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Published June 14th 2011

The Role of Social Media Monitoring in: Social CRM

In our previous post on the different roles of Social Media Monitoring we discussed its place in brand and market research. Today we look at how it enters into Customer Relationship Management and, more specifically, how it is an essential component of what has become known as Social CRM.

What is Social CRM?

CRM can be driven by any combination of Sales, Marketing and Customer Service operations, but the constant theme is managing and building relationships with customers and prospects. Social CRM is most simply understood as a branch of this that operates in the domain of social media, with certain similarities to other areas of CRM but also certain features which make it unique.

As we’ve all heard plenty of times, customers themselves are much more ‘social’ today. Like Chris Selland says, it will always be the customers who drive the evolution of social business and not businesses or technology vendors. Having instant access to so much independent information means customers can maintain higher standards and be more discerning about their decisions, putting more pressure on the businesses.

One of the key directives of a Social CRM strategy is to try and help companies meet these higher expectations by becoming involved in discussions and responding to comments where appropriate. Whilst this reactive element is not the limit of Social CRM, it is an area where Social Media Monitoring tools are absolutely vital.

So in practice, the remit of those involved in any way with a company’s response/engagement Social CRM activity can cover various issues, including:

  • Complaints
  • Queries
  • Suggestions
  • Inquiries
  • Reviews

Where does Social Media Monitoring fit in?

The answer is probably pretty clear.

Whereas, in our previous post, we talked about the possible underestimation of SMM’s role in overall market research, it must be said that any brand claiming to really attempt these features of Social CRM has to have some kind of monitoring process in place.

With such a wealth of data to wade through, they need a way to make sense of it and transform it into something that is, if I may use the cliché, actionable.

That’s where the advanced social media monitoring and analysis tools like Brandwatch come in. Once gathered, conversations and mentions need to be:

  • Divided into categories (complaint, query, suggestion etc)
  • Given a priority-status depending on several variables
  • Assigned to particular staff
  • Tagged with additional information
  • Checked off when dealt with

Whilst there are countless tools built for ‘monitoring’ brands and gauging the level of buzz, only premium options like Brandwatch offer these kind of data-handling and manipulation capabilities.

Dell’s infamous “Social Media Command Center”:

Engagement

On top of the management of the data, there is the next step of acting on that data, which moves us on from monitoring into the realm of engagement.

To streamline this process, we recently released a new upgrade to Brandwatch which allows you publish to Twitter and Facebook from within the system, and also to retweet and respond to Twitter conversations.

However, organising and accounting for all your engagement activity is just as important as the activity itself. Records of what was said, by who (both the brand and the external party) and when are all important to help understand the success of a Social CRM strategy (this is one of the purposes of the ‘Notes’ section which accompanies each mention in Brandwatch).

So, that’s our take on what role Social Media Monitoring plays in Social CRM. Please let us know what you think – is the development of Social CRM affecting other areas of CRM? Or is Social CRM even anything more than a buzzword that will soon disappear as it becomes inherently intertwined with all CRM?

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