Social media has grown at a rapid pace in the past decade. More than 300 million people are on Facebook now, and Twitter is growing at an even faster rate. Beyond the two social media staples, Millennials and the soon-to-be adults before them are using more and more social media sites to share content, connect and act as consumers.
The sales world, naturally, has found ways to take advantage of the social media evolution. Sales teams have tapped into the social media landscape to find consumer interest, prospective clients and build relationships with customers. The results of social media customer relationships management, or social CRM, has resulted in a multi-billion dollar industry. Social CRM applications and strategies are common among sales teams and boosting productivity. Sales people have had to adjust their sales game to the social media world, while customers now expect to be engaged regularly in that world.
But what now? What is the future of Social CRM? How will it be used years from now?
The future of social CRM might be entrenched in its ability to make profit on a consistent basis, but its future also relies on the ability of sales people to continue reaching generation after generation.
Recommended for YouWebcast: Your Viral Voice: How to Create Conversations that Convert to Sales
The Washington Post ran a post from Venture Beat that explored the challenge the business world faces while mastering one generation’s technological evolution and waiting to see the fruition of another. The article, titled “Why marketers need to get to know Gen C,” read:
“This generation will push even farther the principles we are just starting to master to connect with Millennials. This group turns 18 in just 4 years. Will you be ready to reach them? Some things to consider: Forget Facebook. Well maybe not completely, time will tell. But one thing’s for sure: To reach this audience, you’ll need to go beyond the ‘social staples’.”
While it is important to understand the leading social media sites, it is also in your best interest to look beyond them and incorporate the up-and-coming sites into your social media CRM monitoring tools and apps.
Other social media sites, such as Pinterest and Path, are on the rise and can offer more insight into the customer’s habits. You need to familiarize yourself with the sites, so you can better relate to your customer down the road, too. The article in the Post continued to read, “The generation that expects immediate interactivity will also demand the ultimate personalization. Jaded by marketing, they will need to be convinced of why what you are selling is relevant to their particular areas of interest.” Clearly, the post points out, one of the best way to prepare yourself for the future of social media CRM is to arm yourself with information, so you’re ready to relate to your customers.
Some also believe the future of social media CRM lies within a business’s ability to have its customers interact with its social media presence for profit. For example: Share X product with your friends and contacts online across a variety of social media platforms, and we’ll provide you X product at a discounted rate. Essentially, you work with the customer so they work for you. Win win.
The health of social media CRM also depends on sales people’s ability to use it effectively. Sending links, posting videos and posting announcements to your company’s Facebook page is not enough. You have to engage the customer, according to CRM Magazine. In the future, sales people will be most successful when they learn how to exist within the confines of a social media landscape instead of an advertising one.
If you’re on a social media site, you need to engage with consumers accordingly. You must put the robotic sales pitch aside and engage the consumer to earn their loyalty and trust. A bland statement or factoid about your company will do no good. Instead, post a video or question costumers can respond to to get a conversation going. Once the conversation is moving, you gain valuable insight into the customer’s needs, and you’re better able to sell your product. Once you log those notes into your social media CRM tools, you’ll have a more comprehensive profile of your consumer base.
Social media CRM, if approached correctly while being willing to change as generations flux, will likely evolve into an inherent part of overall customer relationship management. Social media CRM guru Thomas Wieberneit essentially said the same in an interview with GetApp.com when predicting the future of the ever growing market. “I do see the term ‘Social CRM’ vanish soon and be merged back into CRM,” Wieberneit said. “CRM inherently is social.”