Strategize Before Diving Into Social CRM

by Jim Berkowitz on May 12, 2010

Here are several excerpts from an article by Sue Hildreth a Searchcrm contributor, Strategize Before Diving Into Social CRM.  Check out the complete source article for more insightful examples of how companies are approaching social CRM:

The only thing worse than doing nothing in social channels for CRM is, perhaps, doing the wrong thing.

When Nestle waded into social channels with its Facebook page, the company obviously didn’t think it would become a target for angry environmentalists and others unhappy with Nestle’s use of palm oil, which has been linked to deforestation in Indonesia. Instead of positive banter about Kit Kats vs. Nestle Crunch, Nestle’s Facebook page got floods of postings urging a boycott of Nestle products.

Which leads to lesson No. 1 in social CRM: Customers will talk back…

“In Nestle’s case, I’m not sure I would have started with a Facebook fan page right away,” comments Jacob Morgan, principal of the Chess Media Group, a social media consulting firm. “Social CRM is about building advocacy and improving the customer experience. If you’re just out there to push a marketing message or listen to your customer, you’re not really doing social CRM.”

Many channels to choose

The most commonly used social media are Facebook and Twitter, but there are plenty of other choices with different twists – YouTube, Hula and Kontain — all of which enable people to upload videos and presence-related games like GoWalla and Foursquare, as well as customer support forums that can be on a company’s own website or on Google; or even Usenet, chat rooms and “crowd sourcing” contests where users are asked to submit and vote on ideas; and, of course, blogs that allow company leaders to share their thoughts with customers and employees.

No one channel will be sufficient for all of a company’s CRM needs, said Ray Wang, partner in The Altimeter Group, a social media consultancy.

“Organizations are going to be working with multiple types of channels because social networks are going to transcend different channels,” Wang said. “Businesses will need to follow a portfolio of things — blogs, Twitter feeds, wikis, Facebook pages — a host of mediums.”

Social channels and B2B

Some companies engage in social channels in order to bolster connections with business partners, rather than with consumers. Business to business (B2B) communities have been around for several years but have taken on new momentum with the advent of new tools such as Twitter for instant communication with anyone; the LinkedIn network, for business professionals and entrepreneurs to make connections and advertise their resumes; and even Paypal and other transaction mediators, which enable faster and more secure payment for small transactions.

To help companies determine where they should start, there are many social monitoring tools on the market — some free, some not — that track keywords and company mentions on a variety of channels. By using two or three monitoring tools, and lurking on some of the more promising channels, marketers and customer service professionals get a feel for the landscape.

That data can also be collected and run through analysis software to glean some insights into how customers view companies, what these customers have in common, what other products they like, where else they hang out online, and volumes of other insights, according to Esteban Kolsky, a social media analyst and CEO of ThinkJar.

“Once you run the feedback through analytics,” Kolsky said, “you’ve created actionable insight — a summary of what your customers really want you to do.”

{ 1 comment }

Robin Dally September 27, 2010 at 1:38 am

I think a lot can be learned from the Nestle example, how business engages publicly with both negative and positive feedback is going to be increasingly important. Social CRM has the potential to usher in a new era of corporate transparency.

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