Social Media Sites: The New Front End of Social CRM System
In spite of all the technological transformation of social CRM and progress in system architecture, all CRM systems essentially record transactional information using pre-determined fields on the screen (front-end) to capture information in the database, and the company is in total control of conversation (should I say interrogation) with the social CRM customer at every stage.
Thanks to the rapid expansion of reach and effectiveness of Social Media channels, this is about to change. Social Media has empowered customers like never before as they can discuss brands/products on Social Media channels and companies have no control over what customers are saying about their brands/products. This discussion is visible to all including other customers, potential customers, and competitors.
The best any marketer can do is to Listen and Learn from what customers are saying and engage them in meaningful conversations. In other words, treat Social Media channels as the front-end of the social CRM system, capture all relevant information from Social Media channels in the database and use Predictive Analytics and Social CRM Knowledge Management tools to derive insights and help in decision making.
What is important to note here is that "Social CRM" is not a middle-ware or another layer in the architecture of social CRM systems, but it is the new front end of the CRM system, where customers decide the format and content of information.
It is the responsibility of the company to record and store all relevant information from Social Media channels and derives value from it by using Social CRM Predictive Analytics and Knowledge Management tools for effectively engaging customers.
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Types of Social CRM
Social media tools that offer a combination of CRM and social media management have two main categories: social CRM tools and social CRM software. However, most of the top social CRM platforms offer a combination of elements. In recent years, we have witnessed a new world of possibilities for social CRM platforms via integrations and extensions.
#1. Social CRM Tools
Social CRM tools primarily cater to customer relationship management and are often seen as a subset of social features incorporated within social CRM software. These also include a whole suite of functionalities that aid users with the social CRM strategy, sales lead generation, and marketing strategies.
#2. Social CRM Software
Social CRM is a great choice for businesses solely looking for something focused on the social media channel without making a commitment to an entire CRM package. These are not full-on CRMs, but they facilitate planning, scheduling, posting, and managing content for brand image and marketing on social media platforms. These can integrate with the CRM and aid users in streamlining their social CRM strategy and benefitting from an engaged social audience.
Top Choices of Social CRM and Software Tools
Gone are the days when social media was only used to find long-lost friends, stay in contact with your social circle, share text and picture updates, and scroll through your social newsfeed to view updates from your friends. With time, we all have witnessed social media become an effective and convenient marketplace. Businesses and brands now leverage data and easy connectivity to engage with their potential customers. Not just that, businesses also make use of tools to understand customer requirements and meet expectations.
With the choice becoming numerous and the competition fierce, picking the right social CRM for your business needs might come off as somewhat intimidating. However, we have put together some of the best social CRMs out there to make it easier for you. We will discuss the following social CRMs, their features, pros, and cons:
- Salesforce Social Studio
- Hubspot Marketing Hub
- Hootsuite Social CRM
Salesforce is a pioneer in CRM along with other workplace SaaS services, and it is a great choice for use as a social CRM. Its Social Studio is a part of the Marketing Cloud arm, that aids users in understanding customer sentiments, and improving community engagement and marketing intelligence. It offers an array of social CRM features such as responding to engagement, keeping tabs on mentions, organizing social media posts, recognizing logos, scenes, and objects, and more. It can identify your brand sentiments and streamline your social CRM content perfectly to route customer activity correctly. However, the downside to Salesforce social CRM is the pricey plans that have limited it to larger businesses only. Its annual bills stand at monthly rates of $1000 for the Basic Plan, $4000 for the Pro Plan, $12,000 for the Corporate Plan, and $40,000 for the Enterprise Plan.
HubSpot now offers a social media management tool as a part of its marketing platform, that works with its free CRM platform. With this tool, you can directly manage your landing page and/or blog and publish on all your socials such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. You can monitor all comments and mentions in a single inbox and make use of HubSpot social CRM reporting to compare customer engagement across different social platforms. While HubSpot offers a free plan, its better features are naturally only offered in the premium plans, which include the Starter Plan at $45 monthly, Professional Plan starting at $800 monthly, and Enterprise plan starting at $3,200 monthly.
Hootsuite is not primarily for CRM, but social network management is its niche. It integrates its social CRM with all the top social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn Google+, WordPress, YouTube, and Pinterest. It has a customizable dashboard and various app extensions are available in the Hootsuite directory. Hootsuite social CRM has analytics and custom reporting, and it enables you to stay on top of social media trends and share relevant content. However, its top social CRM features are only included in the premium plans which are billed annually with the Professional Plan priced at a monthly $49, Team Plan at $129, and Business Plan at $599. Its Enterprise Plan has a custom quote based on your unique business needs.