Video: Thoughts on Social CRM for Small Businesses

Social CRM is a hot topic right now. As companies’ use of social media tools begins to mature from a pure marketing focus to more of a social business focus, the various use cases of social CRM are gaining more attention from practitioners. In fact, I’m in the middle of reading a book on social CRM right now (The Social Customer, by Adam Metz).

So, when Lauren Carlson drew my attention to a video interview she conducted with Marshall Lager from Third Idea Consulting – a well-known name in the field – at the CRM Evolution conference, it caught my attention.

A few interesting notes from the interview:

  • Unlike most other business tools, social CRM is largely derived from consumer-related tools – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs etc., which weren’t originally designed for business uses. People are using these tools to share experiences they have. Businesses have finally caught on to the potential benefits of being involved, and are starting to monetize their relationships.
  • You can get started with social CRM by simply signing up for a free or trial account on a service, and starting to listen. Trick number one is to find out where your customers are and what they’re saying. Once you have that, you can begin to craft a strategy (I would add that before you do that, you need to figure out what business objectives you want to accomplish).
  • Lager says small businesses especially can benefit from social media – the closer to start-up, the better – because the people there are extremely passionate, focused on where the next sale will come from and are likely to have a direct relationship with their customers.  He argues that the benefits of social media to small business can outstrip those for large businesses, who already have an established brand and established expectations, very quickly. Small businesses can touch every one of their customers, and have a significant effect in doing so.
  • Strategy is important. You can build it as you go to a certain extent (I would argue that while this may be the case for some companies, for most it would be far better to figure out your strategy first), but at a certain point you need to figure out what you’re trying to do with social media. You need to figure out your company’s voice; your rules of engagement (and several companies have published their verisons; here are 57 sets of social media guidelines and resources to get you started).
  • One of the most important things that companies can do online is tell the truth. If people trust you, they will do business with you. If they don’t trust you, they want nothing to do with you.
I found the interview interesting; while there are a few comments I would respectfully disagree with, there’s  some interesting stuff here – especially for small business owners who might be curious on how & why to get started.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.