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Tools for Crafting Social CRM Connections

By Vivian Wagner CRM Buyer ECT News Network
Jul 9, 2012 5:00 AM PT

Financial site Adaptu serves people in all stages of life, from young people just establishing themselves, getting married and buying a home, to more mature investors planning for their children's educations or their own retirement dreams.

Tools for Crafting Social CRM Connections

"Some of these people are open to talking about their financial troubles or dreams in public, while others like to be more quiet about their decisions," Jenna Forstrom, Adaptu's community manager, told CRM Buyer. "Tracking our more public users allows us to create content, crowdsource ideas, and offer solutions that we wouldn't normally get the chance to talk about."

Using social media to manage its relationship with clients, in other words, is vital to Adaptu's business strategy.

"If one person asks the question in class, chances are 10 other students are thinking the same thing," said Forstrom. " We use social media to engage our users and potential users wherever they are."

Listening In

The social CRM tool used by Adaptu, Salesforce Radian6, gives businesses the ability to track, monitor and respond to thousands of comments, questions, statements, and problems from the far corners of the social media universe.

"There's all kinds of social networks, and new ones crop up every day," Gordon Evans, senior director of product marketing for Salesforce Radian6, told CRM Buyer. "There are 400 million tweets every day and 900 million posts on Facebook. If everyone does one social post a day just on those two networks, that's 1.3 billion pieces of data that are potential opportunities for brands to engage in. Radian6 looks across all of the social media networks and brings back all the relevant content that your company would be interested in, and lets you do analytics and engage in conversation."

In addition to mainstream social networks like Twitter and Facebook, Radian6 tracks many blogs, community sites and forums. A business can determine what keywords and subjects to track and monitor, including its business name, products, competitors and general industry topics.

"We give you a whole host of analytical tools to help you see what people are saying and where they're saying," said Evans. "It's broad-based listening on all the social networks."

Moxie Software offers similar tools to track social media posts and route them to the right agents, whether they're customer service reps or salespeople.

"We crawl a variety of sources, pull the information in, and then integrate it with CRM systems and so businesses can respond," Nikhil Govindaraj, VP of products for Moxie Software, told CRM Buyer. "We are focused on bringing this social channel in and sending it to an agent, all within an integrated dashboard."

Since Moxie hosts enterprise social networks, it also works with businesses to track, monitor and manage internal social media.

Social Strategy

Once businesses know what people are saying, they need to figure out how to respond. That might mean everything from replying to a Twitter post to contacting a customer directly who has complained about a product on a social network, in order to try to fix the problem. It might also mean generating leads based on people posting things like "I need a new laptop" or "I'm thinking of changing my phone service."

How a business responds to a social media post depends on the situation, but it needs to have an overall social media strategy in place in order to make sense of the many things it will hear by using a social media monitoring tool.

"You have to have an engagement strategy," noted Evans. "We have some social strategists, and we have a partner ecosystem that helps to consult with our clients on what their strategy should be."

Adaptu, for instance, will sometimes respond to questions raised by users with a mix of public and private outreach.

"At Adaptu, we stay on top of our game by responding in real time when a user has a question," said Forstrum. "For example, if a user is having trouble syncing an account, we can take that public information, contact the user, get some details in private, and then post a public solution. Everyone likes to be heard."

Whatever the strategy, experts agree that managing social CRM is vital to maintaining and marketing a brand.

"Social CRM is an important channel because of the extent it can rapidly influence your brand," Tara Sporrer, VP of marketing and sales ops for Moxie Software, told CRM Buyer. "It's always been important to treat your customers well, but it's even more important now that they can get word of their dissatisfaction out so quickly."

Freelance writer Vivian Wagner has wide-ranging interests, from technology and business to music and motorcycles. She writes features regularly for ECT News Network, and her work has also appeared in American Profile, Bluegrass Unlimited, and many other publications. For more about her, visit her website.

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