How to Implement an Effective Social CRM Strategy

By Ciler Ay Tek

Social media has revolutionized the way friends and family connect with one another, and it’s changed the way they engage with brands as well. Because it’s so easy for consumers to openly discuss and spread their opinions on brands, products and services, it’s increasingly important for companies to focus their efforts on effective social customer relationship management (CRM) online.

A dedicated social CRM team helps you manage your brand’s reputation as well as reach prospective customers and ensure that current customers are happy. If you’re trying to develop your brand online, don’t neglect implementing a social CRM strategy!

Prepare your social CRM team

Before you do anything online, prepare your CRM team on how they will interact with consumers. It’s a good idea to develop a style guide that details the tone, voice and guidelines for communication. You can also develop preliminary hashtags and keywords to track for consumer outreach.

If you’re just beginning to establish a presence on social media, decide on one channel to focus your efforts on. Different platforms have advantages and disadvantages; Facebook offers a wide audience and customizable pages, while Twitter is a fast-paced environment where customers will air their grievances should an issue with your brand arise. It’s a good idea to choose a platform based on your niche (for example, an art gallery is a natural fit for Instagram) and where your customers are most active.

Set Up Community Management Tools

No matter what platform you intend to focus on, make sure it’s easy for customers to contact you. Include contact options in your bio or “about me” section, including an email address, phone number and invitation to reach out via the platform (such as private messages). This ensures your customer can immediately contact you in the way that works best for them.

You will also need to decide on a community monitoring tool such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck is a great Twitter-owned app for managing your account, while Hootsuite integrates with a variety of platforms.

Begin Community Monitoring

Keep an eye out for any mentions of your brand or its products. This ensures you remain cognizant of customers’ needs, and you’ll be able to deal with a problem promptly should one arise. You should also follow leaders in your industry to stay on top of trends that you might be keen to act on.

Respond to all engagement, whether they be positive or negative. Customers speaking positively about your brand will appreciate a response from you because it shows that you’re listening and interested in what they have to say. Answering customers’ problems and negative feedback, meanwhile, shows that you care about customer satisfaction and places confidence in your brand.

That said, you may need to prioritize the issues that you will respond to. Prioritize complaints from someone with a large audience; when you publicly express your commitment to set things right with them, you’ll gain exposure to their audience that demonstrates how your brand is quick to handle issues. If someone is being negative about the brand, don’t shy away from engagement but instead direct them to private channels to discuss the matter further, like email or direct message.

CRM Shouldn’t Just Be Work

Remember, social media is about connecting. Do more than just “like” customers’ posts or follow a customer service script when problems arise — have fun! Approach positive engagement with a sense of humor, much like Taco Bell’s social media voice does. Doing so humanizes your brand and demonstrates that you understand your target audience well. Especially sassy comebacks can also encourage consumers to share your content, like this awesome burn from the Merriam-Webster dictionary that put Twitter in a frenzy for an entire day and garnered press attention.

Analyze Data to Streamline Social CRM

Be sure to regularly check how many high-priority situations you were able to deal with within a given period, as well as how long it took to do so. This helps you graph your productivity and efficiency. For example, did many users report the same issue? If so, it’s worth coming up with a plan on how to respond to the problem, communicate the plan to customers and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Don’t Forget Brand Reputation Management

It’s an unfortunate truth that when you put yourself out there, you must expect negative engagement from consumers. All engagement should be viewed as an opportunity to strengthen your brand, but you may come across an unexpected PR disaster or coordinated effort from trolls to ruin your brand reputation.

As a team, come up with likely disaster scenarios and discuss the course of action to be taken by employees. One common social media crisis is when an employee mistakenly posts an insensitive or controversial comment under a brand’s account. You may also anticipate your channels being hacked. How will you respond? Act out these scenarios with your team to ensure such situations can be fixed promptly.

Social CRM also requires that you remain vigilant of comments made to your posts. Community management tools, and often social media platforms themselves, have comment moderation features that allow you to ensure that discussions on your pages are free from abuse, profanity and spam.

Smart Moderation is an excellent tool for streamlining comment moderation, automatically blocking inappropriate posts within the minute that they’re published. With Smart Moderation, you don’t need to worry about reading through each and every comment; instead, you can focus solely on those that meet your community’s standards and put your social CRM efforts to good use.

October 31, 2016November 16, 2016


Originally published at blog.smartmoderation.com on October 31, 2016.