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How Associations will get ROI out of Social Media

The key to getting ROI

Social CRM is the key to getting ROI (return on investment) out of social media activity. It’s that simple… and that complicated. So what is social CRM, you ask?  Here’s our simplified definition, for membership organizations specifically:

Social CRM is the discipline of applying social media to membership management.

Breaking it down

Let’s break it down. Discipline means you’re doing social media work strategically, with organizational goals in mind.

Social media is more than just Facebook and Twitter. In this definition, when we use the term social media, we’re talking about:

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  1. Social data–data we collect about members lives, their interactions, and their connections on our own website, as well as public social data that’s available from platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google, to name a few.
  2. Social concepts–advanced thinking around ideas like online influence and online engagement that can be applied to our member data to impact online behavior.

Membership management is also more than it seems. In this definition, when we use the term membership management, we’re talking about:

  1. managing association members–both long-time, and first-year members who are most at risk of dropping their membership.
  2. maintaining contact with community members–former members, prospective members, students, and other stakeholders who care about the work of the organization.

And ROI, of course, is about money, pure and simple.  Either saving money or making money.

Social CRM is NOT…

  • a tool you buy off of the shelf. Regardless of what Google says. Hundreds of vendors say they provide “Social CRM solutions” – but none of it will work without the business philosophy and mindset behind it. Technology is only a small percentage of what SCRM is.
  • out of your reach. You’re certainly already doing some social CRM stuff, even if you don’t call it that. Adding fields to your database to capture your members’ Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn profiles is part of SCRM. Comparing the name of a person who requests to join your LinkedIn group to the member database before you hit the “accept” button is part of SCRM. Looking up names of other people in one of your member companies is part of SCRM. Figuring out who might be willing to blog about your upcoming event and help share to their networks is part of SCRM.

The only way to get ROI

Social CRM is the only way you can get to ROI – by consciously aligning your social media activities to your membership activities – through the business strategies you employ for recruitment, retention, outreach, and customer service.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s all too complicated and all too corporate for you. Don’t miss out. You’re doing this already.

Written By

Maddie Grant is author of Humanize and When Millennials Take Over, and is Founding Partner at WorkXO, a culture startup that helps forward thinking leaders in growth oriented organizations activate their workplace culture to attract the right talent, increase engagement, and unleash human potential through the Workplace Genome™ Project.


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