Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 4094
, Published on 22 May 2011
Social networking has revolutionized the way people communicate, share information and form new communities online. Unlike other communication mediums, social networking sites not only provide the ability for users to communicate with each other but also enable them to find likeminded individuals to form ad hoc communities based on their mutual interests. What does this mean for the business? It means shift of power from the company to the consumer. By maintaining a persistent connection with the vocal constituents of the social web, organizations can identify their most influential consumers, drive participation of these in product development and improve brand awareness.
All of us are aware of the great power of social networking and many organizations have realized that by pumping right resources in that direction. But they need to better plan, manage and measure their social networking efforts. This is precisely where CRM intersects social networking. CRM is all about how we manage and engage our customers. CRM and social networks working together provide the business the ability to better listen to customer conversations and engage social customers with enriching experience.
Social Networking and Marketing
CRM solution integrated with social networking should be able to capture fragmented online conversations into actionable insights. Social networking along with CRM can help organizations increase brand awareness by identifying the key influencers. It should automatically track public online conversation and rate the sentiment of specific social networking conversation. It can also help in keeping track of reactions to new announcements or developments. Keep track of online conversations about competitor’s products providing rightful insights how the product is performing vis. a vis. competitor’s product. CRM solution should be quick to spot the developing perception and address them with pinpoint responses. Therefore it is necessary to have social networks to be integrated with CRM so that quick responses coming out of online conversations can be channelized into the marketing campaigns. It should be capable of launching online marketing programs that engage social customers in their preferred environment. An important aspect of CRM solutions is to measure their social networking efforts. It should be able to analyze the message effectiveness by measuring impressions, replies and other key metrics. It should be able to generate a dashboard providing instant visibility into brand’s health. It should have analytical capability to identify the biggest influencer and complainers.
Social Networking and Sales
Social networks provide excellent opportunity to identify rich prospect for the next deal. Unlike the traditional channels, social network provide the excellent opportunity to gauge the customer’s interest by looking at his social networking profile. If done in a proper manner, then customer would be more receptive than he would to a cold call. The CRM solution should be capable enough to identify the leads and categorize them into warm or hot. It should be able to identify leads on the basis of their online conversations leveraging their online career information to better understand their needs. It should be able to online influence of each prospect by looking at their followers and postings. CRM solution can help in engaging in online discussions with customers and prospects. A mechanism should be provided to directly create opportunity in the CRM system from the social networking site. Sales is all about pinpointing towards the exact requirement of customer and social networking integrated with CRM system can achieve that.
Social networking and Customer Service
Customers are never hesitant of expressing their displeasure about any service or product. Social networks provide a rich source of unfiltered feedback and dialogue which can be useful for identifying service issues and spotting opportunities for product development. Thus, used correctly, social networking channels can help customer service organizations be more effective and create value for the business. In addition, social networks provide an interaction channel that not only helps remove perceived barriers between customers and companies, but may also reduce the cost of service. The CRM solution should monitor social networks for any keywords, complaints and issue for any proactive action. It can act as early warning system. CRM solution should be able to identify the chronic problems and post the corrective action through social media. It should be able to leverage the power of community as additional channel. It should have analytical capabilities to identify key service trends and patterns.
Social networking is surging ahead and there is no doubt, it will keep on surging. It’s up to the organizations to tap in the social networking potential and employ tools that let them manage their social networking initiatives alongside traditional marketing, sales, and service activities. Integrating CRM and social networks would be one step in that direction.
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