The days of “spray and pray” are over.

Today it’s not enough to blast out a single marketing campaign to all your prospective customers and hope it connects with a few of them. Thanks to social media, individualized marketing campaigns can now be targeted at highly select groups and even individuals. What’s more, marketing is no longer a one way street where companies dictate how they want to engage with customers. Today, social media lets customers decide how they want to engage with vendors. No wonder then that Social Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has become so popular. It’s no longer a question of “why use it” but “how”. Below are some great ways to use Social CRM to improve your company and products and boost sales.

Listen and Learn

At its most basic level Social CRM is about listening. The new online conversations allow companies to listen in on what prospective clients are saying about their industry, products, competitors, clients and more. Most importantly listen to what they are saying about your own company. You’ll be surprised. Customers today are commenting not only about your products and services but also your website, ads, ordering process and more.
Tracking Technology

Gathering information on social media could potentially be done manually. The real value of Social CRM however is achieved by using new surveillance software that will enable you to gain key insights by carefully filtering the web and social media. With dedicated Social CRM technology you can track different combinations of topics across multiple platforms. It can also search sites like LinkedIn for specific professions in precise industries and build you a list of prospective clients. By automating the process you’ll spend less time searching and more time selling.

Get Engaged

It’s not enough to merely gather information. Once you have mined the social media websites and forums for data, use it! You need to turn it into actionable business intelligence that will help improve your company and sell better. One of the hardest tasks for sales reps is simply to score face-time with clients. Surveillance software can pinpoint specific questions customers have on a given topic. Armed with this information, sales reps now have a specific reason to contact the prospect. They can approach them online and answer their questions directly or send them a link to an article or video they may find interesting. Later, after building up a relationship, online sales reps can call up these prospects directly.

Micro-Targeted Campaigns

Using social media you can aim ad campaigns at highly defined groups. For instance, via Facebook you can micro-target campaigns at people who work at a specific company or organization.

Get Out the Vote

For a product manager, gathering and sifting through marketing data related to new products and features can be extremely difficult and time consuming. A much easier way is to use social media to get customers to vote on new ideas you may have for a product. Better yet, let customers vote on ideas they themselves have come up. This is a very fast way to find out what features and products are most desirable to the consumer.

Customer Communities

The old way to get customer service was to search endlessly through a company’s website or place a call to their customer service line and wait on the phone for hours listening to bad music until someone graciously agreed to take your call. Now companies are fielding service calls online in real time on Facebook and Twitter.

Another great option is setting up a customer community forum where customers can help each other with similar problems they have faced. After all, if one customer has a question chances are others have the same one. Why answer it privately dozens of times when you can post it once for everyone? Allow customers to create searchable support cases and receive help from other customers and staff. You will end up creating your own wiki like online help.