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“What’s your social media strategy?”
This is now the burning question across all consumer-facing industries.
Righty so, it seems. One would hardly want to open new channels to their customers without being able to understand and communicate the benefit to doing so. An article in the Harvard Business Review asked readers this very question, pressing businesses to choose which of their business functions should exploit social media, and how.
So what then, one might ask, is the difference between a social media strategy and Social CRM?
Here’s one way to describe it. If a social media strategy aims to enhance a customer-facing business function, then Social CRM’s aim is to enhance your organisation’s entire customer focus. What sets it apart from conventional CRM is that it is “a strategy for stewardship of the customer relationship, not management”. Put differently, customer engagement is no longer about reacting to your customers’ stated wants and needs - it’s about how well you can anticipate their revealed preferences.
Part 2 of the IBM Institute of Business Value whitepaper ‘From social media to Social CRM‘ makes the case that if the customers are now in control of the relationship, businesses need to adapt and engage with their customers differently. Ian Wong discusses just how smart today’s consumer has become, and how this is visibly transforming the consumer-business relationship.
Social CRM will drive multiple business functions from marketing and sales to product development, recruitment and internal collaboration. The key is to ensure that all social media investments are accountable to an enterprise strategy. So if, for example, your enterprise strategy is to ‘know your customer’, then each investment in social media is to be accountable to and measured against how, precisely, this goal is being achieved.
Herein lies the challenge to building a Social CRM. One of the key concerns of survey respondents was their ability to establish an ROI strategy for social media. Being such a new field, there is little to no consensus about what to measure and which methodology to use. Capturing and measuring value provides an invaluable feedback loop that is crucial to ensuring that your strategy is successful and sustainable. Being able to identify and measure the right variables will likely determine the success of your Social CRM.
Looking forward, companies must now start to blur the lines between their customer-facing functions. Customer care, marketing, sales, product development and recruitment initiatives will now begin to feed and thrive from the success of one another. Companies will also aim to measure and capture value from their social media investments. Improving ROI and mitigating risks with customer analytics and insights will serve to enhance this capability. These measures will be held to account against the organisation’s enterprise strategy, and can be used to build a predictive model and to robustly test business hypotheses.
Following these steps and tying social media investments to your business strategy will bolster customer value and the organisation’s entire customer focus. The question you might then begin to ask would be: “Which social media strategies will benefit my Social CRM?”
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