It’s a tale as old as time. True as it can be. Barely even friends…..wait, I’m sorry, I went all Disney on you for a second there, but the sentiment is the same. It seems like we’ve been having this conversation ever since we’ve been talking about Social CRM systems. There are two schools of thought and both have their merits.
First, let’s look at both arguments.
1) You can’t set up a successful social media infrastructure unless you’ve been on the networks and understand what steps are most important to your brand.
This is a common and well-formed argument against taking the time to set up a Social CRM system and strategy before getting familiar with the networks and the required actions for each. It’s true that the time and costs associated with a total overhaul (or added segment) to a company’s communication process can be great. Change costs quite a bit most of the time.
What if you spend all this time setting up everything and integrating it into your business and then social media and transparency fail your brand? Now you’ve wasted all this money and training time and you’re in the red and it’s all the damn Internet’s fault.
It can be a real hassle, so isn’t it better to get on the networks, apply your current communication strategies and see which segments of your target markets respond favorably and THEN take the take to frame your Social CRM around communications aimed at those markets?
Maybe, but first let’s look at the other side of this argument.
2) There’re so many options online and moving parts within your company, you can’t successfully communicate with all facets of your market without first setting up and understanding the infrastructure needed to incorporate those messages and internal paths.
Another strong argument with a base in well-structured logic. The Internet is a big place and with so many different ways to communicate, how can you possibly know for certain you are testing them all and truly connecting with your markets with out some sort of strategy in place to guide those efforts. New social networks seem to pop up overnight and some are only important in certain regions in the world (i.e. Orkut is the leading social network in Brazil, not Facebook).
How can you possibly keep everything straight without a dedicate, straightforward and encompassing strategy and internal training to back up those communications? After all, all good business actions first deserve a strong backing in research and strategy and smart businesses don’t just jump into new metrics and networks and succeed without months of planning.
Okay, do you want to know the answer and which one is the right way?
Are you sure?
Okay, here goes: It doesn’t matter.
Both statements are in the same moment right and wrong. The problem with these type of questions is that they are used at red herrings to avoid making decisions.
The correct way to approach this issue is to stop thinking and start from wherever you are right at this very moment with the resources you’re willing to put into action. If you already have social profiles and are communicating online, then start there and start figuring out how to increase your effectiveness by adding in a Social CRM system and strategy.
If you’re not on social media because you don’t know where to start, but are unwilling to put up the money because you aren’t sold on the effectiveness, then start small and test out a few networks popular with your customers then build up to a strategy.
If you’re online and wanting to increase your effectiveness, bring in a Social CRM system or consultant and use what already have in place to build an effective strategy and system.
Stop trying to stall the issue by arguing about “the right way.” The right way is starting from wherever you are right now and making things better for your brand.
You got it?
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