There are many reasons why we talk about Social CRM here on this blog. Granted, it is the sole purpose of this blog’s existence, but there had to be a big enough demand to call for us to create this in the first place.
It’s no surprise that businesses are changing. More and more companies are adopting social media policies and activities every year. The given fact behind this shift is one that is talked about less though – companies are changing because customers are changing. We now have corporations acting social because we are in the age of the Social Customer.
Who Is The Social Customer?
In his book Everything Bad is Good for You, Steven Johnson makes a very strong case as to how modern television, movie and video game complexity are actually making our culture smarter instead of dumbing us down like everyone seems to think. He feels the rise of the Internet has also perpetuated this trend, saying this about online interactvity:
Almost all forms of online activity sustained are participatory in nature: writing e-mails, sending IMs, creating photo logs, posting two-page analyses of last night’s Apprentice episode. Steve Jobs likes to describe the difference between television and the Web as the difference between lean-back and sit-forward media. The networked computer makes you lean in, focus, engage, while television encourages you to zone out. (Though not as much as it used to, of course.) This is the familiar interactivity-is-good-for-you argument, and it’s proof that the conventional wisdom is every now and then, actually wise.
Since the writing of Johnson’s book (in 2005), we’ve made great strides in social TV and advertisement interactivity, shrinking the gap even further between how we live and how we take in media.
Nowadays, your Social Customer takes in world news on Facebook and Twitter, talks to friends on social channels about new products and services, considers herself to be knowledgeable and savvy about anything and can get the information if that proves otherwise and expects your brand to be present and engaging in the places that she is present and engaged.
That’s a whole new ballgame from the days of pure “lean-back media”.
Understanding The Social Customer
Since you’re no longer thinking of bringing a Social CRM aboard simply because “everyone else is doing it” or because “some awesome blog told me I needed to”, but rather bringing one aboard because you want to connect with your Social Customers, let’s break down and understand just who this Social Customer is. Here are three very important points to remember about your Social Customer:
- The Social Customer Doesn’t Need You – If I want something, you can bet your ass I can find it and purchase it myself. The Social Customer doesn’t need you to inform them of what needs they have or entice them with pretty girls to come buy your stuff. The Social Customer wants and needs you to answer one simple question, “Why should I buy from you?” Welcome back to the days of marketplaces where relationships matter (cRm). You’d better be willing to get back down into those relationship trenches and really prove your worth and get people’s attention.
- The Social Customer Expects To Hear From You – The Internet is a hullaballoo of anything and everything under the sun. Your brand popping up on Twitter to answer a question or point to a solution isn’t going to surprise anyone. It’s true, you might not own the conversations being had, but you never really did. Get over it. There are a lot of excuses not to jump into the fray and fight your way through the noise of the Internet, but if you have something great to say and people’s ears are tuned in on you, it’s WAY easier to keep their attention than shouting at the whole room. Listen and find those people having the conversations you want to have and focus on them. They’re expecting to hear from you anyway, after all.
- The Social Customer Doesn’t Want To Be Sold To – It’s true in relationships and it’s true on the Internet, the people on the other end of your conversations want to be talked with, not at. That’s why a Social CRM is so vital to your presence on the Internet. You have stuff to sell to meet your bottom lines. People need your stuff for one reason or another. But people don’t want to feel like they are being sold to. It’s a tough tightrope to walk, but it’s what needs to be done in this marketing channel.
It’s true that each new medium bring along a specific set of challenges and that social media has shifted the foundations of what a lot of businesses and brands believed for a long time, but the truth is, just as our customers are shifting into Social Customers, our communication tactics need to shift to meet their needs.
You aren’t investing in a Social CRM because your company needs it, you’re investing in a Social CRM because your customers do.
P.S. Be sure to check back with us on Thursday when we talk about some of the necessary components and tools you’ll need in your Social CRM.
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