More and more businesses of all sizes are using social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter and Foursquare, as a way to better engage customers and increase sales. However, just having a Facebook page or a Twitter account is no guarantee of success. So to find out how small businesses (and larger ones) can successfully use social media to enhance their customer relationship management (CRM) and improve sales, I spoke with two social media CRM (or social CRM) experts, Pamela O’Hara, the co-founder and president of BatchBlue, the maker of BatchBook social CRM software, and Margaret Donnelly, the vice president of marketing and business development at JitterJam Social CRM.
Below is a truncated version of O’Hara and Donnelly’s top 10 ways small business owners can use social media to improve CRM and generate more sales. You can find the expanded version of the list in my article for eCRM Guide, “Ten Ways Social Media Is Changing Sales and CRM.”
Top 10 Ways to Use Social Media to Improve CRM and Generate More Sales
1. Use information gathered from social media sites and your CRM system to help you target your marketing to key segments.
2. Monitor sites like Facebook and Twitter and Yelp to uncover potential customers and find out which customers are influencers.
3. Similarly, monitor leading social media sites, as well as forums that are pertinent to your business or industry, to learn what customers are saying about your brand and your products (for better or worse).
4. Think of your company blog and your Facebook page (as well as sites like TripAdvisor, if you are in the hospitality business) as customer service tools — especially for countering negative comments.
5. Think of your Facebook and Twitter followers as a free focus group, for trying out new product ideas.
6. Use social media sites and your company blog to build community — and seek out new opportunities.
7. Use sites like Foursquare, Facebook, and Twitter to offer friends, fans, and followers exclusive promotions and discounts.
8. Use social media sites, as well as blogs and forums your customers are likely to visit, to establish yourself as an expert people want to buy from.
9. Use your Facebook page, as well as photo sharing site Flickr, to let customers get to know the people behind your business, as well as other customers. (People tend to buy — and buy more from — businesses they feel they have a connection to or know.)
10. Use YouTube to educate your customers, by posting helpful how-to videos about your product(s).