Why Social CRM for Small Businesses?

ajsoltero
Álvaro J. Soltero Inbound Marketer & Blogger, Leaf

Posted on February 17th 2013

Why Social CRM for Small Businesses?

social_crmSocial CRM is shorthand for ‘Social Customer Relationship Management’, and it is much more than just a social media marketing buzzword (or buzz-concept). While the exact wording for its definition varies across the Internet, the goal is the same for all: to develop the customer-company connection into an intimate and efficient relationship through social media. Larger companies usually add a more aggressive  “listening” component to Social CRM by using services such as Nimble and Salesforce.com to parse social media streams and find out what people are specifically saying, but don’t let this fool you into thinking this is only ‘a big-business thing.’ Good social customer care can help your small business stand out and increase customer loyalty and rate of return. 

First, let’s take a look at some numbers from Nielsen’s State of Social Media 2012 Report

  • On average, 47% of social media users engage in social customer care
  • Of that average, 9% of users referred to social care on a daily basis,
  • 21% on a weekly basis, and 70% on a monthly basis
  • One in three social media users prefer social customer care to talking on the phone on average
  • 50% of social media users express concerns and/or complaints about products or services on social media 

Social care is becoming more and more of an expectation rather than an additional bonus that businesses offer. Due to the ease and informality of communication in social media, it is easy to see how people would prefer Tweeting at a company over picking up the phone and possibly talking to an automated answering machine. But don’t just take it from us; take it from the numbers above!

How does this apply to small business owners? Great question! The answer is two-fold: First, Small businesses, by nature, are already good at doing business in a personalized way. Second, where the financial costs of social care are minimal, the rewards are large. When we say this, we mean that social care gives small business owners the ability to conduct customer service in a place where everyone can see and appreciate the time and work put into it. It can even make customer service easier if, for example, the issue or problem in question has already been asked and answered on your company Facebook wall. Here are some examples of how we do this at Leaf

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Leaf_Response

Today’s consumer is social-savvy and is hyper-informed. She can express her opinion about anything to her entire range of friends and connections. He can find answers and information on almost anything within seconds thanks to the Internet. Fast, easy, and personalized is the new way to keep your customers happy, engaged, and loyal. Ramon Ray, of smallbiztechnology.com, nailed it when he wrote “Social CRM is the new mint on the pillow”. Will you be that hotel that doesn’t leave mints, or will you be the one remembered for your awesome customer care?

 

ajsoltero

Álvaro J. Soltero

Inbound Marketer & Blogger, Leaf

Álvaro J. Soltero is an Content and Social Media Strategist for Leaf, a Cambridge based tech startup that provides a mobile point-of-sale system and an intuitive business management platform in the Cloud. You can check out Leaf's Small Business Blog here. Álvaro also runs a social media blog for higher education called The Social U, where he writes about privacy and networking using social media. 

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Comments

Great post. I completely agree with you when you say that social care is becoming more of an expectation than an added feature. Whatever company, be it big or small, needs to occupy those two/three main channels of social media because more often than not, the customers are going to be on them. Salesforce and Nimble are doing a great job at having their CRM perform social media-related tasks. There are some lesser known names out there too - Agile CRM enables both the CRM and the inbuilt marketing automation to perform social tasks, such as tweet directly to customers and track them without leaving the CRM.