Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and is reliant on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, co-create , discuss, and modify user-generated content. It introduces substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities and individuals and offers still another technological opportunity for business to market their products and services.
Social Customer Relationship Management Strategy (SCRM) differs from traditional CRM Strategy. In a Social Media relationship, the customer is in control and the approach is for businesses to manage the dialog, not the customer. The interaction is based on the ability of a company to meet the personal agendas of its customers while, at the same time, meeting the objectives of its own business plan. It is aimed at customer engagement rather than customer management. Social Media is here to stay and it is fundamentally changing the way companies do business.
At Best Buy, the preferred authority and destination for technology products and services, a well-integrated social media strategy offers customers the opportunity to use Twitter to send inquiries to Best Buy and thousands of their employees across all organizational functions. Employees are encouraged and empowered to respond to the customers directly. “Our model is like a hive. Each group manages its own initiatives, but we work under a common strategy. We are well integrated, well networked, and everyone is responsible for social media,” said John Bernier, Product Manager-Connect, for Best Buy.
Companies looking to establish a Social Media Strategy face some challenges. First they must determine if engagement makes fiscal sense and often it is the fear of not being engaged that is driving many companies to jump into social media initiatives without having fully assessed the potential for risk. While the fear of negative brand exposure is a top concern for many companies, the fear of missing opportunities presented by social media is perceived to be greater. As companies establish their Social SCRM footing, they need to develop localized policies for appropriately addressing these concerns.
Begin by engaging and empower employees to use social media responsibly and to convey the brand promise, in content and conduct, appropriately. Be aware that, with the social community now controlling the brand conversation, a potential for negative brand exposure and misuse exists. Develop corporate guidelines for social media and consistently train and empower employees to make informed decisions that are in line with company values and the brand promise.
Before embarking on a social media journey, make sure all key stakeholders are on board with your goals. As a key performance engine for client/customer engagement, social media activity takes into account all organizational activities that affect those relationships. Review and collect all relevant internal marketing assets and define a set of goals that are in line with the businesses overall marketing objective. Your social media marketing goals need to resonate with authentic customer/client engagement in the following ways.
- Excellent customer/client service
- Updates on brand, products, and services
- Product/service promotions
- Education of the customer around your value
- Making your brand go viral on the web
- Informing your target of changes in your industry, products, and services
- Acting as a thought-leader by taking the lead in online education
New research indicates that 72 percent of businesses using social media have failed to identify a clear set of goals for their social media strategy or are completely in denial about the need to embrace the emerging technology, but companies who are actively and effectively engaging social media will soon demonstrate a credible advantage over the competition.