social-crm.jpg.jpgCustomer relationships are the most important ones we can nurture when it comes to marketing and building our brand loyalties. It would be hard to think of any profession, conventional or otherwise that doesn’t benefit from excellent customer relationship management. We have to nurture these relationships as they help to tell the story of our brand in a positive light.

One of the advantages of social media is that it allows us to talk directly to our customers, regularly and they, us. This is why it is so important to respond to your social media messages and customer, post responses. Nothing builds brand loyalty like making customers feel like you care. So it behooves you and your customers for you to set up some sort of social monitoring system so that you can not only communicate with your customers, but you can hear them. Customers will always tell you what they want, you just have to listen.

Media Temple, a premiere hosting company that I once used, integrates, as part of their customer service workflows, answering support questions via their Twitter channel. The response is sometimes even faster than logging onto my hosting account and submitting a ticket. Utilizing your social media channels in this fashion is just plain smart business and excellent CRM. Why? because over a third of the adult population online utilizes social media. (Pew Research Center, 2015) This means that the best way to initiate conversations with your customers is going to be through one of your social media channels; it’s where they hang out. Also if you’re not sure which social media platform your customers hang out, Just ask them. You have the means to include social media questions in your forms.

There is a surfeit of applications that will help you monitor your social media channels. Effectively, they allow you to listen to your customers with a more conscious ear.

  • Hootsuite
  • Buffer
  • HubSpot
  • Salesforce
  • Sugar CRM

The application list above is a very small list in a large pond and obviously, you have to choose the solution that best fits your budget. Having used all but the Salesforce solution I can say that they all have some great advantages as well as disadvantages. This is not to say that Salesforce is a difficult application to use, and the thing to remember is that no company wants to make their application hard for you to use, so if you have any propensity to learn new applications then you could probably use this one with ease. I will mention, though, that Hootsuite is doing great things for the ROI you get, so you might want to start there. But no matter how much money you spend on the application, your best resource and asset is going to be the team you’ve invested in to run it.

The bottom line, though, is that you should be listening to your customers and utilizing your social media channels to do this will only improve your customer engagement and thus your brand loyalty, the most valuable commodity in this competitive world.