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Social CRM: Buzzword or Buzz Worthy?

October 01 2012

For such a hot topic, "social CRM" is certainly a little vague. Is it a gimmick, another in the long line of technology buzzwords? Or is it truly an important evolution in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology?

What Is Social CRM?

CRM is customer relationship management. So, what is social CRM, after all? The answer is going to be different for each person you ask. The general consensus seems to be that social CRM elevates the traditional CRM function of organizing and facilitating client communication by enabling interaction with clients across the additional channel of social media.

So what does this mean for the CRM technology you use? Can it be considered "social CRM" if it syncs your contacts with your social media accounts? If it loads Facebook posts or Tweets into a contact's record? If it allows you to Tweet or update your status from within the application itself? Perhaps – but at this point, it's more about the philosophy than about the implementation.

How prevalent is social CRM today? According to a recent survey cited by MarketingChartsMarketingCharts, 16% of those who responded to the survey are currently using a social CRM with another 21% saying that they plan to.

social crm chart

Ask the Experts

We talked to some of the leading minds in CRM technology to get their take.

Brandon Wise, Wise Agent
"I think Contact Relationship Management has always been about having optimized tools to help create long-lasting connections. The Social Media Revolution has provided for huge advancements in the ease of building relationships and has become a major factor in personal and business contact relationship management.

"Wise Agent is hard at work continuing our integration with the many social media platforms available. Today, Wise Agent gives you more than just an address book to view your clients; we want you to have an overview of each person's whole story. Our client summary page will show you all your contacts' information, along with their picture, social media Klout score, most recent Facebook status update, last three Tweets, last few blogs posted to their website, and all of their notes, birthdays, anniversaries, and whatever else you need. This is just the beginning; I think we will continue to see the traditional CRM transform and mesh with the social CRM."

Learn more about Wise Agent at www.WiseAgent.comwww.WiseAgent.com.

Eric Stegeman, Tribus
"CRMs are designed to help agents stay in touch and remain top-of-mind. Social in CRM really means placing all of the information that helps REALTORS® engage with clients in the same place they can find all their other information. By keeping up with personal and professional changes on social media, REALTORS® can achieve what I call 'engineered serendipity,' providing a well-timed phone call or email in response to social triggers.

"According to notable social anthropologist Robin Dunbar, the average person can really only manage 150 relationships at a time. Social CRMs take this to a whole new level. Tribus Labs has been working on Project Dunbar for some time. We're getting social just right and, while keeping it fun, will make it a place to engage with and gain clients."

Learn more about Tribus at www.TribusGroup.comwww.TribusGroup.com.

Putting It Together

So, our understanding of CRM is that to manage your customers, you need to track and plan communication. Traditionally, that has been by telephone or email or meeting. Social CRM is an extension of those touch points – adding Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites into the process of staying connected with your customer. Social CRM keeps those social media conversations as relevant as any other.

If you are social – you may need to evolve to social CRM. If you are just starting with CRM, you might as well start with a CRM solution that tracks social interactions, too. After all, social media isn't going to go away anytime soon.

Other articles of interest: Understanding the Millennials Part I | AgentOffice