Social CRM – joining the dots for happier customers


What is Social CRM?

You could be forgiven for treating the idea of "social CRM" with a certain amount of skepticism. It's sometimes hard to distinguish the hype around social media from the genuine value it can bring. But social CRM isn't a gimmick, and it doesn't ask you to "forget everything you know" or "reinvent your business".

Social CRM simply adds a social dimension to the way you think about customers and your relationship with them.

Until now, customers' social media activity has been something of a closed book – a channel of communication that wasn't trackable, measurable, plannable or improvable. With social CRM, that's changed. By adding the critical social media channel to your existing CRM systems (New to CRM? Read our Beginner's Guide to CRM Systems .), you can combine everything you already know about each customer, prospect and lead with new information about their social media activity. And when a customer chooses to contact you via Twitter or Facebook, you can track and manage the conversation in as much detail as you would for a telephone or email enquiry. You'll be able to act faster, respond better and anticipate your customers' needs.

Why does Social CRM matter?

It’s a familiar story: the marketing department is diligently creating and publishing tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos and more – all carefully crafted to make the most of each channel and designed to encourage sharing, retweeting and customer engagement. But the audience doesn’t come.

Meanwhile, your customers are elsewhere on Facebook and Twitter, having conversations about your organisation – discussing you, recommending you, complaining about you and even trying desperately to talk to you. But they’re not getting the answers they want.

How can you bridge the gap?

That’s where social CRM comes in. A customer relationship management platform that integrates social media gives you access to the same level of insight you have for more traditional channels, plus the ability to use social tools for communicating internally. You can monitor, track and benchmark your social media communications using familiar tools, dashboards and metrics.

With social CRM you can place the customer right at the heart of your organisation. No more forcing customers to use the channel you prefer. No more losing track of issues when they change channels. You can engage and respond to customers individually and in the way they choose, without compromising your ability to track and manage communications on a global scale. You’ll have both a broad overview of your brand’s reach and a granular, detailed view of each customer interaction.

Customer service, marketing and sales all benefit from a more dynamic, complete picture of each individual customer, and can make use of social tools to communicate between themselves. You see the cost of delighting customers fall. Your customers see an organisation that listens to what they want and responds in a way that suits them, across multiple channels. Everybody wins.

We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.”

Craig Davis | J Walter Thompson
Interested in learning more about Salesforce Service Cloud’s social tools?

Customer service that puts customers first

There’s no big secret to customer service on social media – rather, it’s an opportunity to get the basics right and provide excellent responses to customers in the way they choose. Telecoms provider BT says 40% of its customer feedback originates on Twitter, and its story is far from unique.

By enabling you to track social interactions with customers using the same sophisticated tools as you use for other touchpoints, you can deliver faster, more complete resolutions to customer service cases from across your business – and that means happier customers.

But it’s not just about reacting. Using monitoring and tracking tools, social CRM can help you to identify and reward brand advocates and influencers, encouraging them to spread the word still further.

Interested in social tools in Salesforce Service Cloud?

Your customer care teams can use Social CRM to:

  • Deliver customer support via the social media networks your customers are using;
  • Interact and engage with customers in real time;
  • Talk to each other so that customers get the best help;
  • Monitor social media for complaints and resolve issues quickly;
  • Find and reward brand advocates and customers who help others.

Benefits of Social CRM for marketing

The combined promise of reduced cost and increased effectiveness is a heady one for any marketer. And while social CRM has a valuable role to play in customer services and sales, it can also revolutionise your marketing effort. It can change your understanding of brand reach and perception, while giving you access to a raft of new information about customer behaviour and opinions. Social CRM can help you deliver:

  • Greater exposure in the places where your audiences spend their time;
  • Increased engagemente and deeper relationships with customers;
  • Increased web traffic and conversions and higher search rankings;
  • High-quality inbound leads that turn into revenue faster;
  • More efficient marketing budgets with higher returns;
  • Faster marketing campaigns with better targeting.

Case study: The Financial Times builds community

The Financial Times uses social media channels including Facebook and Twitter to share breaking stories, cultivate online communities, and create deeper engagement with readers. The company also uses Marketing Cloud to monitor and engage with social customers. “Marketing Cloud lets us use social media to see how we’re doing,” says CIO Christina Scott.

Social CRM metrics: the big three

Most social media platforms will have their own versions of these three areas of measurement. Some, like Facebook, will even provide their own analytics, and your social CRM system should integrate this data to show all your information in one place.

1. Traffic and conversions from social media

  • Simple to measure and well understood
  • Beware of chasing traffic and overlooking conversion rates
  • Use conversion rates to target the best-performing platforms

2. Fans and followers

  • Remember that not all followers are active
  • Use social CRM to segment your audience into follower types

3. Participation and sharing

  • Details vary from platform to platform
  • An effective measure of customer engagement
  • Often undervalued

Companies over-value followership and under-value participation. Yes, you can go out and buy 1000 followers. But if they all ignore you from that point on, they're worthless.”

Ian Lurie | president of Portent

Making the business case for Social CRM

One of the strongest elements of the business case for social CRM is the integration of business functions it allows, with sales, marketing and customer support all able to cooperate in an infrastructure based on the individual customer. But each discipline can also expect to see its own benefits.

Sales – revenue and loyalty benefits

Sales teams can expect to see an improvement in retained and referred business, as customers become recommenders and advocates; and that leads to increased revenue. In a survey of Salesforce customers, 55% reported increased customer loyalty and 54% increased sales revenues.

Marketing – increased reach and visibility, lower costs

Marketers can use social CRM to increase reach and cut costs, while improving customer tracking and measurement. In a recent Social Media Examiner survey, 89% of respondents said social media increased their brand’s exposure,while nearly half reported that spending just 6 hours a week on social media activity reduced overall marketing costs.

Customer service – a virtuous circle of lower costs and higher satisfaction

By tracking and managing customer contacts across channels and business functions, customer service teams can deliver dramatically better service. 79% of Salesforce customers reported improved customer service, and 63% increased customer retention – demonstrating that social CRM delivers real commercial benefits.

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