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Social CRM: Do you need it? And how to track it…

We understand that social is now truly enforced into personal and business lives. In the previous articles we’ve said that social should be at the forefront of any marketer’s mind. However, many companies still don’t understand how to create a social CRM, let alone how to evaluate one.

The first challenge when producing a social CRM is to create a valuable strategy. Ask yourself why a community would want to interact with your business – why do you need social? It may be to gain more brand awareness, to launch a new product or gain followers. However, the ultimate objective of any social presence is to gain sales and leads to nurture.

Social requires a balance: you must clearly define what’s in it for both consumer and business. This means presenting an articulated business value. You have to understand that customers have become very selfish, with a ‘take, take, take’ mentality. They want value from social media – to be heard and respected. Starbucks, for example, asks their customers to create a new flavour, but doesn’t deliver a response from the company. They could give them a story around not going ahead with some flavours at least, or why they chose to produce others.

Once you’ve cracked your strategy and your social CRM is up and running, it’s crucial to measure the results to understand the ROI. A study from Gartner shows that astonishingly, 56% of companies don’t measure the effectiveness of their social methods, basically because they don’t know how to. By 2013 there will be no excuse: $1 billion will be spent on social software, and as the number of social networking sites grows, so will the number of services created to measure, track and monitor them.

Most social networking sites now provide analytic software, which enables you to analyse consumer profiles and track activity on the site. Through tracking you can see conversion statistics which will give a true indication of ROI.

Here are a few social media tools you should be using:

  • EditFlow is a plugin for WordPress, a content management system. This is beneficial when a business owner has an editorial team posting to the blog on a regular basis, as the plugin gives you a calendar snapshot of the blog content.
  • ArgyleSocial is a tool to monitor Facebook and Twitter activity on a single dashboard. The main benefit is that it allows social media managers to delegate tasks to the team. Another is that it offers easy reporting on your social media effort, producing a clear ROI.
  • A third tool is TweetReach, which does exactly what is says: it shows how far your tweets have reached. It will break down how many people your message reaches and how many tweets it took. It is very effective for justifying your social media campaign results.

Analysing statistics enables you to learn from your campaign, and re-direct it if necessary. It will give you a clear indication of who is interacting with your social media, what they are viewing, where they are coming from and who they are sharing it with. The more information you have about your customers, the more depth you can give to your profile,  creating a marketing message that will better appeal to your campaign demographic.