Customers interact with businesses through a wide variety of channels, increasingly using social media to interact with brands to comment, recommend, complain or network. Social CRM is a strategy designed to engage customers in what are both rewarding and mutually beneficial relationships, supported by business rules and logic, back office processes and intelligence.
But who is the social user? Simply put, they get their information from social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and learn about products, services and news via those services in preference to old fashioned methods like trade publications, newspapers and magazines. They look for a conversation about a brand rather than a one-way stream of consciousness and can detect what is relevant, personalised communication rather than irrelevent messaging. Ultimately they’re looking for engagement with an individual, brand or service.
In a recent Gartner survey, 77% of social users look for incentives and 48% look for problems to be solved, indicating that social media is a tool and a marketplace rather than just a message board. Through promoting the right message, brands can communicate to targeted audiences sharing insights into their brand, communicating the right kinds of information to generate business opportunities which can hopefully be nurtured through to sale. 81% of American consumers in the same survey go online to verify a purchase they are making, looking for recommendation, whilst over 60% of users regularly interact with brands. By stimulating this interest, social selling comes into play.
Social selling is using these networks, the brand awareness, the recommendations, to promote their brand or service and using the buzz around it to generate business opportunities. Maybe it’s not them, but someone they know that they can influence, specifically with users with large numbers of Twitter followers or a particularly vocal user of Facebook – one post can be a thousand views. But social selling isn’t solely about selling, it’s about brand preservation…maybe a follower complains….the time it takes that brand or company to respond creates an impression about them, and in turn future purchasers of their services. Companies like Dell, Intuit, H&R Block and Comcast do this well, with Gartner reporting that 50% of companies have created some form of online community but will have failed to manage it correctly, in turn driving away their customers and future sales.
So where do we begin? Well, by managing your communications through controlled messaging, watching for negative feedback and reacting to it quickly, followers will recognise that you care about your social channels and are a trustworthy source of information, potential recommendation and products and services. Speak with Omobono about ways that they can help you manage your brand more effectively.