There’s been some talk lately about abandoning traditional CRM technology and just sticking with social networks for a company’s Social CRM needs. What with customers’ voluntary disclosure of personal likes and dislikes, location changes, job changes and personal updates, and more, social networks are practically a treasure trove of important information. So, logically shouldn’t people just stick with the free services that offer them loads of information about their client bases?
I’m going to argue that while Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are extremely important aspects of a successful Social CRM strategy, you should not, and ultimately cannot, abandon the central software for a third-party network without consequences.
I’m actually going to start this with the logic behind the argument against my own position. I want to express that I think these tools are worthwhile and should be adopted in some fashion outside of central focal points.
I read a blog recently that put it this way:
If a customer likes your brand and then writes something about your brand in their status, their friends and friends of those friends will see it as advertising, as a “story” on your brand page and will even have it incorporated into other areas of FB. Unlike the old days of figuring out how to pace your contact to your customers and the “how” and the “why” – now all you need to do is spend time on Facebook and let the perpetuity of Facebook “virility” spread far and wide.
That’s one of the better arguments I’ve heard about why using Facebook as a CRM (or an FRM) would work. The logic behind it is solid: people are hanging out on Facebook so you no longer have to track them down and they’re willingly adding their own information so you don’t have to spend man hours keeping track of it on company time.
Sounds good, right?
Not so fast.
The Forgotten Flaw(s) of FMC
It’s true that people put their information willingly into Facebook and share on Twitter etc, but that’s exactly what they’re doing. They are adding their information to Facebook, a network you do not own and have no control over the rights to. Who’s to say that next week Mark Zuckerburg won’t wake up and decide that businesses should no longer have access to personal information. However unlikely it may be, you’d have no control over that move.
The most dangerous thing about social media activity is that the majority of it is done on third party applications. The idea of ownership is a big deal in CRM because you need to own the customer information that you are basing your communications on.
Outside of that, Facebook doesn’t have a detailed enough listening platform to truly drive and steer your efforts. You want a more involved system that will allow you to not only remember customer accomplishments, but listen to a wide variety of keywords and phrases that are important to your campaigns at the same time.
Your communication efforts are integral to your social strategies and listening is the most important part of that process. Facebook and the other networks don’t allow you to listen as thoroughly to conversations as you should. For that you have to step outside of the platforms themselves and bring in a more integrated system.
Again, don’t get me wrong, Facebook is one of the greatest social accomplishments of the past many years, but you can’t really base your CRM efforts completely on a third party network you don’t own and control. For that, you need something a little more complex.
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