking at various business ideas since I was 16. I’m a full stack developer and love crafting user experiences. I’ve been nose deep in code since I put the legos down, and built several successful businesses in the process. I’ve lost some hair, gained some experience and throughly enjoyed the journey.

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