Social CRM meets social communication
Social CRM meets social communication is a process part of Customer Lifecycle Management. For those who have not read the post Social CRM, I highly recommend to do so at least after this post.
The current post will show the points of contact between social CRM and social communication and will deliver general insights into social communication and social networking.
Social CRM vs. social communication
I have to agree: The title is strange as social CRM uses social communication as an integral part of the customer lifecycle management approach.
Still, social CRM uses social communication as a means to stay in touch with specific contacts by integrating social profiles and messaging options of social networks in addition to classic emails.
Everything is centered around person-to-person communication with the clear target to create sales and improve selling.
We understand social communication as a broader approach of communication that covers content marketing, too. To highlight the most important social communication types, I want to add this list:
- Social networks with person-to-person communication that is typically not used for direct sales
- Content marketing directed to interest groups using social media
- Brand marketing through content marketing using social media
- Employer branding through content marketing and satisfaction platforms using social media
- Interest based email marketing in various forms
- Webinars and free trainings
- Social support
The question might now be: Why is that social communication?
A widely accepted definition of social communication is bound to the character of this kind of communication:
It shall be informative, creates value to the reader, is not directly targeted against product sales and is completely meant to serve the customer and build trust.
Social wraps the idea that vendors want to help customers and take care of their interests.
Reality is still alive
If we like it or not: In the end each company must earn money. And that is done with sales.
So, there must be a bridge between being social, communicating social, selling social and even delivering social support.
This bridge is the intersection between inbound marketing, social communication, social networking and social CRM or classic CRM.
The funnel from an unknown to a serviced customer often passes at least some of the listed social communication pillars:
In inbound marketing social communication helps us to convert unknown IP-profiles into named contacts, often by using landing pages we are redirected to from content on social media platforms.
Latest at this stage social communication has helped us to attract attention and interest – but there is a clear trend to be seen that inbound vendors try to enhance their process chain by social CRM features.
Another form of social commmunication are informative updates through email to gain and to prove competence, like the service drip does. This is social communication, too, even so it is also some kind of direct marketing.
Once connected on social media like Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or others where topic and content is the focus, we can communicate social through content, redirect others to our landing pages or interact through communication about posts.
All this helps to build trust and a feeling of being personally connected. Social media is the content backbone for all social communication and relationship activities around us.
An even more personal level of contact is often established when a Twitter follow or a facebook like leads to a connection on Linkedin or XING. Even though both networks have been very focused on person-to-person connections, the trend to enhance people’s profiles with content is enormous. If you look at the developments on Linkedin to combine personal profile and content and brand marketing, it is easy to see that social networks try to gain more share in the social communication intersections mentioned above.
Well, if all others have done a good job, social CRM is the handy place to manage all person-to-person communications over the available communication channels. Elegant systems offer the option to have all communications bundled in one social communication stream.
If we look at the described funnel, it gets clear that social communication has become the backbone of a lot of disciplines. And the landscape of tools starts to integrate everything into handy suites that make our lives a lot easier.
The drawback of all this is of course, that we are still flooded with information and do so ourselves with our prospects.
With everybody informed about everything and with tool chains that cover inbound, social communication, social networks, social media, (social) CRM and support making customers more transparent than ever before the question left for me is: If “mee too” becomes everybody’s slogan, how can we differentiate in the future?
I personally believe that some day we will find out, that we have to really talk to people. That we must visit them, shake hands and that sympathy and empathy will rule sales again. Like it has always been.