We sat down with a number of industry experts for this month's "Are You a Social CRM Native?" best practices quiz to garner deep insights into deploy social media for customer relationship management. Experts like Wendy Montes de Oca. In addition to having almost 20 years of marketing and media experience and writing our Muscle Marketing blog, she has also worked with Fortune 500 companies and runs her own consulting marketing firm, Precision Marketing and Media. She is the author of Content Is Cash: Leveraging Great Content and the Web for Increased Traffic, Sales, Leads and Buzz (opens as a pdf). Here's what she had to say.
Target Marketing: What mistakes are companies making in their social media CRM strategies?
Wendy Montes de Oca: Social marketing is not just for acquisition, but can also be leveraged for customer relationship management and bonding. I believe companies should be asking themselves how they can best use this platform to engage with customers. I think tactically, what works for some companies may not work for others. Any direct response online marketer will tell you, you have to know your target audience and also test. Social marketing may not be a comfortable medium for some demographics so some trial and error may occur.
TM: What CRM activities is social media best used for today?
WMO: I believe talking to your social media fans and not at them is always good. Mixing up your messages and mixing up the ways you deliver your messages. Asking questions. Making comments. Sharing thoughts. Showing your sense of humor. This is a great venue to let your audience see a different, more human side of you.
TM: What's the most common mistake companies make when it comes to reaching out to their customers using social media?
WMO: I don't think there's an across-the-board "good" or "bad" tactic. Well, I take that back ... spamming is always bad. So anyone using social media for just uploading useless, blatant, self-serving promotions, is social spamming, and that defeats the purpose of interaction and engagement.
TM: Which of the current social media platforms are best suited for CRM?
WMO: Personally, I think Facebook is the best—it has the most exposure, customer awareness, and universal appeal ... it's the one your customers would likely look for you under. It also has the most capabilities as far as communication tools and apps, and allows way more contextual content than Twitter (where the character limitations allows "sound bite" like posts). Google+ is still under the radar with most folks. And LinkedIn is viewed by many (whether accurate or not) as a more "professional" social media network. Pinterest is gaining momentum, but has fewer capabilities than Facebook.
TM: What's most likely to change about social media and CRM in the next couple of years?
WMO: Social media is always evolving, so that's hard to say. They'll probably be more players in the marketplace, with more ways to communicate. The folks at Facebook are, in my opinion, the leaders in this endeavor. A new app seems to be popping up every month. They really seem to be ahead of the curve with ongoing ways to leverage social media.
Caitlin Moriarity is a freelance technology and business author who writes about social media, cloud computing and mobile technology, among other subjects.