View Twitter chat schedule: #SMTLive

What Defines Social CRM?

I don't think you can call a new solution "Social CRM" until you are connecting new social data sources to the sales data of your customers. CRM is about operationalization and efficiency. And ultimately that can only be judged against real sales data. We are now engaging customers in more and more sophisticated relationship programs meant to promote advocacy and action.I know that the state-of-the-art to monitor sales impact from social programs  on a daily basis just isn't there yet.

One of our advantages (Ogilvy) in the marketplace is our complete eco-system of disciplines working side-by-side. That means on any given day, I am working with direct marketers, online advertising creatives, retail activation experts, and CRM leaders. We are methodically applying "social" to all traditional disciplines to define and practice next gen solutions to traditional business problems.

Managing Relationships

We have developed a robust Social IRM (Influencer Relationship Management) expertise. We have also developed many of the tools and services necessary to manage long term relationships with customers promoting them to both share some form of Word of Mouth with peers and to actually take an action all the way down to purchasing something. But until we connect all that great data to the actual sales data for said customers, I don't think its wise to label it 'Social CRM.'

Altimeter released their framework for Social CRMvia a useful pdf of 18 use cases. It's great stuff and a useful checklist of technology companies who may support one of those use cases.Still, is it really Social CRM? Each of those use cases represents business solutions that we and others have been supporting for years under the titles 'social media marketing and communications' and 'social business.'

Brent Leary at Inc.compares traditional CRM and Social CRM:

"And with multiple people “touching” the customer for various reasons, it quickly became important to be able to track activities, appointments, potential deals, notes, and other information.  Consequently, traditional CRM grew out of this need to store, track, and report on critical information about customers and prospects.

Social CRM is growing out of a completely different need -- the need to attract the attention of those using the Internet to find answers to business challenges they are trying to overcome."

His POV, like many others, is that there is great value in adding social media strategies to your existing CRM program. He qualifies the contribution of the 'social' side to qualities we all take for granted yet remain hard to measure -

"social CRM is all about people and community.  It's about how your company intends to participate in the ongoing conversations taking place in the industry.  How you embrace non-traditional influential people like popular industry bloggers, and social sites on the Web frequented by your audience.  And fully understanding the importance of contributing to discussions, in a transparent manner, will help you build the kind of reputation needed to become a valued member of the online communities important to your business."

This is all important social media for business. But does it qualify as Social CRM?  

Link to original post

Join The Conversation

  • Sep 3 Posted 5 years ago Nash (not verified)


    Great article and very incisive.  Initially, we struggled with finding ways to add social media systems but eventually we realized that we should actually approach the problem from the opposite direction.  If your company is still struggling with these questions, i'd recommend this article:
      Read it a couple of times if you have to.  It's a great way to get the gears turning the right way.


  • JohnBell's picture
    Jun 5 Posted 7 years ago JohnBell

    Prompted by a tweet, I thought it was agood time to check back into my post shared here through SMT. There is a great stream of comments here both on the subject of social CRM and on my particular post. A couple of people seem concerned that I speak about the topic in "transactional" terms versus stressing the importance of relationships - the "R", if you will. Great point and one, frankly that I take for granted. I am a brand marketer and have been for more than 20 years. I have been focused on applycing social meddia marketing to my clients business for the past 6 years because I believ in the power of  opening up new, equitably valuable relationships with customers. Social media is a breath of fresh air for business and its implications are much deeper than a new channel, a Facebook strategy or a new technology platform.

    So, now, lets get down to business. If we want to further the adoption of social media-driven business practices in marcom, customer service, product development, employee relations and more, lets get dsicplined about purpose and measurement. We need to acknowledge that there must be bothe short and long term positive impact of social media to a business for it to be a smart choice. We have spent a lot of time unpacking, documenting from experience and understanding that impact. In the short term that impact shoudl be able to be reduced to transactional data - not just purchase data but advocacy data, satisfaction data, NPS-type data.

    Good discussion here. It does start with the new opportunities for a stronger, more equitable relationship with customers. lets not forget that but, please, lets move on and get disciplined.


  • Apr 22 Posted 7 years ago StaffordMcKay Great article. No doubt social networking is redefining CRM. For further reading, Intelestream has recently published a whitepaper about the subject. The whitepaper defines the concept of Social CRM, offers strategies that can help organizations better leverage social networking as part of their overall customer management strategy, and outlines steps that businesses can take to develop a tangible integration between social networking and traditional Customer Relationship Management. The paper can be read at 
  • Mar 8 Posted 7 years ago JennaZizzo

    I completely agree with Brent’s POV regarding social CRM being about people and community. Our client, Tornados brand snack foods, keeps Facebook fans consistently engaged, always participating in conversations on their fan page and answering questions or responding to comments in a timely manner. As a member of their social media team, we have helped increase engagement through third party apps we developed. The only way to succeed in social media and CRM in today’s Web 2.0 world is to get involved. 


  • MarkTamis's picture
    Mar 8 Posted 7 years ago MarkTamis

    As you put in your post, you are "... working with direct marketers, online advertising creatives, retail activation experts, and CRM leaders.", this leaves me to wonder about the way you "work" with your customers...shout a message and see if it and how it sticks? (or rather, how you go about understanding the customer jobs of your customer's customers ...).

    Social CRM is not only about generating Word of Mouth and nurturing influencers (although this could be one of the outcomes), it is a "philosphy and business strategy designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment. (@pgreenbe)". Connecting datasources and making sense of what relations are there may help you better understand the link between the interactions and the moment of sale, but this is not the main benefit - this is not Sales Force Automation Revisited.

    The conversation does not end when the sale is finalised, the experience does not end when the client leaves through the door. Your client may like what you have to offer but what happens when the widget breaks down and customer service is dismal. Will he still tweet in favour of your brand?

    Social CRM Strategy is also about looking beyond the immediate benefits derived from the transaction - could also include sourcing and validating new ideas for products and services, which go way beyond WOM and can have a long-term impact on the sustainability of the company.

    Have I misinterpreted your post, or am I just way off?

    Just as a footnote, I am surprised as one of the vendors in this space is Lithium, and Ogilvy PR has just signed a contract to be its Agency of Record.

  • Mar 8 Posted 7 years ago scorpfromhell Cross posting the comment from your blog:

    May be, to put it crudely, Social Media integration is just the tactics, the strategy is Social CRM ... you could read some of the articles from the gurus, like Paul Greenberg's stake in the ground post on its definition or Esteban Kolsky's post pointing out the differences b/w Social Media & Social CRM. And from a technology perspective, you could consider my vision for the Social CRM IT landscape.

    Please do join us on twitter on the #scrm hashtag for more debates & discussions around Social CRM, it would be great have your insights & perspectives too. :)

Webinars On Demand

  • May 09, 2017
    With all of the technologies available to marketers today, have we lost that personal touch? Join VP of Content Marketing for ON24, Mark Bornste...
  • April 05, 2017
    In the ever-changing world of digital marketing, operational efficiency, quick turn-around times, testing and adapting to change are crucial to...