Cover Story: Are You a Social CRM Native?
"Ignoring complaints, questions and negative comments in your social media channels is the biggest mistake you can make," says Jeanniey Mullen, executive vice president and chief growth officer at San Francisco-based digital magazines platform provider Zinio. "Many companies look at negative comments as bad publicity, but it's actually an opportunity to connect with your customers by working together to find a solution. Customers are posting questions in social media channels that they haven't been able to get answers for through other channels, as a last resort."
"Companies often make the mistake of employing social media only as a means of [outbound] communication—to tell the customer something," says Jeff Berry, senior director of knowledge development at Toronto-based loyalty marketing services provider LoyaltyOne. "Instead, initiatives must offer customers opportunities to participate in ways that reinforce the brand value for themselves. Successfully prompting dialogue can trigger meaningful brand engagement; which, in turn, drives subsequent transactions."
4. Which of the current social media platforms are best suited for CRM?
Answer: d. Whichever platform your customers and prospects are on
Even though some platforms may be better than others in terms of market penetration, which social media platform you use is less important than making sure your target audience is already there. Most of the major social media platforms already have a decent-sized user pool. It's up to you and your brand to leverage the capability of your platform with targeted and relevant messages.
"Determining which platform is going to be most effective for your desired outcome will largely depend on who your target audience is and where they are active," says Carter. "This is why it's important to build-out a social CRM strategy before getting started. Think like your customers, and instead of asking them, 'What do you want to do in a social media environment?,' really take time to evaluate why customers would want to follow your brand on one, all or some of these channels. It's important to understand that consumers are interacting with brands on each platform in different ways. Social is not a one-size-fits-all approach."