Magazine article CRM Magazine

Taking the Plunge into Social CRM: Integrating Social Communities Takes a True Commitment

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Taking the Plunge into Social CRM: Integrating Social Communities Takes a True Commitment

Article excerpt

IN THE column "Integrating Social Media Is a Strategy for Success" (January 2014), I concluded that while not without its challenges, an integrated social CRM strategy incorporating public and private social communities is a powerful way to help your company reach new depths.

I'd like to go a step further by suggesting that you cannot just dip your toe into the social CRM pool and expect meaningful results. Here's why:

* You need to build self-sustaining public and private social communities to generate and feed meaningful insight into your CRM customer profiles, which in turn can be leveraged to drive enhanced customer engagement. It takes at least one year to build a self-sustaining social community. For every 100 invites you send to customers/prospects to join your community, assume that 10 will accept and participate from time to time, and one of these 10 will become a super user, taking a leading role in driving the success of your community (i.e., commenting and engaging other members on a regular basis). You need at least a dozen super users to sustain a community.

* It takes time to establish blogger personalities within your community. These are key to driving social community member engagement.

* Community contests play an important role in driving traffic to your social community. It takes time for members to enter the contest; this cannot be rushed.

Effective social communities establish meaningful success metrics right out of the gate. These include community health and financial return metrics. Community health metrics are straightforward but take time to achieve--e.g., number of members, posts/ comments, discussion threads, etc. Financial return metrics are more difficult but equally important. In one community we designed and built, we justified the business case around a .5 percent annual increase in revenue resulting from an additional half case of product sold to each community member every year. This increase resulted from peer recommendations and influence from community members, which again takes time to establish.

Let's review three companies' attempts to achieve meaningful social CRM based on leveraging social insight from their private social communities. Company A, a B2B2C company, created a solid community business case that linked its community to its CRM system, but the initiative was shot down by its executive team, which felt it took too long to realize the proposed revenue gains. …

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