"Through 2018, 50% of organizations using social for CRM will fail to demonstrate any business impact, leading to the deprioritization of social media programs."
This ominous prediction from a recent Gartner report (available to clients) might lead you to abandon implementing a social CRM strategy. If you read between the lines, however, it's not about social CRM strategy not working- it's that your business simply isn't doing it right. In fact, a social CRM strategy properly executed can show big returns for marketing, sales, and customer service when tracking the right metrics.
The problem with classic metrics like engagement, reach, and especially brand awareness, is measuring their ROI against the bottom line. It's hard to measure the impact that social media can have on the business, which, according to IT research firm Gartner, is effecting the way that businesses strategize their social media efforts.
If you want to use social media for your bottom line in 2018, you need to implement a social CRM strategy that works. How? Here are four ways that your small business can use social CRM and the tools that'll help you create a measurable social CRM strategy that contributes to your business in tangible ways.
Despite its dire predictions, Gartner outlines four business areas in which you can use a social CRM strategy to make a business impact.
Marketing: Engage with customers, use targeted social campaigns, and use aggregate social media to gain insight into customers and their buying potential.
Customer service: As part of the customer engagement hub, use social media to answer customer queries and create a support network where customers can help each other.
Sales: Use social selling as a way to scout and reach out to prospects.
Social commerce: Use social networks to drive eCommerce transactions, and leverage brand advocates and user reviews to increase product sales.
Below, I'll go through each business area and the tools that'll help you with these strategies.
Because social media is most closely associated with marketing, there are plenty of ways that the marketing department can use social CRM to create a business impact. Let's take marketing analytics as one example.
By aggregating social media data about what users are saying about your brand, your product, or your competitors, you can get a real sense of brand perception and sentiment, as well as leads on potential clients and prospects. The Guardian used social media monitoring to target 18 to 24 year olds during the 2015 UK election, resulting in an 18 percent increase in mobile usage to the Guardian website for this demographic and a 645 percent increase in mentions.
Sending targeted campaigns is another use case for a social CRM strategy. By having an ultra-focused campaign, you can track click-through metrics and use tracking to see how many people reach your conversion targets based on these campaigns. Glu Mobile, a game developer, used targeted campaigns on Instagram to attract women aged 18 to 45 to download their game Diner Dash, resulting in a 39 percent increase over their previous campaigns.
Tool: Hootsuite is a social media publishing and management tool for tracking mentions, scheduling, and publishing content. The big kicker is its analytics features, which let you track and measure key metrics including engagement, followers, and reach on social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Check out some other social media management tools.
In order to stay active in the customer engagement hub, you need to be monitoring and answering customer service requests on social media. This not only helps with your customer service efforts, but also builds trust and brand loyalty among your customers. Customers have grown to expect timely responses, and social media is one of the easiest ways to provide them with quick answers.
Beauty brand Ipsy used their already engaged social community on Facebook and Instagram to help with its customer service efforts, as well as engage in online beauty discussions, leading to a 65 percent decrease in response time.
Tool: Conversocial, the tool used by Ipsy to help prioritize its customer support on social media, is a customer engagement tool for resolving social and mobile customer requests. It lets you organize and prioritize social posts, route conversations to agents, and shows real-time dashboards to keep your team on top of requests.
Check out some other customer service apps with social media integration.
Social media is one place where sales people could afford to spend more time. During both the prospecting and contacting stage, social media can become an indispensable tool. The researching stage helps identify potential prospects based on their profiles, and can be especially useful for B2B when using LinkedIn.
The contacting stage can also be leveraged using social media as a soft touchpoint for connecting with potential customers or clients. When these social media networks are connected to your CRM, it'll become even easier to track them (and your results) through your sales pipeline.
Tool: Social selling starts on social media, but it's important to have a CRM that integrates with social media platform—including Twitter and LinkedIn—to be able to track your prospects.
CRMs like HubSpot CRM, Zoho CRM, and amoCRM all have social media integrations so that you can create and track prospects from social media within your CRM. You can also use a prospecting tool such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator (or just LinkedIn itself) to help find the right leads.
Check out some other CRMs that integrate with social media.
Social commerce helps drive sales for online products on social media by utilizing content created by other people, also known as user-generated content (or UGC).
This can be things such as showcasing positive customer reviews written on third-party review sites (like GetApp), or using content created by brand advocates or influencers that help promote your brand. (You can also set up social media stores using "buy" buttons on Twitter or Instagram, but companies have seen mixed results with these).
Calvin Klein's #mycalvins campaign is an example of user generated content done right. The company asked people to post a photo with the line "I ______ in #MyCalvins", filling in the blanks with their own experiences. The campaign, which saw normal users and celebrities joining in on Instagram, earned them millions of new followers, and boosted engagement by 4.5 million interactions.
Tool: A tool like Yotpo can be used to find and leverage user reviews and social media posts about your brand. You can use it to curate content, or to find loyal customers and clients to write reviews. Its integrations with Facebook, Instagram, and Google help you leverage posts from these sites in order to get the most from your users.
Check out some other tools for referral marketing.
Gartner predicts that "by 2019, we will see more people using mobile messaging apps than using social media for customer support." If, however, companies start creating a social CRM strategy with proven ROI, that prediction might be thrown off track. Think twice before downgrading your social media strategies in 2018, and instead, look at how you might be able to optimize your strategy to get the biggest bang for your bottom line.