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Social media + CRM = unmatchable customer experiences

  • 11 Minutes
Making social part of your CRM makes for unmatchable customer experiences - here's how to make the two play nice.

How to create an integrated social media CRM strategy

Social media is increasingly becoming the preferred way for customers to get in touch with businesses. Rather than picking up the phone or sending an email, customers can interact with brands through chatbots, comments, or even by sending a direct message.

Now, businesses need to build social media into their customer relationship management (CRM) strategy to succeed.

The stats back this up: 64% of people would rather message a business on social media than pick up the phone.

With social media integration, your brand can track and benchmark every interaction you have with your customers to deliver smoother, conversion-driving experiences.

Ready to tap into the power of social media to qualify, nurture and convert your leads? Let’s walk you through everything you need to know about crafting a social CRM strategy.

What is CRM?

Let’s start with the basics. Customer relationship management (CRM) is all about managing the connections your business has with your current and potential customers.

To do this, you’ll need to use some sort of software or tool to help organise, track and monitor these relationships with ease. CRM technology has one goal in mind: to improve your business relationships.

With a traditional CRM tool, you’ll be able to track every interaction you have with individual customers at every stage of the buyer lifecycle (from discovery to conversion to loyalty).

There’s no wonder many predict CRM tech will be the single largest area of spending in enterprise software. That’s because CRM apps helps businesses to:

  • Gain a clear overview of your current and potential customers through a single, easy-to-use dashboard backed by reliable customer data
  • Harness the power of automation to reduce time spent nurturing leads and make customer support teams and workflows more efficient
  • Offer more personalised customer interactions with customers that ensure you’re serving relevant messages in your brand voice to customers at the right time

Ultimately, CRM software is what will help your business grow and scale while ensuring you still deliver an exceptional customer experience along the way.

What is a social CRM strategy?

So, how do your social media platforms come into the picture?

A social customer relationship management strategy is all about connecting your brand’s social channels to your CRM system. It’s all about analysing your social media metrics to better understand the needs, pain points and motivations of your audience.

By bringing your social media presence together with your CRM data, you’ll have a more complete picture of your customers. Plus, you’ll also be able to turn your followers on social media into real leads and potential customers, too.

Integrating social networks into your CRM doesn’t just enhance your sales process: it can also benefit your social media marketing strategy as well.

With a clearer understanding of who is interacting with your business on social media, you’ll be able to serve more tailored, relevant content to them and boost their chances of taking meaningful action (such as making a purchase or signing up to your newsletter).

How social CRM platforms can benefit your business

As we mentioned, customer expectations of brands on social media are increasing. No matter what channel they’re using, new customers want to see that brands are able to deliver a great experience.

And that’s where a social CRM strategy comes in. Here’s why your business should prioritising a social CRM:

  • You’ll gain detailed insights into every user who reaches out to your business on social media: a social CRM gives you the ability to track and manage every social media enquiry in the same way as other email sales enquiries.
  • You’ll be able to track every stage of the customer journey: to foster long-term relationships, you need to figure out how to best serve your customers at every point in the sales funnel. By adding social metrics into the mix, you’ll be able to learn what it takes to turn drive lead generation and even turn buyers into loyal brand advocates.
  • You’ll speed up your response times to social enquiries: did you know that 45% of brands take more than five days to respond to Facebook messages? With a social CRM tool, your brand will never miss a message and will stay one step ahead of your competitors.
  • You’ll boost your brand reputation on social media: with a social CRM strategy, you’ll be able to proactively respond to any negative feedback on social media and address criticism in a productive way. Plus, you’ll be able to track sentiment about your brand online and even publicly reward loyal customers by resharing their reviews and user-generated content.
  • Your entire team gains access to every interaction users have with your brand: a social CRM tool helps to break down silos in teams and give everyone from sales to marketing teams powerful insights into your customers to strengthen these relationships.

For businesses looking to deliver stand-out experiences to their customers, adding social media into their CRM strategy is what will help you nurture and convert customers at scale.

Top tools to bring your social CRM strategy to life

The best way to implement a social CRM strategy is to take advantage of tech-driven tools and software. Keep reading to discover some of the best options on the market and how they can help your business deliver a winning social media strategy that supports your existing CRM efforts.

Social CRM tool 1: Salesforce Social Studio

As one of the leaders in the CRM space, Salesforce has a dedicated tool designed for integrating social media into your CRM strategy.

Their Social Studio platform allows you to listen, engage and publish to your social channels (from Instagram to LinkedIn) and bring your social efforts together with your sales and customer service.

Plus, you can easily track your real-time social media analytics, brand sentiment and customer engagement through one easy-to-use dashboard to see the link between your social efforts and sales.

Social CRM tool 2: Sprout Social

Another popular option for a social CRM is Sprout Social. Their social CRM tool allows teams to create lasting customer relationships with complete conversation history and a simple reply screen that speeds up response times on social media, too.

Sprout Social CRM (an extension of their social media management tool) is also designed for easy collaboration, with the ability for multiple users to view conversation history, content information and internal notes from one collaborative dashboard.

Social CRM tool 3: Nimble

A great social CRM tool for small businesses is Nimble, a tool that allows brands to build relationships, find opportunities and turn their connections into customers.

The platform easily integrates your social media connections with all other sales inboxes, giving your team access to comprehensive contact records (complete with notes and deal status updates) to ensure every social interaction is a positive one for the customer.

6 tips for a successful social CRM strategy

Ready to kick off your brand’s social CRM strategy? Let’s guide you through six expert tips to get your social CRM right.

1. Focus on the most relevant social media channels

This social CRM tip is all about quality over quantity. Rather than connecting all of your social channels at once and trying to craft a 360 social CRM strategy, your best bet is to dive into your social media analytics and audience insights.

With your social media data on hand, ask yourself these questions:

  • What social media platform is my audience most active on?
  • Which platform am I already seeing the strongest engagement from?
  • Which platform am I likely to see the strongest conversion from?

By starting your social CRM strategy with one or two platforms, you’ll be able to maximise your time and effort to drive strong results (rather than spreading yourself too thin).

2. Draw on your sales and customer service team’s expertise

The key to creating a winning social CRM strategy is this: don’t see it as an isolated marketing effort.

Instead, the best results will come from businesses who draw on and unite the expertise of their sales teams, customer service reps and marketing managers to create a comprehensive strategy.

Each of these teams will be able to weigh in with their unique knowledge to craft a social CRM strategy that effectively drives social audiences from brand discovery to loyalty.

So, make sure to break down those internal silos and bring the leads from each team into the conversation when crafting your social CRM strategy.

3. Use social monitoring to track brand mentions and conversations

With a social CRM tool, your brand has the ability to set up feeds that automatically track brand mentions, keywords as well as conversations about your business. With these tools set up, your team will easily be able to jump onto relevant conversations and offer insightful comments or answers to potential customers.

By harnessing the power of social monitoring, your business will never miss a mention of your brand or products.

Plus, if customers are asking questions about your products or services on social media, you can jump into the conversation quickly to boost brand awareness and build a positive relationship from day one. This step is key to driving conversions and helping potential leads ultimately choose you instead of your competitors.

4. Be proactive about alerting and responding to customer issues

In a similar vein, the social listening tools provided by social CRMs offer powerful opportunities for your brand to foster positive experiences with current and potential customers.

Let’s say your website goes down, your shop needs to close early for urgent repairs or you’re experiencing delays in shipping. By jumping onto your social channels and posting proactive status updates that alert customers to the issue (and explain what you’re doing to resolve it), you’ll be able to keep your customers up-to-date and informed.

Being on the front foot with customer-related issues shows that you’ve got the situation under control. Plus, it will prevent users from having a negative experience with your brand or needing to message or call your business.

5. Focus on fast response times

A key part of a winning social CRM strategy is reducing the time it takes for users to get a response from your business on social media.

In many cases, the questions or enquiries you receive are likely to be similar. So, there are a few proactive steps your business can take to cut down response times and improve the customer experience on social media:

  • Set up automatic responses: many social platforms allow your business to save a range of automatic replies to your account (Instant Replies on Facebook and Quick Replies on Instagram). When a user goes to message your business, these common questions will pop up and they will receive an instant reply from your business that you’ve crafted ahead of time.
  • Share and promote your businesses’ FAQs: whether this is on your website or social channels, make sure you have a list of clear FAQs readily available for your customers.
  • Clearly communicate your customer services hours: another practical step your business can take is to alert customers to when your team will be online and able to respond on social media. Simply outline the times and days of the week when your team is online in your social media bios. Plus, on Facebook, you can set your messaging status to ‘Away’ as well to show users there will be a delay in your response times.

6. Encourage social sharing to foster and build brand loyalty

Social media is the perfect platform for encouraging the sharing of social proof. That means a winning social CRM strategy needs to think beyond the point of conversion and consider how to keep past customers engaged with your brand.

By running user-generated content promotions and contests, you can foster brand loyalty from past customers and earn banks of powerful content too.

Try using a branded hashtag and offering a prize for users that share content aligned to a specific competition theme. Now, your brand will have a library of UGC that you can dip into and reshare to forge lasting long-term relationships with past customers (while inspiring potential customers to trust your brand, too).

So, there you have it. When it comes to creating a social media CRM strategy, the key is to see this as an integrated effort (not an add-on approach). By working together with all departments in your organisation (from sales to marketing), you’ll be able to make the most of your social CRM and foster lasting relationships that drive users from followers to customers.

Plus, with the right social CRM tool in place, you’ll be able to monitor the success of your efforts, be proactive about customer service and even boost customer loyalty and retention, too.

Photo of Kyra GoodmanKyra Goodman

Kyra is a Junior Marketing Manager and "Spicy Meme Master" at Sked Social who loves to create content. Born and raised in Hawaii, her favorite things are traveling, yoga, beaching, coffee and baseball. Connect with her on twitter at @kyra_n_goodman.

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