Social media as the silver bullet?
You’re using social media, and at this point, keeping in touch with your sphere of influence (SOI) through Facebook and Twitter is nothing new. Therefore, a database or contact management system isn’t really required, right? Well, not so fast. Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus are not CRM (customer relationship management) tools. In fact, classifying them as such can lead you down a slippery slope.
To begin with, it’s important for any business to have one consolidated place to store all client and prospect contact information. You know – phone number, email address, mailing address, and so forth. There’s not one social media platform today where you easily do this. But there’s much, much more that social media platforms are incapable of. Let me share some of what this is.
CRMs boost social media efforts
Many who believe that social media is a viable substitute for a CRM solution don’t fully understand what a CRM system can, in fact, do. With a good CRM or contact management system, you can record and track your communication history with a particular client or prospect. You can create drip email campaigns to automate your marketing communications and nurture your leads. You can create automatic reminders (or “ticklers” as some like to call them) to remind you to wish a contact happy birthday or to plan a client appreciation night. You can run reports to see where your best leads are coming from, a list of appointments for a particular day, and/ or a consolidated transaction summary or service report. I’m certainly not aware of any social media channel that’ll allow you to do these important activities.
It’s many times essential to be involved with social media because it’s often where your clients and prospects are. Social media gives you an opportunity to engage in a two way dialogue with your sphere. That being said, social media channels compliment a CRM system, they don’t replace one.
Let’s say you’ve worked with a client in the past and years have gone by without communication between both parties. This client likely won’t even be interested in “liking” your Facebook page or following you on Twitter because, quite frankly, he’s moved on. A CRM system will help you make sure the client doesn’t move on and forget you but uses yours services time and again. You’ll never stop building the relationship and you’ll always be “top of mind.”
The bottom line is that Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus alone simply do not provide most of the functionality you need in order to build a business based on long-term client relationships and referrals. Social media is great but when we overestimate what it can do, what it’s capable of, and its effectiveness, we lead ourselves down a dangerous and slippery slope.