Social is increasingly powerful in your customer’s lives, transforming businesses and their customers. Social media influences how people hear about products, choose them, buy them and use them. It informs how they work, study and play. This has presented marketers with three distinct challenges:
The attention economy
Firstly, it’s increasingly hard to get people’s attention. Technologies, from Facebook’s newsfeed to Gmail’s Promotions tag, filter brand content that would have got through in the past. And when these technologies fail, people have much stronger semi-conscious filters that keep irrelevant content (for example display banner advert blindness) at bay.
Declining trust in brands
Secondly, there’s been a decline in trust in brands, and an increase in trust in what strangers tell us through reviews and recommendations, as well as more traditional advocacy from friends and family.
A multi device user journey
Thirdly, people make decisions through increasingly complex journeys, not least across multiple devices. On some estimates, 40 percent of eCommerce purchasing happens using more than one device.
How can Social CRM help?
The most widely used definition of Social CRM is from Paul Greenberg:
“a philosophy and a business strategy, [which is] the company’s programmatic response to the customer’s control of the conversation.”
While this is a little abstract two things are clear: firstly, Social CRM is very obviously an extension of traditional customer relationship management, not an alternative philosophy. Secondly the value driven by Social CRM will differ hugely by business.
That’s why we find that most businesses find it challenging to use social media strategically. I believe that this is because businesses tend to silo their social teams away from their CRM teams, with different cultures, technologies, and ways of looking at the world.
If these teams are brought together to solve customer problems then four distinctive purposes for social CRM emerge:
Engage with customers points of interest
Firstly, increase the ability to engage audiences with the content that they are interested in. If a bank has a blog post on how to manage your money when you are retired and living in Spain, then this content can easily be served just to the customers it’s relevant for, in the channels that they find most convenient. Facebook’s Custom Audience technology, that allows specific customer audiences to receive perfectly targeted advertising (i.e. reaching them, and only them) is the best known example, but other platforms are rapidly deploying equivalents. The combination of CRM data (e.g. Alan is retired) and the ability to target customer segments (e.g. ‘Usually located in Spain’) leads to much higher engagement, saves on media costs and avoids spamming people who aren’t interested. Significant savings are often seen from better social CRM targeting when we implement this for clients.
A better multi-channel user experience
Social CRM technologies make it easier to provide a seamless experience across channels. Most corporates now routinely provide higher quality service in some channels (most typically phone, webforms and livechat) than in others (such as email, Twitter or Facebook). Worst of all some channels are completely ignored. While consumers are often spending a lot of time using instant messaging platforms such as Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger (both with close to one billion users), these platforms are usually entirely ignored by corporates as engagement platforms.
OgilvyOne research, to be released soon, shows that the vast majority of major brands in the UK make it impossible to contact them through instant messaging channels.
A wealth of new insights
Social CRM analytics open up insights that are unavailable from other sources. Social listening, while often a useful starting point for insights, doesn’t tell you how your different segments are discussing your new product or how they are behaving. CRM data allows you to survey your customers but doesn’t tell you what your customers are thinking about or doing when they aren’t engaging with your brand. Social CRM analytics allow you to understand, for instance, what other interests your customers have, how do they behave in their broader lives, and what are the different behaviours between your customer segments.
OgilvyOne recently examined what works of art were shared and photographed the most by millennials following certain brands. Unsurprisingly we found that Leonardo Da Vinci’s work still leads the table, particularly the Mona Lisa. But the third most popular work of art was more of a surprise – the feminist icon Rosie the Riveter. We’d all noticed it a few times in recent years, but had never anticipated that it had risen to such a prominent position.
Building mass brand advocacy
Finally, Social CRM can build trust by creating mass advocacy. OgilvyOne’s ongoing research on brand advocacy indicates that personal advocacy (face-to-face or through social media) is extremely powerful, sometimes up to 100 times as powerful as the equivalent reach through paid media.
But our research also shows that very few brands are fully exploiting latent advocacy, even when it can be unlocked by extremely simple activities. For instance we are still astounded that business conferences fail to have good wi-fi connections, thereby discouraging advocacy. At a basic level, social CRM tools can prompt advocacy, measure which approaches are most effective at generating it, and, ultimately, measure its value.
Social CRM should be seen as one of the most exciting opportunities for marketing in decades. Our ability to provide people with useful, interesting, or fun information, when they need it, can dramatically increase the effectiveness of our work. Even better, it does this by helping our audiences, rather than simply blasting them with untargeted messaging.
Rob Blackie is talking at Social Media Week London 2015.
Tuesday 15th September, 9-10am
Sainsbury Wing Theatre, The National Gallery
An event for Social Media Week London 2015. [Register for your free ticket]
For the latest from Social Media Week London 2015, follow @OgilvyUK and @ogilvydo on Twitter and #OgilvySMW.