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Social Media Marketing
Published Date:
April 12, 2024

Social CRM: Benefits, Challenges, and the Best Tools Available

Social media is a direct gateway to understanding and learning about customers' preferences and habits. Every engagement or interaction equips you with valuable data to create customer profiles. However, this information is challenging to track without a social CRM.

This article will help you understand what a social CRM is, how it can benefit your business, and how to implement it to meet your commercial needs. Let's jump in!

What is Social CRM?

A social CRM is either an integration or a standalone application that implements customer relationship management into your social media channels. It enables your teams to understand and interact with clients effectively, acquiring valuable market insights and enhancing customer service quality.

Most modern-day social CRMs allow integration with platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. With this native integration, you can access cross-platform functionality and analytical capabilities for all your customer data.

Why Do Businesses Need Social CRM?

Customers have varying preferences. While some prefer emails or phone calls, data suggests that more and more people now like catching up on their favorite brand updates on their social media feeds. The following table demonstrates that many users research products through social media.

Source

A social CRM isn't just about reaching potential customers through their favorite channels. It is like having a secret agent gathering intel for you. It tracks all those convos between customers and your brand, then serves up juicy insights about what they love, what makes them tick, and even what products they can't get enough of.

Top-notch social CRMs gather all that valuable info and serve it up in a neat, shareable package. You can have your data neatly organized and ready to be used for business growth. With all these functions at play, social CRMs really pull their weight in helping businesses comprehend their audience, strengthening those brand-customer bonds, saving precious time with automation, and giving customers an experience they'll love.

What Are the Benefits of Social CRM?

Now that we've covered social CRM and why businesses need it, let's delve into its benefits. Social CRM can elevate your customer relationships and business growth in the following ways:

1. Lead Generation and Nurturing:

Empower your social media support teams with the appropriate data so that the sales and service teams can avail of every opportunity. Social CRMs streamline the entire process of lead generation, qualification, and nurturing.

For instance, your social team uses data from social media platforms to craft a targeted ad. The sales and service teams jointly formulate ABM strategies that cover multiple platforms and channels. These personalized campaigns are then launched to convert and nurture numerous prospects.

2. Enhanced Customer Experience:

A big chunk of your revenue depends on customer experience. According to a 2024 PwC report, just one negative experience leads to 32% of devoted customers discontinuing their business with a brand.

Using a social CRM, you can respond to customer issues proactively, as it offers complete context for each customer interaction. This enables informed responses and seamless handoffs between departments for a unified customer experience. It also helps improve customer retention, which is much cheaper than customer acquisition.

3. Effective Personalization:

Social CRMs provide you with complete insight into customer interactions and engagement rates. You can create ideal buyer personas and segregate them depending on relevant demographics.

Then, your marketing and sales teams can develop and effectively personalize content that caters to these personas of multiple demographics.

4. Automation:

Most competent social CRMs come with an element of automation baked into them. Features range from automating repetitive data entry tasks to streamlining ticket generation, issue resolution, and escalation. Social CRMs also come with the additional benefit of automated posting and scheduling. These elements help your team save a ton of time.

5. Generative AI Integration:

Social CRMs generate vast data, which is often too immense for humans to sift through efficiently. This is where GenAI swoops in and analyzes bulk data in no time. It perceives where issues persist and provides data-driven insights regarding what you must do to improve the relevant KPIs.

Traditional CRM vs. Social CRM

The significant difference between traditional and social CRM comes from the latter's capability to manage customer data and interactions through social media platforms. Apart from that, there are some other subtle differences that you can glean from this table.

Feature Traditional CRM Social CRM
Data Collection Channels Focuses on managing customer data from offline interactions (calls, emails, etc.) Captures customer data from social media profiles
Interaction Monitoring Monitors offline interactions Monitors conversations on social media platforms
Engagement Type Relies on reactive engagement Facilitates proactive engagement with customers
Real-time Interaction Limited real-time interaction capabilities Supports real-time interactions with customers
Personalization Personalization may be limited Enables delivery of personalized content to customers
Communication Channels Less emphasis on social media as a communication channel Emphasizes social media for customer communication
Multi-channel Consistency Lack of a consistent omnichannel presence Focuses on streamlining UX across multiple online and offline channels

How To Set up a Social CRM Process

Once you have set up your brand's social media platforms, incorporating a social CRM into your content strategy isn't as daunting as it may seem. All you need to do is take charge of your social media relationships with a precise plan. Let's start with these strategies to set up and initiate your social CRM journey.

1. Set Clear Goals for Your Social CRM Process

To start your social CRM process, you must first identify your objectives. Decide whether you want to improve customer engagement, gather more insightful market data, or drive brand identity.

When you pick your goals, you will focus only on the metrics that benefit you most, skipping on irrelevant data. It also encourages you to take suitable actions along the way.

2. Assemble Your Team

Gather the key team members:

  • A project champion for managerial support
  • A process manager for project oversight
  • A user group for insights and system testing at all implementation stages

The Social CRM software selection process should also address a collective wishlist reflecting the desired improvements from salespeople, marketing personnel, customer support employees, executives, and customers.

3. Personalize and Refine Your Content Strategy

Use your insights to whip up content that speaks to your audience. By assessing the juicy data gathered by your social media CRM platform, you can fine-tune your marketing campaigns to resonate with each person's unique preferences and interests.

4. Make CRM Response a Priority

With social media becoming a go-to for customer service, it's a no-brainer to streamline your response system. You might not always have the bandwidth to tackle every issue right away. However, setting up a process to prioritize service requests helps keep things running smoothly.

Also, be prepared to handle unhappy customers proactively. Instead of addressing complaints publicly with promises of rewards, opt to resolve issues privately to avoid establishing a precedent for expecting rewards for airing grievances online.

5. Interact With Your Customer Base 

Did you know that 21% of customers follow a brand's social media handle to interact with the brand? Make the best out of your social CRM platform to engender customer interactions. It's a sound practice to quickly respond to user queries, tackle concerns head-on, and provide user-specific suggestions when asked for. Nowadays, this level of customer service is the norm, so you better not keep your users waiting.

6. Pick Suitable Social CRM Tools for Your Needs

Your best bet is to use a comprehensive social CRM platform that meets your operational needs. Now that you have sorted out where and how you will handle customer inquiries and tackle responses, you must monitor who's contacting you for help.

While choosing CRM tools, look for essential features such as social media monitoring, seamless integration with your current systems, and scalability to ensure you find your brand's ideal social CRM tool. Missing out on a vital feature is the last thing you want with your social CRM. A simple method to avoid all these hiccups and obtain the best social CRM is to sign up for Highperformr.

7. Track Your Data

Employ social listening tools to track brand mentions, customer sentiment, and industry trends. Analyze this data to understand customer behavior and preferences. Focus on monitoring high-priority requests addressed by your team (productivity) and their response time (efficiency). 

Additionally, scour the web to gauge customer response expectations, typically within 2 hours to half a day. Compare productivity, efficiency, and customer expectations, then adjust CRM strategies accordingly.

Social CRM Metrics

If you find ways to measure your social performance, you would only know whether your social CRM process is yielding the expected results. Most Social CRM tools use social metrics to estimate how successful your customer engagement strategy is. These are the following metrics:

  • Follower Demographics: Social CRM allows you to see who's following you and how they are interacting with your site or platform.
  • Traffic: Social CRM tracks traffic and conversion rates from different social media platforms to provide insights into the number of visitors and how those clicks translate into sales.
  • Brand Mentions: With Social CRM, you can measure the volume of followers discussing their brand or company and whether these customers share their experiences on social media platforms.
  • Engagement: With Social CRM, businesses can gauge not just clicks but even user engagement on their platforms. Social CRM identifies active followers and their real-time interactions with the company's website or platform.

Social CRM Challenges

Even though a long list of proven benefits exists for using social CRM, it has its challenges and limitations. Getting acquainted with these challenges is the first step to overcome them.

Large Amounts of Data

Navigating a sea of data pulled from social media channels can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. It is especially true for larger companies facing many conversations about their products or brands.

The sheer volume of information can be overwhelming for even the most organized teams. This often leads to precious time and resources being wasted on sifting through irrelevant data.

Organizational Change

The introduction of a social CRM process will inevitably demand some organizational changes, be it large or small. This transformation often proves to be a challenge for teams as they have to shift to new and different sets of tools and processes. Getting everyone on board with the benefits, such as automated lead generation and streamlined lead scoring, is the key to making the switch successful.

Slow and Gradual Results

Rome wasn't built in a day! The advantages of implementing a social CRM will not be apparent to you immediately. It takes patience and persistence as data collection and analysis processes evolve over time.

Despite the gradual nature of results, consistent efforts will eventually lead to some critical insights from the social data. Stick with it; you will start reaping the rewards as your data quality improves.

Changing Landscape

The constantly changing and unpredictable social media trends and phases pose another challenge to social CRM. You need great agility to integrate new platforms and adapt to emerging trends.

Just remember that staying ahead in the race requires conscious monitoring and molding to shifts in user behavior, such as the rise of short-form video content.

List of Best Social CRM Tools

An ideal social CRM tool must provide the ability to manage customer profiles, keep track of online engagement, analyze user sentiment, and drive social promotion while also being able to manage different social media management platforms. With that criteria in mind, we have curated a list of some of the best social CRM tools available as of now. They are as follows:

Highperformr

Highperformr is a highly capable social CRM explicitly designed for Twitter (presently X) that leverages the power of AI in innovative ways to amplify social engagement and fuel business growth. Highperformr's integration of AI enables it to generate content ideas across various scenarios and use cases.

Key Features

  • AI-driven content generation across various scenarios
  • Intuitive analytics suite that offers daily, weekly, and monthly insights
  • Built-in automation for scheduling and creating content and threads
  • Unified dashboard for LinkedIn and other social media accounts
  • Cross-platform analysis
  • Functions like Growth Funnel Analysis and Content Topic Analysis

Pros

  • Powerful AI support
  • Free and affordable price points
  • Easy and efficient setup for social management
  • A ton of free AI tools

Cons

  • The AI can occasionally have some limitations.
  • Customers have been requesting support for more social media platforms.

Sprout Social 

Sprout Social is popular for streamlining social media management across various channels.

Key Features

  • Integrates top social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+
  • Streamlines creation, scheduling, and management of social media posts
  • Features a smart inbox for indexing social interactions
  • Offers comprehensive brand monitoring and workflow automation
  • Provides detailed conversation histories and bot-building capabilities
  • Includes advanced collaboration features for teams

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Auto-publishing capabilities
  • Social listening features

Cons

  • Limited custom reports
  • Poor customer service
  • Difficulty in cancelling subscription

Hootsuite Inbox

Hootsuite Inbox is an all-in-one social media content creation and scheduling tool with AI capabilities. Hootsuite mainly focuses on social media management rather than customer relationship management.

Key Features

  • Has AI-based content creation
  • Can work as a social CRM
  • Integrates with platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Has a customizable dashboard with CRM-friendly app extensions
  • Facilitates curation, sharing, and promotion of user-generated content
  • Enables post-scheduling, social media trend monitoring, and keyword tracking
  • Provides personalized reporting and analytics through Hootsuite Inbox

Pros

  • Delivers detailed engagement analytics
  • Supports content generation
  • Boasts excellent audience targeting capabilities

Cons

  • A bit too expensive for small businesses
  • Pricey custom URL shorteners
  • Limited LinkedIn tagging capabilities
  • Users have reported some publishing issues

Salesforce

Salesforce Social Studio, a reputed social CRM, packs many tools for community engagement and monitoring customer sentiment analysis.

Key Features

  • Lets you easily access contact details, activity logs, and customer interactions
  • Facilitates collaboration among different departments
  • Allows sharing insights and documents on each contact
  • Strengthens the database
  • Pulls data from customers' social engagements
  • Provides insights into customer sentiments about the brand
  • Helps understand customer needs and identify areas for improvement

Pros

  • It is cost-effective when compared to others.
  • It provides competitor monitoring.
  • A keyword can be edited quickly to tailor the needs, and the results are quick.

Cons

  • Users have reported it to be clunky.
  • There is room to improve the export data functionality.
  • Narrowing down the search sometimes produces glitches.
  • The initial setup was difficult to make it live, according to some users.

Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 stands out in the social CRM arena for many reasons. It packs many features, is flexible and customizable, and plays well with other Microsoft services.

Key Features

  • Incorporates AI and machine learning for data-driven decisions and enhanced customer experiences
  • Cloud-based accessibility offers flexibility and scalability
  • Provides a wide range of modules, including sales, marketing, customer service, finance, operations, and project management
  • Offers customization options for modules to fit specific business needs

Pros

  • Constant improvements and updates
  • Great security
  • Syncing with Outlook advantage

Cons

  • Customers have been requesting features to schedule workflows or plugins.
  • Entering contact details should be automated.
  • Syncing of account & contact should be more straightforward.
  • If you decide to cancel, it does not provide a backup file of your collected data.

Zoho CRM 

Zoho CRM is a powerhouse tool for managing your social media presence. It has all the bells and whistles to help you stay on top of what's happening across different social networks.

Key Features

  • Lets you dive deep into posts, comments, shares, mentions, and messages
  • Sets up automated workflows to capture valuable leads from specific actions like post-sharing
  • Seamlessly integrates with major platforms like Facebook and Twitter
  • Handles all social interactions from one unified hub
  • Monitors emails, live chats, and phone calls within the platform

Pros

  • Integrates with multiple platforms
  • Allows scheduling of posts 30 days in advance
  • Offers creation tools

Cons

  • Needs an additional free image selector
  • Priced alongside Zoho One and cannot be used standalone
  • Recurring posts need to show up clearly
  • Cannot schedule collab posts for IG

Nimble

Nimble shines when it comes to keeping tabs on social media mentions and seamlessly connecting leads' and customers' social profiles into your CRM. This integration in Nimble is a game-changer for enriching your contact database and enhancing social data usage.

Key Features

  • Has nifty search tools for sorting contacts quickly based on social activity or follower stats
  • Includes an agenda manager for scheduling and organizing tasks
  • Furnishes in-depth analytics for comprehensive insights

Pros

  • User-friendly and lightweight
  • Ideal for smaller businesses venturing into social CRM
  • Elaborate and beneficial reports

Cons

  • Tricky and confusing UI
  • Limited mobile app functionality
  • Insufficient attributes in multiple pipeline management interface

Examples of Social CRM

The best way to understand the workings of a social CRM is to look at real-world examples. Some of them have been mentioned below.

Customer Service:

Marketing and Lead Generation:

Entertainment Industry: 

Product Development and Innovation:

Apart from these practical examples, we have many real-world use cases of B2B companies profiting through social CRMs. One of the foremost in this regard is Wells Fargo, a part of the "Big Four" banks in the US. With about 70 million customers, they require strong customer service.

Wells Fargo has turned to social media for this, and they use CRMs to track all the brand mentions on various social media platforms. It empowers Wells Fargo to address users' inquiries and proactively address their grievances.

Highperformr: The Right Tool for Every Job

If you are ready to start your social CRM journey but still struggling to come to a decision, we recommend Highperformr. Its slew of features, coupled with excellent customer service and a team of professionals, guarantee you the best results in all your ventures. 

Still on the fence? Test it out for yourself. Sign up for Highperformr for free today!

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