Social media mesh with conventional CRM- Part 1
Why the obvious path may not be optimum
Just a quick overview of the social media and the key platforms before we dive into it.
There is Facebook: for mainly social networking but increasingly finding uses in professional networking too. And then, there is Linkedin, the most well-known site for professional networking, job-seekers and head-hunters. Lately, there is also Twitter, providing a unique microblogging platform.
Also, think of your own blogs, which help to flesh out your profile both professionally as well as personally. My current business partner blogs, more regularly than I do. When we met for the first time to sound each other out, this was a common ground and it helped me, as I came back from the meeting to “reconnect” with internet, to go through his blog, understand his persona and feel happy about my instinctive gut-feel decision to enter into “holy matrimony”.
Whether you blog as yourself, or on behalf of your employer, you leave a part of you open to your reader. You share, you solicit and you learn. But, others learn too; sometimes as much about you as about the subject you are blogging about.
How much do you know about your key business contacts beyond what is printed on their visiting card? Do you make an effort to connect with them on forums which are not sponsored by your company or his? Is it all business, especially all driven by deals?
How many of your key customer contacts are your Linkedin contacts or Facebook friends? How many of them have signed up for your Twitterfeed?
You are on FB and LI, aren’t you? And Twitter? If you are, good. It’s an important first step. Next step is to invite your key business contacts into your space.
They will come, first because you requested them. But, they will stay if you have interesting things to say about things that interest them, if you point them to internet resources that enrich their knowledge, if you come across as someone who is not always looking to make money off them and has expertise to share and perspectives to offer on a range of interesting subjects. And, the reverse is true as well. If nothing else, it helps to know the person before you meet him, even if “virtually”.
It’s like courtship. Even if all parties know the actual objective, does it pay to singularly focus on just the objective and even talk about it? Or, should you first prepare the ground, by establishing your credentials? Remember our first dates were rarely one-to-one; we always met among many people because it was non-threatening.
And, social media is great too if you want to deepen engagement and provide reasons for your existing customer to continue to like you. It tells him, you are working hard at continuing to be in business and earn his future business.
I can see you asking, “How do you capture all these in your neat CRM universe, though?” and “How do you measure the results against your efforts?”
Loaded questions. Let’s cover the answers in the next post.