What is Social CRM?

By: Joe Bongiovanni

Social CRM has evolved from traditional CRM (Customer Relationship Management) to become a strategy that concentrates on customer engagement and interactions. The purpose of traditional CRM was to continuously move the customer through the sales funnel. This was one-way communication directed at the customer. Social CRM allows companies to better understand the potential needs of their customers by targeting and segmenting them based on data collected. Traditional CRM strategy focuses on the sales, marketing, and service/support departments to be effective. Today, Social CRM is primarily managed by Public Relations departments to keep the brand image consistent across the web. The biggest change is that Social CRM interactions and conversations are driven by the user, not the business. The new role of a business is to facilitate this digital dialogue. Despite the surge in Social Media users, only a small percentage of people actually interact on a regular basis. Furthermore, these users are using social media to connect with

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family and friends opposed to engaging with brands. There seems to be a huge disconnect between why users say they interact with a brand and the reasons businesses think they do. Also, customer advocates are normally drawn to participate and engage with brands they already feel passionate about. Many businesses incorrectly believe that engaging followers will “create” these advocates. According to IBM, the main reasons consumers reported following a business through social media was for Discounts and Making Purchases, not to stay connected with a business or be part of the community. Writing and Reading Reviews about products/services is increasingly becoming a reason to visit social media profiles. This supports the assumption that social layers will continue to have a bigger and bigger impact on search engine results in the future. As with all Local Internet Marketing initiatives, companies’ needs to stay focused on providing value to the consumer.

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