There are many kinds of social media vehicles available today – blogs, wikis, memes, message boards, and podcasts, among others. And, more types of online social outlets are being introduced every day. But, what are these channels, which ones are likely to have the greatest effect on CRM 2.0, and what will their impact be?
The goal of CRM 2.0 is to foster more open and honest bi-directional collaboration and information-sharing between existing and potential clients and the companies they do business with. The following social media channels can make that possible, helping organizations to create and implement more successful CRM 2.0 strategies.
These days, everyone has a blog. Analysts, vendors, and even consumers are publishing and maintaining their journals in cyberspace for all to see. Leading analyst firm Forrester Research claims that 22% of adults (the potential buyers that most CRM 2.0 initiatives are aiming to reach) read a blog at least once each month.
Blogs can serve as terrific CRM 2.0 tools in two ways. First, blog posts can be monitored and analyzed to gain a better perspective on the needs and opinions of a target audience, as well as the marketplace as a whole. This insight, in turn, will lead to more effective sales and marketing strategies, and ultimately, higher revenues.
Additionally, companies can create their own blogs to open the lines of communication between staff members and existing and potential customers – a key objective of CRM 2.0. These businesses can use their blogs to educate, provide information, answer questions, and more.
If there is a group of Web users with similar characteristics and interests, chances are they have already started or participated in a message board, an online community where discussions can be held among multiple people from across the globe.
This is also true for buyers. Many “user groups” seeking to speak to other customers but frustrated at the lack of such a forum on their product or service provider’s Web site have formed their own communities via one of the thousands of available message board hosting services.
Companies looking to facilitate a successful CRM 2.0 strategy by obtaining a more accurate picture of what customers think of their offerings – directly from the clients themselves – can benefit greatly from identifying and monitoring such user group message boards. Businesses can better identify what customers really need and want and enhance products and services accordingly.
Additionally, companies can further enable CRM 2.0 initiatives, using these forums as a means of conducting “real-time” market research, polling existing and potential clients about product plans or promotions, or starting discussions about emerging trends or key industry topics.
Nothing helps drive CRM 2.0 success – improving reputation, increasing market share, and boosting revenues – than positive word of mouth. The use of sites like MySpace, LinkedIn, and Facebook are on the rise, with Forrester Research studies showing that approximately 19 percent of adults are currently subscribing to at least one social networking community.
These sites can help companies create an extended network of clients, partners, analysts, and industry experts, all of whom can “endorse” the business and its offerings. This enhances CRM 2.0 activities by providing prospects with some validation – and perhaps confidence – that they are making the right decision by purchasing the company’s products and services.
Additionally, by asking clients to add their feedback about products and services to an online networking site, companies create the perception that customer opinions truly do matter to them. This can foster greater trust and goodwill, and build stronger, mutually beneficial relationships.