Social CRM: The next big gold rush?

Beyond dealing with my extended friends in my own network I have often wondered what the best way is for brands to deal with what they might call ‘friends’ in their growing and presumably far more extensive and complex networks. So I’m sat here at the Technology for Marketing & Advertising show about to witness what Sage have to say about how they approach this growing area, which to a lot of people is the next gold rush: Social CRM

Presenting their current case study for SAGE the key thing is to have common components across networks and through the technology. Using buzz words like interoperability the speaker says that monitoring the language used and when and why the ‘purchase’ happened is the key thing to tying it all together. How do they do this? Well of course it’s by integrating their own proprietary technology! Hmmm

It is true that connecting sources of information makes the experience richer, I’d certainly agree with that, but what I really want to see is how. Maybe it’s the geek in me, but what information can you gather from say a tweet that starts the process of building a CRM entry around that individual. What value is applied? How does that CRM entry get linked through to lifetime customer service?

Our SAGE speaker mentions the term ‘vendor love’ which to some I’m sure is a big turn off. Amazingly the example used is not just a response from corporate Twitter account to the user but a written letter follow up! How they linked up the user with their home address was never explained, and more importantly what they thought the impact of the use of this kind of personalised approach might have been (I’d be pissed off that they’d found my postal address) was also no explained. This unfortunately lost my interest in the seminar.

However the talk went on to feature some dimensions for their own social media use. They cited topics as a key area for interaction. So talking specifically about things rather than generalising works well for SAGE. Traditional media is also a huge influence (no surprise there), but they did point out that directing people to content once it’s been created created is key, meaning community management is an essential task.

In regards to managing time when dealing with social media the presenter states that (as an author) he typically interacts with  less than 50 people at a time so there is less of a worry about workload for those interested. For him frequent interaction is just with a few people (2-6) and too much interaction effort can cause a tipping point and turn people off. However any assets created can bring users back over time.

Disappointingly our speaker had just one slide about aggregating user data into CRM. I guess I should have expected that I’d want to know a lot more of the technical side of things. What value can you apply to a Twitter user in CRM? DO you add their followers to give them more value? Can you use Klout or Social Oomph to weight them? Does this update automatically? How do you match a different username on Facebook with one on Twitter? …time to get my hand up…

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