Your customers are one of the main reasons your business exists.
Yet, when it comes to social media, many businesses fail to take it seriously as a channel for customer relationship building.
Sure, organizations will often drop thousands of dollars on a social media marketing budget for brand-building purposes or to acquire more leads. But do they use this data to build holistic customer profiles and provide better customer support? The answer is often a no.
A customer’s social media interactions with your brand can actually be beneficial for better understanding their relationship with your company. Ignoring social media data could be a huge disadvantage for your brand.
Social CRM, i.e., a customer relationship management tool that incorporates your social channels, can help with this. Let’s find out how.
What is a Social CRM?
A social CRM tool is exactly how it sounds. Social CRM software merges the data you collect from your social media platforms with the customer data you have in your CRM tool to create a better, more comprehensive overview of existing or potential customers’ behavior patterns.
This data ultimately helps your social and support teams provide better experiences to your customers and helps your sales team learn more about the leads they generate.
7 Ways Social Media Can Improve your CRM Strategy
A social customer relationship management strategy is all about connecting your brand’s social channels to your CRM system.
Here’s how integrating your social media channels with your CRM tool can boost your overall CRM strategy.
Break down organizational silos
From marketing to sales reps and customer service agents to tech support – each department in your company is likely dealing with customer interactions in some form or the other, daily. However, this customer data usually stays limited within each department in most cases.
An integrated social CRM tool can help break down departmental silos and create a better flow of information for everyone.
This is important as customers will often head to social media when they have a question, comment, or complaint about your brand. Your marketing team may not have all the answers to customer queries on their own. However, when customer data is shared within departments, the marketing team is better equipped to handle it.
Working within one unified CRM platform can streamline your team’s social media response time and process. Instead of making marketing responsible for all responses, this tool can help easily assign tasks, comments, and questions to the appropriate team.
The best way to create a better customer experience is to get everyone in the organization involved in the process.
Get a 360-degree view of the customer
Every brand wants to get to know its target audience better. By combining your social networks along with your CRM data, you can develop a better, more holistic view of existing and new customers.
These customer profiles can help you develop a 360-degree view of your clients and have a better overview of their relationship with your brand.
You can also track the customer journey better thanks to a social CRM platform. You build out each customer’s profile by tracking all social conversations, likes, and other engagements. This history of customer data gives you an overview of the customer’s journey from potential to current customer to hopefully a brand advocate.
It then gives your customer support team the necessary context to know exactly where a customer is in the journey and tailor the service they provide accordingly.
For your sales and marketing teams, this customer data is also helpful for identifying leads and the true value of each new lead, based on their social interactions and actions. This will help your paid ads team better plan their advertising budget and can assist your sales team in optimizing their sales funnels.
Track conversations, complaints, feedback
Social media can be convenient for keeping an eye on what people are saying about your business.
A social CRM platform can help you better track conversations, complaints, and feedback related to your brand. Automation further simplifies this process. Most tools will allow you to set up hashtags and keywords to monitor positive and negative comments, company name mentions, and more.
You can track relevant industry keywords, your brand name and misspellings of it, other branded keywords and hashtags, and even competitor keywords if relevant. So, for example, even if a customer talks about your company on Twitter without the @, you can track these conversations and, if relevant, use it as an opportunity to engage with them.
This is an excellent opportunity to engage with potential customers who may have otherwise fallen off the social media, customer support, or sales radar.
Create brand advocates with social data
Who are your most loyal customers? If you don’t already know, social media can help you identify and engage with these customers more meaningfully. The data could also help you identify influencers who could become influencers on behalf of your organization and further your brand awareness.
By merging your social and CRM data, you could identify brand advocates that will help you build a community around your brand or product.
These people already love your company. By engaging with them on social, and giving them a little extra love, you could build meaningful relationships that will pay great dividends for brand awareness.
Maintain a consistent brand voice
Your social media presence should have a consistent brand voice across all channels. Whether it’s Twiter, LinkedIn, or Instagram, your customers should expect to have the same experience with you, irrespective of the channel.
While you may painstakingly create a brand voice guide within your social media strategy, it’s vital to ensure this voice is actually being put to practice in your brand messaging and customer interactions on social.
A social CRM tool can help you keep everyone on the same page by incorporating your style guide within the tool. All stakeholders will have access to this, and you can also provide training on how to keep the brand voice controlled.
So whether it’s your social media team putting out a brand awareness post or a customer service rep engaging with a customer in real-time on Twitter, the brand voice will always remain the same.
Target your social ads better
Your digital marketing strategy probably includes advertising to your customers on social networks. The more data you have on who your customers are and their preferences, the better your ad targeting can be.
The data on your CRM can be beneficial for this. By integrating your socials with your CRM software, you can improve the target audience for your advertising. Plus, you could also create lookalike audiences based on this data to attract potential customers in a similar demographic or with similar interests.
Improve the customer experience
Whether you want them to or not, your customers will come to your social media channels to ask for help or, worse, complain. The brands that do the best, anticipate this and are ready to provide customer service on social media.
According to Convince&Convert, only 32% of social media complainers are happy with how fast businesses respond. This is despite the fact, 63% of social media complaints that are addressed are handled within twenty-four hours.
As you can probably tell, customers expect a lot from brands on social media.
In fact, according to the same research, 39% of customers expect response time on social media to be within sixty minutes. Yet, the average response time from businesses is five hours.
The number one reason to adopt a unified social media CRM strategy is to enhance the customer experience. So if your customers are asking for help on social media, be ready to respond. Don’t make them go around in circles by asking them to call or send an email. Make it easy for them and address the issue on the platform of their choice.
A unified social CRM strategy makes it easier to do this as your social team has access to more information about the customers and can easily assign tickets and tasks to your support reps if the customer’s issue needs further escalation.
How to Implement a Social CRM Strategy that Works
So what do you need to put your social CRM strategy to work for your business? Let’s find out.
Invest in the right CRM tools
The right tools will go a long way towards ensuring the success of your social CRM strategy.
To start with, you need a robust social media management tool. You should be able to manage your social content and interactions through this tool. Most importantly, the tool should provide you with detailed social media analytics that you can use to feed into your CRM tool.
Additionally, you will also need a great customer relationship management platform, obviously. Salesforce and Hubspot are probably the best-known traditional CRM tools, but they’re certainly not the only ones.
This tool should be able to easily integrate your social media data and consolidate it with other customer-related data, including email, online chat, and phone interactions.
Invest in a customer engagement platform with features that allow you to:
- Easily integrate social and customer data.
- Provide customer support via social media channels.
- Monitor brand mentions and other keywords with social listening.
- Make use of detailed analytics data.
Get everyone involved
Social media isn’t just for your social media marketing team. For your CRM strategy to be effective, you must get all relevant stakeholders involved. This could include your marketing teams, as well as customer support, community management, sales team, legal teams, and more.
When various teams are aligned and not working in silos, you improve the customer experience. You also improve the quality and response times, which is crucial for a successful CRM strategy.
Use social listening
Social listening is key for social CRM success. Set up keyword and hashtag monitoring in your CRM software to track mentions of your brand (and brand misspelling), industry keywords, and more.
As mentioned above, listening to these customer conversations will help you identify potential customers and also provide support (if needed), even if a customer hasn’t directly tagged you in a social conversation.
Monitor your data
Keep an eye on the social interactions data within your CRM system to understand if your social CRM strategy is helping you meet your targets. While reducing response time is important, it’s also vital to keep an eye on the quality of your responses.
Monitor how many tickets your social and support teams are looking after. Record the average handling time of each ticket as well. See if the team is meeting targets or if you can make further improvements to the process.
By regularly measuring your results, you can also identify gaps and acquire the relevant resources to help fill these gaps.
Integrating your social media with your CRM is a great idea for almost every business – even small businesses. However, just a word of warning: you may face a few challenges at the start.
For example, you may not see results straight away. If you have a smaller social following, it might take a while before you start seeing why the social CRM integration makes sense.
Stick with it. As your following grows and the tool collects more data, your CRM will begin to improve and become more useful for all concerned.
You may also find yourself up against resistance from your customer support or sales teams, who may not immediately see the value in giving up their traditional CRM platform. Make sure you help them understand how they will benefit from the social CRM adoption, e.g., more leads or more customer data.
Despite the teething challenges you may face, there’s no doubt that meshing your social media marketing efforts with your CRM strategy is a win for the business.
Your social media team can get a better, more holistic view of your customers and tailor their marketing strategy accordingly through a social CRM. Similarly, the social data will empower your customer support team with more information to help them provide better customer service.
Social media CRM platforms can be a powerful tool for businesses, unifying teams and creating better experiences for your customers. They’re a must-have for modern social media management and overall business.