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Key Tips for a Social CRM Strategy

The best way to get your social CRM strategy off the ground is by understanding what you want to accomplish. Knowing your goals will help you determine how often you should post and what content to share for maximum engagement. 

For example, if one of your goals is customer retention, it would be wise to engage with current customers on Facebook and promote offers and deals that might convince them to buy from you again in the future.

If you are looking for a way to increase your customer retention rate, it is time to get on board with social CRM. Social CRM uses social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter to interact with customers and potential customers. This blog post discusses some tips that will help you develop a killer social CRM strategy! 

In this blog post, we’ll give you some helpful tips for developing an effective Social CRM strategy that will help grow your business by increasing customer retention rates. We’ll also share how other companies have successfully used this method to grow their business.

There are many different methods to CRM. However, these days, one of the most successful is a social CRM strategy. With social media now an integral part of business and personal life, taking a social method to CRM encourages a new level of engagement with new and old customers.

A social media strategy may be the foundation of this, but implementing CRM is crucial as well – when combined, this translates into a social CRM strategy. But how can you approach implementing a successful social CRM strategy? Once you have the strategy set, what tools can you use to put it into practice? These are the questions we’ll address below.

Get the Most From Both Customer Touchpoints

The combination of social media and CRM spells many new opportunities for sales personnel looking to connect or marketing professionals seeking to inform. 

And all of it can happen through your CRM system as long as your social CRM strategy is on target. It’s a key factor of what’s been fueling CRM’s steady growth over the past half-decade, as this chart from market research firm Statista clearly shows:

CRM Market Revenue, 2016-2021 (in Billions USD)

Social media should be a core component of your business’s CRM plan, but a successful social CRM strategy is about more than racking up likes and followers to drive site traffic. Once you’ve got the audience, these tips will help your business make the most of the tools it’s using. The data it’s gathering while turning the immediacy of social media into an asset rather than a liability.

Invest in the Right Social Tool

Social CRM Strategy

Before even incorporating a Social CRM strategy, your business should be managing its social media efforts through a social media analytics tool. 

The platform you choose will serve as the focal point for scheduling social posts across all active presences, monitoring who’s saying what and to how many people, and interacting with customers. 

It would help if you had a Social CRM tool that can do all of those things (for a price that fits your business) and integrate with whatever existing CRM tool you may have. Salesforce is an excellent option for advanced analytics capabilities.

Invest in the Right CRM

Your social media management tool should focus on your marketing campaigns across your social platform engagements. 

However, your CRM should have not only the appropriate integration hooks to these social media management platforms but also CRM-specific social media tools as well, including dashboard, reporting, and clean data collection. 

Many CRMs, even those designed specifically for small businesses, now have easy-to-use, customer-centric social media tools embedded directly into the CRM. An example is Salesforce Essentials.

Get The Right Mix Of Technologies

Several excellent CRM platforms incorporate social CRM elements. However, it is essential to understand that no single CRM vendor provides a 360-degree view of social CRM.

Instead, you need to research and understand the various technologies that can help you get the data you are looking for. Then, you need to develop the right mix of technologies to deliver a proper social CRM.

These technologies must address your data needs and integrate with your CRM platform to get their data into your database. This means utilizing APIs from social media sites, aggregators and listening platforms. If APIs do not exist, do you have the capability to develop a bridge between the systems?

Similarly, once you have this data in your database, you may need to bridge it out to marketing suites and other outbound communication tools. But if you are using a different CRM system with solutions such as MailChimp, HootSuite and others, you will need to link your CRM to all of these systems.

Your CRM system will sit in the middle of a multi-technological integrated marketing suite made up of disparate and fragmented systems. This takes a lot to set up and a lot to maintain. Seek out designs that offer the most in one box and integrate with similar methods to minimize your integration and maintenance efforts.

Experiment For Success

CRM Testing and Experimentation

There is no definitive way to approach social CRM. There are no out of the box solutions that address specific business needs and technological challenges.

CRM providers are building more and more functionality into their systems, but this is still limited compared to the wealth of data available.

The only way to succeed is to pioneer your solutions by experimenting with what works and what doesn’t. Test your strategies and technological test solutions. You will soon find what works and when you do, you will gain a superior competitive advantage over competitors who give up.

Just remember to keep it simple and use it to address primary business goals. Don’t change your traditional business goals and strategies to accommodate social media. Instead, enhance them with social CRM.

Use Experienced Data Analysts

To make this all work effectively, you need to manage an enormous inflow of social data and map this to specific customer records. The data needs to be used to segment customers based on social behaviours, and outbound campaigns are developed to communicate to these segments. On a small scale, generally, this is not too taxing. But for organizations with massive databases, it’s a different ball game.

The only way to achieve commercial success is to utilize professional data analysts who can undertake database management, modelling, data mining and analysis to drive sophisticated social-based customer segmentations. Experienced data analysts can help you transform social data into marketing action.

Test Outbound Communications

Once you have your database structured for social CRM, developed your strategy, identified your mix of technologies, and experimented to see which delivers the results you want. You have your experienced data analysts in place, you should test your outbound communications with a pilot campaign.

Start small and run a campaign based on social behaviours. Then, learn as much as you can to fine-tune your next campaign.

Respond to customers promptly

“As important as the response itself is, you need to make sure you engage the customer as fast as possible,” says Brian Coughlin, an SEO analyst at OpticsPlanet.com, an online seller of sports optics hunting gear and sunglasses.

“If they have a question, you shouldn’t wait hours before answering. If they have a complaint, it should be minutes before they have a personalized response,” Coughlin says. “It’s not easy to keep up to date on all your social accounts, but your customers will appreciate it and grow to trust you more and more as you improve.”

Put a human face (or name) on your social media conversations.

Social Media Influencer

“In social media, friends and fans want to interact with ‘real people, not with companies or nameless flacks,” states Peter Friedman, chairman and CEO, LiveWorld, a social content marketing company. “So when building relationships with customers through social media, be as human as possible.

That means your representatives on social should be encouraged to bring their personalities to the table, within guidelines determined by your brand attributes and goals,” Friedman says. “If you use a company username for Twitter, allow employees who tweet from that account to put their name at the end of messages so that readers understand there’s an individual on the other end.”

Make sure your social media messaging is consistent with your brand image.

“The consumer wants to feel like they are talking to a real person, but you want to be sure the tone on your social sites is still in line with your company,” says Chris Apaliski, the social media director at Dallas-based digital marketing agency Magic Logix.

“For example, a restaurant that derives a lot of profit from happy hour may be able to take a casual, laid-back tone; however, a big data company [should probably] be informational yet courteous,” Apaliski says. “Know your business and audience and craft your strategy accordingly.”

Monitor what your customers are saying so you can quickly respond.

“One of the best ways to solve a problem is to anticipate it before it is presented to you,” says Adam Root, CTO and co-founder of marketing software developer HipLogiq, the parent company of social media apps SocialCompass and SocialCentiv.

“By monitoring social media feeds [for your company name and products], your business can immediately identify customer service issues and start to work on them before support tickets come in, “Root says.

In addition, “use tools like Google Alerts, Twilert.com, Newsle.com or CTOsOnTheMove.com (shameless plug) to be alerted when your clients get appointed, promoted or quoted in media so that you can congratulate them on their success,” says Misha Sobolev, director, CTOsOnTheMove, which provides real-time sales leads to technology companies. “These little acts of kindness will show you are human and that you care–and will cement your business relationship better than a 100-page presentation.”

Don’t feed the trolls.

Social Media Trolls

“Trolls lurk in all corners of social media, waiting to stir up trouble with companies,” says Alex Beard, senior vice president and general manager at Saleforce.com.

What or who is a troll? “A ‘troll’ is someone who posts provocative or off-topic messages only to get an emotional response from readers,” Bard says. 

So before responding to an angry tweet or a nasty Facebook comment, “be aware of people’s intentions and do not feed the troll by responding to inflammatory statements,” he says. “It’s important to know the difference between people encouraging controversy [or] just looking to get a reaction out of others” and those who may have a legitimate gripe.

Even if your company’s offerings and customer service are both impeccable, there are sure to be times when customers will have nasty things to say on social media. Some complaints may have more merit than others. 

With that in mind, the optics of deleting a negative comment can be far more harmful than the comment itself (with the exception, of course, of highly inappropriate posts or offensive). If your customers see that you are deleting unpleasant feedback, they could perceive that your company cares more about its online image than helping customers. When it comes to combating negative feedback, always maintain a proactive, professional demeanour.

Let customers know how and when to reach you.

 “Set customer service expectations by ensuring your brand’s social pages display a statement about the page’s purpose, including the hours in which the page is actively monitored and a timeframe in which customers can expect a reply,” says Jon Schepke, CEO and founder of SIM Partners, a provider of local automated marketing solutions.

“If for some reason a customer is particularly displeased or requires extra assistance, take the conversation offline by providing an email address or phone number they can contact for direct support,” Schepke says.

Use social profile data to augment contact information.

“Social profiles provide rich demographic and psychographic information on your current customers,” says Root. “By mining customer data from social profiles, your marketing department can identify trends in your current customer base and target the right audience in future campaigns.”

The most loyal, vocal, and active of your company’s social media followers are assets. Building a relationship with these loyal customers and those with the broadest social influence can help turn your online presence into communities. For example, run a hashtag-driven event on Twitter around a particular promotion. Give a @shoutout to the customer who’s been most active in your community this week. Send out discount offers or promotional codes to reward engaged customers. 

Social media gives businesses more immediate access to a broader array of customers than ever before, and Social CRM is how your business can tap into and make the most out of those connections.

Unify and centralize your customer-related communications.

Unify Social Media Platforms

“Conversations with your business prospects and existing customers happen everywhere, including email, Twitter, Facebook and even your help desk ticketing system,” says Root.

“Problems surface when communication is inconsistent across those lines. For example, when sales don’t know a customer had a bad experience in response to a help desk issue, or when a customer doesn’t get a reply back on Twitter,” Root says.

“Having one portal where communication with your customers or prospects is available to everyone paints a comprehensive picture and allows problems to be solved quickly and lets your customer know that every department in your business is in tune.” Root says.

Post frequently asked questions on your Facebook page or provide links to your FAQ page.

“Personally, answering every question that comes through on social media can be a daunting (not to mention time-consuming and expensive) task for companies,” says David Lloyd, CEO of IntelliResponse, a virtual agent software provider. So “investigate solutions that allow your company to automate company-approved answers to common questions on social,” he says.

“Stakeholders can get the company’s official answers to frequently asked questions in their channel of choice, allowing the company to remain at a distance, but jump in when necessary to offer personalized online support,” Lloyd says.

Remember that social media isn’t always the answer or the appropriate way to respond to a customer.

“Today’s customer is omnichannel, and organizations must connect the experience and interaction sequence with every channel the customer is using,” says Mark Smith, president, Provenir, the developer of customer lifecycle software for enterprises.

“Companies should recognize that an appropriate response to social events may not always be a social responsibility but rather a cross-channel one. For example, if a high-profile customer has a significant issue, an immediate call to their mobile may be more effective than a tweet,” Smith says.

Do not ignore essential CRM functions.

 “Assigning tasks, logging call notes and following up on meetings may be considered ‘old-school,’ but they are just as important as ever,” says Jon Ferrara, the founder and CEO of social CRM platform Nimble. “These are what your CRM is designed to do: keep the deal flow on track. Neglect them at your peril.”

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Focus on Force is the ideal preparation for your Salesforce Certification. I’ve spent more than 10 years working with the Salesforce platform in various roles (including business analyst, project manager, consultant, solutions designer and solutions architect), and worked my way through 12 certifications in order to move up the career ladder. 

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