How Businesses Should Be Using Social Media

This is the third post of a series of posts discussing topics in Brian Solis’ book Engage!  In this post, Social Customer Relationship Management will be discussed.

Since the invention of Twitter and other related social media networks, the way businesses can market themselves to customers is changing.  It’s not just about one-way promotion anymore.  Twitter and other social networks allows businesses to create, monitor and respond to customers in a direct and effective medium.  In chapter 23 of Engage!, Brian Solis discusses Social Customer Relationship Mangement (sCRM) and how some businesses are still figuring out the “social” part of sCRM.

Solis describes a Twitter campaign by a TV network that promoted a series by using a back channel software program that automatically followed anyone that was discussing the series on Twitter.  The program sent over 20,000 direct messages and followed over 100,000 people.  Overall, the marketing initiative was considered a success.  But Solis points out one problem with the campaign.  The marketing campaign never addressed any of the responses to the back channel.  The “successful” campaign never engaged the audience on the medium.  The network missed the “s” part of sCRM by not socially engaging their customers and taking part in the conversation.

I find this new form of social marketing fascinating.  As Solis mentions, many marketing executives weren’t taught this new way of marketing, and may be hard headed in establishing these new sCRM techniques.  Getting your business to be the talk of the town (or trending on Twitter as some would now say) is only part of the new process.  Using Twitter and other social media sites to truly engage in the conversation is essential to building strong customer relations.

Learning the best and worst parts of your business by monitoring the conversation is just one benefit.  Actually reaching out to people talking about your business can create trust and brand loyalty.  A loyal customer that is active on social media can become not just a marketing tool, but even a possible marketer for your business itself.  Word of mouth is always one of the best forms of advertising.

Solis mentions that businesses should look at this new method of marketing as SRM, leaving out the “C” or customer part.  Social Relationships Management focuses on the social relationships as the valuable asset, not the customer itself.  In other words, the relationship between the business and the customer should be the focus of a quality social marketing campaign.

Using the customer-business relationship as a tool to better your company is the real opportunity for businesses looking to engage with customers on SM sites.  Solis says it best in the last sentence of the chapter, “It’s not what you say about the brand, it’s about what they say about it that counts.”

-Sam Plymale



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