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5 Rarely Discussed Benefits of Using a Social CRM System

5 Rarely Discussed Benefits of Using a Social CRM System

One of the trickiest things about social media is that there are multiple platforms you need to keep up with. Just about every business should have a presence on “the big four” (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn). And for certain businesses, additional platforms like SnapChat or Pinterest might make sense.

When you’re juggling customer information that’s coming in through your website, your email, your customer service numbers, and all of your social channels, if you don’t have a system to keep it all straight, you’ll want to pull your hair out!

That’s where a customer relationship management tool (AKA, CRM) with a social component comes in. A social-friendly CRM allows you to track all brand interactions in one place. This provides tremendous value to your business.

Let me walk you through the five biggest, but least talked-about, benefits to using a CRM system with a social component.

1. Coordinate Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service

Social media ownership usually falls to your marketing team. They create your content calendar, write posts, and manage engagement. But a lot of what happens on social media is relevant to other teams within your organization, too.

When a prospect responds to an ad with a couple of detailed questions about your offer, your sales team should be looped in, because this is likely a hot lead. When a customer posts a nasty review about a bad experience, it’s your customer service team that needs to be on top of responding and de-escalating the situation.

CRMs allow you to keep all of your teams on the same page. When everyone has access to the information coming in through social media, it eliminates silos and allows your entire business to respond more effectively to the good (interested prospects!), the bad (angry customers!), and everything in between.

2. Segment Your Audiences More Effectively

Audience segmentation is the key to effective marketing. Every marketing move you make should be driven by the picture of your ideal customer, but sometimes there are important distinctions to be made within the group. When you recognize that different segments of your audience need to be approached with different marketing tactics, it allows you to increase the level of personalization they each receive, which in turn piques their interest and boosts sales.

Say, for example, you run a housewares company. While your clients obviously share a need for home goods in common, perhaps there are some specific categories of ideal customers. Maybe one group is engaged couples, who register with your business. Another might be first-time homebuyers, looking to stock up on the essentials to fill their new home.

Once you know this, you can use social insights to better target individuals who fit the bill. Social media provides you with detailed demographic information. Identify individuals in a certain age category and income bracket who are most likely to be purchasing a home soon. The more information you can gather on your prospects and customers, the better, and CRMs bring all of this relevant information together so you can create even more detailed sketches of your ideal buyer personas.

3. Move Quickly to Make the Sale or Prevent Issues

Almost 40 percent of consumers say they expect a response to their social media comments within an hour! If you’re monitoring four social platforms, in addition to the rest of your workload, it’s nearly impossible to be that lightning-fast in responding if you don’t have a platform that allows you to manage all responses from one centralized place.

Fortunately, CRMs allow you to do just that. All customer comments and reviews can be tracked through your CRM. That way, your customer service or marketing team can get responses out ASAP.

A quick response time is critical throughout the customer journey. If a prospect has a question about a specific product or service, a quick response could mean they buy from you and not your competition. Or maybe someone wants to know about your brick-and-mortar store’s holiday hours. Getting back to them right away means they’ll be more likely to stop by and make a purchase during business hours.

For those who are already customers, responding to a positive post right away can help you amplify the goodwill and get even more reach with that post. On the flip side, a speedy response to an unhappy customer’s complaint can stop it from snowballing. Plus, you’ll demonstrate to other customers watching the interaction that you really care about making things right.

4. Eavesdrop on Conversations

Have you ever wondered what people say about you when you’re not in the room? With a social CRM tool, you can monitor conversations that are happening about your brand (but not with your brand) online.

A social CRM picks up on mentions or relevant hashtags, allowing you to stay on top of how your name is coming up in others’ conversations. Maybe you catch wind of a group of super-fans who are singing your new product’s praises over on a Facebook group page. You can then join that group (where you know there are relevant prospects), plus reach out directly to thank your fans for the social media love.

Or perhaps you discover something interesting through monitoring your hashtags. Let’s say you run an artisanal jam company. You create a catchy hashtag to promote your products, and you hear word that someone’s used your hashtag on Instagram! Then you find it’s an influencer who included your jam in a recent photo about their healthy breakfast. This allows you to reach out to the influencer directly, thank them for the mention, and open up a broader dialogue.

5. Pick Up on Good or Bad Vibes

Some social media CRMs today include sentiment monitoring tools. These tools analyze posts from followers and can glean information about tone and intent.

Let’s say you run a local lunch spot, and you launch a new menu. While you haven’t gotten many direct reviews on your pages yet, the sentiment monitor picks up on the way customers are talking about your business online, and it’s not great. They don’t love the changes you’ve made, and they’re missing some of the standbys on your old menu.

When you can get a handle on this feedback early, it empowers you to course-correct before you lose any customers. Why wait for the negative reviews to start cropping up? Instead, cut issues off at the pass based on the words and tone people are using on your page.

Similarly, this tool can help you identify strengths! If you have a social media post that gets lots of great, positive engagement, you should take a closer look at what you did there. Lean into that messaging and take a similar approach in future posts to keep the good vibes flowing.

CRMs are an essential tool for any small business. They help you pull valuable customer information all into one centralized location, which in turn ensures that all of your teams have access to the data they need to deliver great results. Taking advantage of these often-overlooked benefits of CRM use can help you stand out from the competition and build strong, meaningful relationships with your customers.

6 5 Meaningful Shifts Shaping Marketing Right Now

Trends are funny. In some cases they jump up out of nowhere and demand to be noticed. In other cases, in fact in most cases, they bubble up over a long period, kick around in other industries and finally get realized by a larger group as relevant to their current way of life.

Orbiter7 via Flickr

But trends are also terribly misleading because they are often overstated and simplified and tend to focus on a tool rather than the underlying behavior. Think about when Twitter got hot. Everyone talked about the tool, but few realized that it was simply the embodiment of a way to communicate that people were looking for. Understanding that shift allowed some to take advantage of the behavior rather than the tool and this put them miles ahead of the trend.

Today I want to talk about five shifts that I see making an impact right now on both the way we go to market and the way the market comes to us.

1) Little Commitments

Generic information overload is causing a real bottleneck for marketers. We’ve been told over and over again to produce content, but now the competition for content is choking, rather than informing, our prospects.

Our prospects don’t have or won’t take the time to learn all about our great solutions even if it’s in their best interest to do so. Our job now is to offer them little pieces of information that move them ever so slightly in the direction of personalizing their experience with us.

Tools like the pop up survey from Kiss Insights, a guided content path created by using WordPress plugin Survey Funnel, a guided tour using a tool like WalkMe or the ability to present dynamically relevant content through a tool like GetSmartContent will become increasingly important as ways to filter our own content and create more personalized trust building experiences.

2) Video SEO

One of the most dramatic changes in Google’s indexing of local business pertains to video. Right now a local business has a better chance of ranking for highly relevant search terms using YouTube hosted, highly optimized videos than any other approach.

Smart marketers are serializing their most important keyword phrases and frequently asked questions using video and optimizing these videos through specific file names, descriptions, keywords and transcripts.

Using a tool like Traffic Geyser also makes it easier to spread these videos to other video sharing sites in order to garner further traffic and links.

3) Visual Scanning

One needs looks no further than the current hype of Pinterest or the $1Billion dollar sale of photo sharing site Instagram to witness the visual scanning behavior impact. These sites soared in popularity in large part due to information overload and the stimulation caused by visual interest.

It is far easier to look at a thousand pictures than to consume a thousand words.

To me this doesn’t simply mean jump on the Pinterest bandwagon. It signals a behavior that must be adopted rather than a tool. We must start offering visual scanning of our brands by using images in all that we do.

Get in the habit of taking photos of your world and your customer’s world each and every day.

When we post a status update or amplify a recent blog post on Facebook upload an image and describe the image rather than simply using the blog post thumbnail. In addition to added visual impact, Facebook favors images over most other content and will show your post to more followers.

Use a tool like Postagram that allows you to turn Instagram photos into higher quality photo postcards. Imagine the impact of meeting with a client, snapping a photo and sending them a personalized photo thank you card. Or what about sending your client a postcard of the product you’re building just for them?

4) The Digital Persona

Market research folks have long talked about uncovering the rare combination of factors that lead to fully understanding what a market needs, wants, and believes. Much of this information can be gleaned from demographic and psychographic research, but few things have produced more relevant research into the actual demonstrated behavior of a market than the trail of clues our prospects leave every day online.

In many cases researches now have verified proof that what markets say and what they do online are not always the same thing and this important digital aspect must be one that is considered in the make up of our ideal customer profile.

At the very least we must add browser plugins like Rapportive that give us social media data on the people we interact with to our communication toolset.

We must make our CRM systems understand social behavior and score, nurture and move our leads forward using this data.

We must start to create prospect and client personas that include digital behavior clues.

5) ROBO

Few things have had a more dramatic impact on local business than the behavior to research online to buy offline (ROBO) that is practiced by an approaching 90% of all adults as a way to find local products and services.

What this means is that we must expand the way we think about our website far beyond the means to provide information. Our website must become a tool to drive online searchers and visitors offline into our stores, into our presentation and into our Meetups.

Our websites must feature local call to action tools such as downloadable coupons, samples and trials. We must add and use click to call, schedule or chat functionality that allows for instant engagement.

We must think of ways to create our own offline communities and build these communities with online tools such as LinkedIn Groups, MeetUps or even creating our own leads and referral groups using a tool like LocalBase.

Each new and accepted tactic brings with it corresponding changes in behavior and impact that can only be seen by paying close attention to the underlying shifts rather than focusing on the latest hype.