Don’t Look Any Further. Social Media = CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

I originally meant for this post to show some excerpts from Pat’s blog today, titled “The Holy Trinity Of Blogging“, until I realised she has it so spot on and so easily understood that there really is little else I could add by posting about it. (That said, do check out the link, relevant to individuals and companies alike.)

But as I sat down to start writing tonight, I realised there’s a bigger question here: Why, out of the many, many links sent to me and blog posts that I read a day, did I want to particularly highlight Pat’s? Someone who I have never talked to online or in person? Of course because it’s relevant and well-written, but there’s something else.

It started with a tweet:

This is the second direct message she sent me, the first was even more targeted, saying something like “for the social media junkie” followed by the URL.

Let’s go back to CRM, according to Wikipedia, it

helps companies understand, as well as anticipate, the needs of current and potential customers.

Isn’t that exactly what happened here? Unlike the mass tweets about a “new blog post” (which I don’t mind at all), this really makes me sit up and take notice, because I know it’s a careful, considered move to bring the level of interaction one step closer (from general tweets to a direct message). And the reason why that step would be taken is because she knows that that post would be particularly relevant to me.

“So what” you say? Well, what if you could do that for your customers? Companies are obsessed about CRM, about data, interactions, trends and the like. And here they are in front of you. What if you knew Person A particularly likes a biscuit flavour that you happen to be bringing in? A personal email with an invite to be the first to taste it? Or an ad in the newspaper in hopes the general population will pick up on it and drop by?

It’s a lot of work, no doubt about it. But hey, people pay money for CRM software and hotels notice how guests shift their furniture so that they can do it for them for future visits. Is this really too much? Especially in Singapore?


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9 Responses to “Don’t Look Any Further. Social Media = CRM (Customer Relationship Management)”

  1. Benjamin Koe Says:

    I like the concept, but Twitter CRM works only for a blogger with friends. Have you seen the marketing system and database of say SingTel? =) You might change your mind then.

  2. Daryl Tay Says:

    Hey Ben, thanks for dropping by! Of course Twitter is just one method. Google Alerts will provide a good way to “listen in” on what your customers want/don’t want from you better than a form they filled in 6 months ago ever will. I’ve not seen the database of SingTel, but I do know Starhub keeps a pretty good database of people who call in with problems. Good step, but too reactive for me. But of course, the big telcos may not be the best example to use because they may not have the flexibility to cater to each customer.

  3. Pat Law Says:

    Thanks for your kind words, Daryl. I agree CRM is vital but the nature of Twitter should be best kept to lifestyle brands that can afford to indulge in a little bit of guerrilla marketing which is more informal and extremely visible to the Public’s eye.

    CRM needs to be kept personal, and often or not, private, for if not, it will just be yet another SPAM email or a A5 size leaflet shoved into your hands by some pamphlet distributor down at Orchard Road, no?

    Twitter will work on a personal “human-to-human” level, but for a good number of brands (in Beauty and Banking industries especially), a good CRM programme is engineered to work discreetly and directly in the back office. Twitter becomes inappropriate, ironically, because of its inexpensive and informal nature.

  4. Daryl Tay Says:

    Thanks Pat. Yeah I think in this situation Twitter worked really well, but it doesn’t always have to be. As I mentioned to Ben, the tools that can be used vary widely, and which particular tool is more applicable to a particular company also varies widely. Definitely not a “one size fits all” method and/or solution.

  5. brian Says:

    A lot of people have been discovering the “uses” of Twitter to connect with others.

    I must say say that Twitter is a great way to start listening to bloggers i’ve just discovered, and if they add me back.. it allows me to connect with them.

    ie. Twitter helps open doors

    This has been my experience, and i’ve gotten to know the Ping community better through the use of Twitter, everytime i’m on it, it’s like entering a chatroom

    But marketers and CRMers have got to be careful because if the interest is just to spam, they’ve merely found a new way to spam us.

    But if companies use Twitter as a way to really connect with the rest of us, then wow.. the medium gets amplified, and becomes more ubiqutious with use over time -)

    Good stuff there -)

  6. Daryl Tay Says:

    I must say that’s a concern I do have. Whenever people post about ways to connect, I wonder if a light goes on in a marketers head and says “ding! new sales lead!” because that’s totally the opposite of what they should be thinking.

  7. brian Says:

    Hahaha, hence Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin.

    and not just for marketers, but everyone in any industry.

    Old methods Vs. New Consumers.

  8. HighwayBlogger Says:

    Hi Daryl, interesting thoughts there.

    Imho, CRM can include social media to increase its scope and reach, but it’s not entirely social media – that’ll be too limited a definition of CRM.

    One of Social Media’s uses can be for CRM, but it can be used for more than that as well.

  9. Daryl Tay Says:

    @Brian: Total agreement!

    @Highwayblogger: Yeah it isn’t a one-stop fix for either. Like it doesn’t mean that using social media means throwing that CRM software out of the window, but it definitely can bring an added advantage over something just purely data driven.

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