In today's hyper social world, customers are likely to voice a complaint or offer a compliment about your product, service or business on Twitter or Facebook. And woe to the organization that does not acknowledge or respond to that Facebook or Twitter post promptly.
Indeed, today, it is difficult to separate social media management from customer relationship management (CRM)--hence the increasing number of social CRM services. But just having a social CRM offering is not enough. Just like any technology, you have to first pick a customer engagement and management solution that is right for your organization and create a strategy and guidelines around using it.
To help you devise a successful social CRM strategy, CIO.com queried dozens of CRM, social CRM and social media experts. Here are their top 17 tips.
1. Make sure you have a good platform for conducting social CRM. "Select a comprehensive social media management platform with rich listening, monitoring and engagement capabilities," says Meg Bear, vice president of Product Development at Oracle Social Cloud.
"Your social platform should also integrate seamlessly with other key enterprise applications like sales, marketing, service and commerce for a holistic approach that covers all customer touch points," she says. "It's a customer-centric world and your technologies should be connected with the customer at the center. No more one-off, point solutions."
2. Make sure you have the right resources."Social is an unprecedented opportunity to deliver great service, but it is also a potential source of frustration for your customers if your team is not equipped to solve problems," says Justyn Howard, founder and CEO, Sprout Social, a social media management and engagement platform.
"Just as consumers have grown impatient with phone trees and hold time, there is growing frustration when social help requests are mismanaged," Howard says. "A common approach to social is to put marketing and PR professionals behind the wheel, but if they are not equipped to solve specific problems, the efforts can do more harm than good."
3. Identify and engage your social influencers."Use social media tools like Simply Measured or Peak Analytics to identify who is driving the most conversation about your brand," says Katya Constantine, founder, Digishopgirl Media. Then "reach out to [those loyal users] and build a managed relationship with them."
4. Reward loyal customers. "For those engaging exclusively with your brand on social media, create a client loyalty code to retain those customers, a prospect discount code to entice them to buy, and reward positive feedback with handwritten notes and snail-mailed brand goodies," says Stacey Acevero, social media manager at cloud-based marketing provider Vocus.
5. Use list and group features. "The big three (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) make this easy," says Acevero. "For example, create (private) lists on Twitter in these categories: Clients, Prospects Who Have Considered Us, Positive Feedback from Clients, and Desired Clients or Influencers. Add people accordingly, and create social campaigns to keep each segment engaged."
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.