Social CRM Explained: Definition, Principles, & Examples

Shubham Gupta

January 8, 20247 min read

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Have you ever felt swamped with customer messages and comments on social media? Yeah, it feels like chaos, right? You want to talk to your customers and keep track of everything, but it's just too much to handle sometimes.  

As your business gets bigger, it's hard to manage customer relationships with just a regular CRM system. That's when you need a CRM that also works with social media. 

So, today, we'll be explaining what social CRM is exactly, and we'll be talking about the features that’ll help you change the way you connect with customers. We'll also be showcasing real-world examples so you get a fuller idea of how you can foster better customer relationships. So, let’s kick things off with the meaning of the term. 

Table of Contents

What is social CRM? 

A social customer relationship management (social CRM) system integrates social media platforms with traditional CRM software. Unlike standard CRM, it's not just about emails and phone calls. Socially enabled CRM also works with social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and many more. 

Having this type of CRM is vital in today’s world as customers are always talking about your brand on social media. 

A social CRM lets you respond quickly to customer problems. It also lets you record that interaction. This helps build better relationships with your customers over time. 

Social CRM vs. traditional CRM: The evolution we all needed 

Ever wondered why some brands are winning at customer engagement while others lag? The answer often lies in their CRM strategy. So, let's understand how CRM with social media potency has evolved to outshine traditional CRM.  

Basis 

Traditional CRM 

Social CRM 

Channels of interaction 

Primarily email and phone 

Extends to social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others 

Interaction style 

Mostly one-way and company-to-customer 

Two-way, customer-centric and interactive 

Focus areas 

Sales, marketing and data management 

Customer engagement, relationship-building and social listening 

Customer engagement 

More passive as it logs history and interactions 

Active and interactive as it engages customers in real-time discussions 

Adaptability to trends 

Might be slower 

Swift in adapting to current customer sentiments 

Traditional CRM systems have their strengths, but they're becoming the rotary phones of the smartphone age. To stay ahead, you must turn to modern CRM solutions that leverage AI to personalize customer experiences and satisfy them. 

CRM-based data on a Sprinklr dashboard

Source 

Deep Dive: 3 effective ways to improve customer engagement on social media 

3 must-have features of a robust social CRM platform 

As we covered, if you want to improve your customer engagement, a social network CRM platform is a necessity. It should have a few key features to boost your brand's relationship with customers. Here are three essential features that will change how you talk to your customers:  

  • Social media integration: This is your front line. All social media platforms should sync seamlessly with your CRM so you never miss a customer query or comment. This feature will make your responses swift, and it will amplify your social presence. 
     

  • Real-time engagement: Time waits for no tweet. A powerful social customer relationship management tool allows you to engage with customers in real time. This eliminates lag and makes your brand feel more personable and attentive. 
     

  • Social media analytics: Data is the new gold; you can mine it with social media analytics. Know who your customers are, what they want and how they feel about your brand with social media CRM. This actionable insight is vital for any brand’s customer relationship strategy.  

Another thing worth noting is that if you want to connect better with your customers online, you need an effective social media management tool that works across all social media platforms. This will ensure a positive experience for your customers at all social media touchpoints. 

Also Read: Omnichannel customer engagement: How to manage effectively 

Benefits of deploying social CRM in business scenarios 

In 2022, 4.59 billion people were using social media. By 2027, this number is expected to touch nearly 6 billion.  

A Sprinklr dashboard displaying potential KPIs

Source 

So, if you're making a CRM strategy, you can't afford to ignore social media. But just being on social media isn't enough. You also need to engage people. So, how can using social CRM help your business in this digital era? Let's take a closer look. 

Elevate social care 

A social CRM system can make a world of difference to the way you handle customer inquiries on social media.  

  • Quick response time: When customers voice concerns on social media, you can swiftly address them with social media CRM, preventing public complaints from escalating.  
     
    Example: Imagine a customer tweeting about a late delivery. Instantly picking it up and responding not only solves the issue but shows that your brand cares. 
     

  • Unified customer data: It aggregates data from various social media channels, enabling you to provide informed, personalized social media customer service.  
     
    Example: A returning customer won't have to speak about their history with your brand; it's already there on your agent’s screen for them to provide an informed solution. 

Also Read: How to leverage social media for improved customer experience 

Craft targeted marketing campaigns 

Social CRM provides you with a 360-degree view of your customers, helping you create effective campaigns. 

  • Personalized messaging: You can tailor marketing efforts based on social data, ensuring you send the right message to the right audience.  
     
    Example: If your analytics data shows that a group of customers loves a feature of your product, a campaign that highlights that feature is more likely to resonate. 
     

  • Real-time feedback: Social CRM lets you track your campaigns' performance in real time, so you can adjust your efforts as you go.  
     
    Example: If a product launch isn't generating buzz, you can tweak your social media strategy immediately.  

Read More: Personalization is the cornerstone of effective marketing and here's why 

How to create a social CRM strategy in 3 easy steps 

Ready to turn those social media likes into lasting customer relationships? Crafting an effective social media CRM strategy is something you must emphasize. Here are some vital steps you ought to take to get the ball rolling. 

Step 1: Assess your brand's current social presence and engagement  

Before you start using social media for customer service, take a step back.  

  • First, look at your brand's presence on social media. Are you active on the platforms where your audience hangs out? 

  • Then, check how well you're doing by focusing on your brand’s social media metrics. Count the number of likes, shares and comments you get. 

Manual checks are good, but you can do better with AI-powered insights tools. These tools gather the required data for you. They also turn this data into actionable insights so you can understand and engage your customers better. 

Deep Dive: 9 ways to boost your brand's share of voice on social media 

Step 2: Set clear objectives and KPIs for your social CRM approach 

Having laid the foundation with a thorough assessment, it's time to pinpoint what you want to achieve.  

  • What do you want to accomplish? 

  • Better customer retention? 

  • Faster response times? 

  • Personalized marketing campaigns? 

Define your objective clearly. 

Next, you need a way to know if you're reaching your goal. This is where social media KPIs (key performance indicators) come in. Choose metrics that match your goals. These could be things like how many people click on a link or how happy your customers are. 

Consider using AI-powered marketing analytics software for a more nuanced approach to measuring success. They help you set and track your KPIs. They also give you detailed data and visualizations to help you understand how you're doing more easily. 

Also Read: 5 social media customer service metrics to track 

Step 3: Continuous monitoring and adapting based on feedback and analytics 

Keeping up with the digital world is a must. So, you need to keep an eye on your social customer relationship strategy, which is why the importance of social media monitoring can’t be stressed enough. Make sure you're always checking your numbers to see if you're meeting your goals or KPIs. 
 
Customer feedback is also important. Listen to what your customers are saying. It’s valuable information that’s coming straight from the horse’s mouth. 

The best thing about social media tools is that they're flexible. If you see a drop in customer engagement or get negative feedback, be ready to make changes based on social media sentiment analysis. Use this information to adjust your goals and KPIs. Then change your plan to engage with customers better. 

Read More: How to respond to customers on social media (Examples of how to do it right) 

Leading the pack: Two successful brands excelling in social CRM  

In a world where digital interactions can make or break brand reputations, let's see how Bosch and Max Factor raised the bar in social media CRM, transforming challenges into opportunities. 

1. Bosch's social CRM case study: Targeting trades on Facebook 

In 2010, Bosch faced a challenge with its B2B social media platforms. They had two go-to platforms: Facebook and their bespoke community “Bob.” The primary issues were: 

  • Determining which manual trades preferred which platform 

  • Understanding the value of Facebook fans compared to Bob Community users 

 Challenges they faced: 

  • Bosch's Bob Community had 460,000 visitors and 35,000 registrations, while their Facebook page had only 4,000 fans 

  • Bosch needed to assess if their Facebook investment was reaching the right demographic 

  • The company wanted to foster relationships with brand advocates on Facebook who could influence others' purchasing behaviors 

 How they overcame the issues: 

  • Bosch employed the Social Insight tool by Globalpark to monitor its social audience  

  • This software collected and analyzed both qualitative and quantitative data 

  • The tool integrated with the Facebook fan page and gathered users' profile data and feedback, offering a comprehensive consumer profile  

Results: 

  • An above-average number of Bosch's Facebook fans were woodworkers, which led Bosch to double down and tailor their approach to this group 

  • Only about 11% of Bosch's social media users were active on the Bob Community and Facebook  

  • This indicated that their strategy to target a new group on Facebook, primarily vocational trainees, was successful 

Bosch's strategic use of social CRM software allowed them to understand their diverse audience better and efficiently target specific trades on the right social media platform. 

2. Max Factor China's social CRM case study: Boosting customer loyalty  

Max Factor, a U.S. cosmetics brand, faced multiple challenges after entering the Chinese market in 2009. The key issues were: 

  • Rising competition from both old and new players 

  • A decline in new members and their average value 

  • Limited understanding of customer behaviors 

  • An outdated, confusing loyalty program 

 How they overcame the issues: 

  • Max Factor collaborated with a digital agency specializing in social network CRM to launch a new CRM system and a revamped loyalty program in July 2016 

  • The new program aimed to attract more members, stimulate larger purchases, encourage repeat buying and retain loyal customers 

  • Social behavior data was used to develop loyalty with potential customers 

  • Online and offline data was integrated through WeChat and a tagging system, providing detailed customer insights 

  • A member and distributor communication system was established, which sent real-time, customized messages via WeChat 

Results: 

Four months after implementation, Max Factor reported: 

  • Deeper customer insights 

  • Enhanced employee engagement and customer experience 

  • A rise in new memberships and average purchase value 

Max Factor successfully leveraged social media CRM to rejuvenate its customer loyalty program, gaining deeper insights into customer behavior and boosting both engagement and sales. 

Challenges in implementing social CRM 

Every new idea has challenges, and social CRM is no different. To do well, it's important to know what problems to avoid. Let's talk about these issues and how to get past them. 

Social CRM Challenges 

What do they entail? 

How to tackle them 

Data security concerns 

Social media CRM requires handling massive customer data, including personal information. Breaches could damage customer trust and result in legal repercussions. 

Opt for CRM platforms that prioritize data security and feature advanced encryption and two-factor authentication. Regularly update the software to address any vulnerabilities. 

Scalability issues 

 
As your customer base grows, so do the data and interactions. A system that works for a hundred customers may not suffice for a thousand. 

Choose a scalable, cloud-based CRM solution. Ensure it can grow with you, accommodating a larger customer base without performance hiccups. 

Team training and onboarding hurdles 

New tools mean new training requirements. Your team has to learn the ropes quickly to make the most of the CRM platform. 

Develop a comprehensive training program that covers all the features of your chosen CRM. Offer regular workshops and refresher courses. Also, make learning resources available for self-paced study. 

Wrapping up 

With real-time analytics, the social CRM approach not only gathers data but turns it into actionable insights for personalized customer interactions. It helps you strategically assess your social presence and tackle key features, preparing you for challenges like data security. 
To ensure consistency across multiple touchpoints, Sprinklr’s local social platform streamlines collaboration between corporate teams, ensuring an authentic, unified customer experience. With this tool, your brand is primed to excel in today’s interconnected digital landscape. Book a demo with us today to make your customer relationships that much tighter. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Social CRM (customer relationship management) integrates social media channels with traditional CRM to manage and engage with customers. Regular CRM usually focuses on email and phone communications alone.

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