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28 March 2012
For years, the virtues of customer relationship management have been extolled. CRM is a vital tool for businesses looking to keep their current customers happy while also taking action to acquire new business for themselves. CRM software has been highly beneficial in this regard, allowing companies to track progress of sales, as well as keep on top of their customer data, carrying out marketing activities and generate reports on what they have done.
Now, social media can also be used by companies looking to improve their CRM and make their businesses more successful. This article takes you through how CRM and social media relate to each other, as well as how they can help you to increase brand loyalty.
Keeping up with the Joneses
More than half a billion internet users now have a Facebook account, and hundreds of millions more have got a Twitter account. Elsewhere, sites such as LinkedIn are hugely popular and blogs are also considered a must-have for any company trying to cut it online.
The popularity of social media among web users means that lots of companies are now getting in on the act – online brand has never been so important, and statistics suggest that rather than going to the Yellow Pages as in the past, 90% of people now go online to look for business information. This means that if you are trying to build your client base, you cannot ignore the internet.
In 2010, social media sites also accounted for 22% of web use overall – a clearly massive figure, highlighting the markets and number of people you could potentially connect with. Social media has benefits no matter how large or small your company; either way, it can help you grow links between you and new customers and also enable you to offer better service to existing customers.
Of course, using social media sites in their own right is beneficial for companies willing to put the time in to make it work. However, you could glean even more benefit by integrating your social media and CRM solutions. After all, you will have a much better understanding of your social media base if you are able to analyse important information.
Increasing brand loyalty
All of this can help you to build brand loyalty. This is all to do with customer service: if you already use a CRM System, you will have a good idea about how this works – providing a high quality service and keeping on top of all your information so your customers are satisfied and more likely to use you again.
It is a similar situation with social media. If you are able to utilise platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to interact with the people who use your business, it helps to build a human face for your professional image. Technology might be amazing for businesses in some respects, but there is still a lot to be said for human contact. Arguably, social media helps you to get the best of both worlds.
If people feel as though your company cares, and if they are able to contact you and get a response whenever they need one, they are more likely to have a positive image of your company. It stands to reason that they would be more likely to make use of a company that they think of positively rather than one they see as aloof and distant. Managing your customer relationships carefully by utilising all avenues available to you can help ensure you’re seen as one of the good guys.
This has the potential to bring significant benefits in an often challenging marketplace. We are often told about the challenges facing businesses, from red tape to reduced consumer spending power. This means that your CRM business solutions matter more than ever as a positive relationship with your customers really can make all the difference between business – and going out of business.
Also, in a situation where new business is perhaps thin on the ground and hard to come by, inspiring brand loyalty among your current customers is even more important. Social media can also be utilised by your customers to tell their friends what they think of your service, and even a simple Tweet can make a difference – so if people are going to be talking about you on social media, it’s wise to make sure they’re saying something nice!
Overall, social media and CRM go hand in hand like payroll software and HR as they are, in many ways, two sides of the same coin. Traditional CRM software and methods are still extremely useful in their own right, but when integrated with social media, they could be even better.
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