Using CRM Data to Improve Social Engagement

You can learn a lot from marketing and social media practitioners in virtually any industry. Today’s post focuses on how to use CRM data to better cross promote your products, services, and content (a.k.a. “Social Engagement”). Although our guest author, Vincent Clarke, uses this approach for a promotional products business, the key points are useful in a range of real world scenarios. Give it a read and see what I mean.

Social Engagement Using CRM Data

In only a few short years, social media has changed the entire way we view customer engagement. It isn’t just a trend or a short-lived craze anymore. It is now a legitimate business strategy that allows you to develop strong relationships with customers and do so with clear-cut marketing goals in mind.

The whole idea of a social engagement strategy is based on the idea of cross-promotion and shared content. You should incorporate social data into customer relationship management (CRM) and use it in a few ways.

For example, our company uses CRM data to identify when customers when there are at their happiest point in the buying cycle—when their flash drives and packaging have just been delivered. Because we know the time of delivery, we can then reach out to them on social media, engage them, and encourage them to share pictures of their purchase with their networks.

Similarly, your business could encourage customers to talk about your products or services in return for discounts or exclusive trial offers. This would improve your brand visibility and help build trust with your target audience.

In other words, using CRM data to improve your social engagement allows you to create a more niche-specific relationship with your customers that would promote the company as being genuinely helpful and resourceful, while increasing your visibility within their network.

You’re basically developing a better overall experience for the people that are really buying and naturally advertising your products and services. Implementing this kind of social engagement through use of CRM data will drastically improve your brand loyalty and overall reputation.

Here we will discuss more about how we can use CRM data for social engagement along with some tips and tricks to help you get started. If you’ve had any positive or negative learning experiences with social CRM, please share them with us in the comments section.

Social CRM

A relatively new business term, social CRM is the complete integration of social media and client information in order to build a more significant relationship with your customers. This goes well beyond just adding new contacts to your CRM system. You need to draw conclusions from social feedback while identifying patterns of client behavior and compile that into customer profiles as well.

Every comment, like, pin, tweet, or share collected from social media helps you make meaningful improvements to your products, services, and marketing strategy. It’s possible that with a growing fan base your company will find it much more difficult and time consuming to constantly monitor the amount of data generated from your social media accounts. Others will find it hard to quantify just how social media would relate back to conversions and sales. This is perfectly normal.

Remember that social CRM is still very much a new idea. It still hasn’t had the opportunity to become extremely well known in the business world. But the inevitable fact remains that marketing is continuing to move away from content exposure to rely on community value.

Social Metrics

Much like the research and analysis you put into gathering customer data from internal surveys and point-of-sale inquiries, you’ll also have to develop a highly efficient way to gather social data for your CRM system as well.

Software platforms that track Social Metrics allow you to analyze customer trends from a variety of different angles. You could determine you customer’s other likes and search patterns. You could distinguish between regional engagement and international communities. You can compile lists on how active your followers are and how popular they’ve become on their own social profiles.

The main challenge is making the time to establish either a dedicated team or software system to compile this data for you in a useful way.

I’d recommend having a specific team dedicated to analyzing and reporting these metrics. This will make your social outreach more personal and insightful, and you’ll have team members that grow as social communicators. Among the most popular tools for this type of activity are WebTrends and SumAll. Each offers a pretty good social engagement system. There are also a ton of other software programs that collect specific social metric information such and virality and keyword analysis.

The main idea to remember is that attracting customers through social media and improving brand exposure through the medium is only a temporary achievement. Your real goal is to create a proper social CRM system that can change your entire marketing strategy in the long run.

Social Intuition

Social CRM is growing incredibly fast and as a result, it’s also constantly improving itself. There are tons of new social sites sprouting up where people could be potentially spending their time sharing your content. You’ll also find that activity between the largest social communities change all the time, drifting from Facebook groups to Twitter hashtags in the blink of an eye.

Depending on your business, your niche, and your content strategy, social networks will work for you in different ways. LinkedIn is an excellent resource for B2B sales, while Pinterest is great platform for consumer sales targeting a female demographic. Where your focus will lie will depend on your business needs.

It’s your job to anticipate where your audiences spend the most of their time and how you can explore that medium in order to gather useful information for your marketing and sales. There will always be some new social metric software or a new way to analyze your social CRM data. Make sure that you stay intuitive to these trends and focus your efforts on what will benefit your company the most.

Author Bio

Vincent Clarke is an Inbound Marketing Analyst for USB Memory Direct, a B2B promotional products company that engages their customers using Social CRM.

Social CRM Image Courtesy of Sean MacEntee via flickr