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Social Media for CRM or Workflow for SMA?

The entanglement of social media analysis (SMA) and customer relationship management (CRM) is moving right along. It was inevitable, really, as companies realized the need to interact with customers through social media. The interesting question becomes, will they want engagement features in an SMA platform or monitoring and analytics in a CRM platform?

Adding process to SMA
From an SMA perspective, process management is an obvious addition to social media monitoring capabilities—once you find a customer with a problem, you want to fix the problem. Scale that beyond a handful of customers, and you need a system that can track your progress. Pieces to consider:

  1. Discovery
    Finding relevant mentions of a company is a fundamental building block of SMA.

  2. Tagging
    While we're in an analytics platform, let's assign some metadata to the item for future analysis.

  3. Triage
    Decide which items require a response and prioritize. You might filter on sentiment, topic, or influence. Some items might receive an automated response at this stage.

  4. Assignment, delegation and reassignment
    Who owns the response? It's not just for accountability, ownership relieves others of spending time on an item. The system should be able to handle ownership changes to support escalation and assignment to specialists.

  5. Track to closure
    Classic customer service management—what's the status of an open item? Open-item analysis gives management a tool to manage workload and understand current incidents (the metadata from step 2 will be useful).

  6. Measure results
    Now, we're back in the analytics realm and can look at the results through customer-service and media-analysis lenses.
From a client perspective, the question becomes, which platform do you use as a base—SMA, CRM, or something else?

The workflow features in some SMA platforms support this type of process, which can also be used in media relations or other contexts (action items aren't just for customer service). Other vendors provide tagging that can be kludged into workflow features. So you could choose to build your processes on an SMA platform.

Adding social media to CRM
The heavyweights of CRM are beginning to add social media features to their products, creating new options. Their existing installations will help them, especially in more conservative customers.

You got peanut butter on my chocolate!
Larry Dignan says of SAP's Twitter demo, does show an increasing amount of integration with social networking tools. If corporate data is merged with the anecdotal tips from customers and partners there could be real insight.

This Holy Grail of insight is what a lot of vendors—Salesforce, Oracle and SAP—are chasing.

A few SMA companies have been talking about integration with other enterprise systems for a while. It's time to think seriously about how things fit together when established enterprise software companies start adding features that are the core of more specialized systems.

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