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Three Reasons Social CRM Really isn't All that Complicated

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September 22, 2011

Three Reasons Social CRM Really isn't All that Complicated

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Industry observer Chris Bucholtz recently discussed three reasons why he thinks Social CRM really isn’t as complicated as some are trying to make it out to be, using examples culled from TMC’s recent ITEXPO's (News - Alert) co-located Social CRM Expo.

Speaking of the show, Bucholtz said while it's not big in terms of a physical presence at this telecom-heavy show, “it is significant in the strength of its content -- and in the number of times the speakers said simple things that made light bulbs go on over the audience's heads.”

First, Google (News - Alert) is your friend. No, really. It’s where you can find out where your customers are talking about you. After all, this really isn’t rocket science. Sometimes it’s as easy as what Erin Korogodsky, social media quarterback at Lithium, explains to Bucholtz: Plug in the name of your company, the names of your competitors, or keywords that pertain to your business in Google. “With a little digging, it should reveal many of the significant smaller social media channels where people are talking about you.”

There, now, that wasn’t so complicated or difficult, was it?

Secondly, attend your own party. If you’re putting lots of little Facebook, Twitter (News - Alert), LinkedIn and other social media icons on your pages, what you’re doing is “making a commitment to be part of the conversation -- not just when the content is published, but for as long as that standing invitation is open to the public,” Bucholtz correctly notes.

So act like it -- "If you're going to tell people to follow you on Twitter or Facebook (News - Alert), then you'd better be there for them," Don Greco, director of contact center field marketing and sales systems engineering development for Siemens, tells Bucholtz. Be there when customers do, in fact, click on those nifty little icons.

The third thing you need to know is that anyone who’s social has a need to know. Some folks are scared of social media, since it “takes control of the company message away from designated spokespeople and distributes it around the company,” Bucholtz says, and it’s happening, according to Greg Gunn, vice president of business development at HootSuite, because “most companies don't bother to educate their employees about how they should talk about the business on social media.”

It’s one of those things they just assume, like, you’ve got an iPad, you know how these things are supposed to go. But friends, they don’t. “So tell them,” Bucholtz says. Tell your engineers that no, it’s not okay to blog about new, revolutionary features before they are announced. When marketing creates “a new, official name for an incentive program, but the sales department fails to get the word, and the socially active people in sales continue to use the old name” -- this would never happen in your company, of course, but bear with us -- “this creates confusion among the customers and, ultimately, the impression that internal chaos reigns inside your business.”

A couple weeks ago TMC (News - Alert) reported that Helpstream, which works the Social CRM suites and customer service community side of the street, will “share its vision for the future of the Social CRM industry” through a blog series from company CEO Bob Warfield.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Juliana Kenny
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