This is a point of constant discussion and much debate. While everyone argues that the strategy is the key part of a social strategy, or social CRM as it is known in some circles, the reality is we often fail to define social strategies that do not count on social media tools to get the job done.
If you review my definition of Social CRM you will find:
“CRM is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation to give mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It’s the company’s response to the customer’s joint ownership of the conversation”
I too believe it is strategy first. So…. Can you deliver value on a social strategy that does not leverage social media tools? The real answer is that it depends upon your business. Many small, local community, stores have done exactly that for years. So too have local governments. Medium and Enterprise businesses, Federal Agencies might be able to do so as well, but the inefficiencies make it less practical, not scalable.
Small, Local business already understand the value of mutually beneficial relationships, of that joint ownership of the conversation. When a customer stops in to buy products that are not available, the store owner and the customer discuss the need and find a solution that works for both. That solution may be for the store owner to stock the product or it may be a recommendation to buy elsewhere. An exchange of need, possible solutions, and eventual resolution keep customer and owner in a position where both achieve value.
These one on one conversations are not scalable, however. Human beings do not scale without the help of processes and technologies. If no one yet owns that one, lets call that “John Moore’s 5th Law of Social Strategy”, has a ring to it. Anyway, that is why we so often shift the broader conversations to these processes and technologies. However, here are a few solutions for you to consider, as small business owner, to scale your social strategies with little to no technology:
- My brother in-law runs a small business and regularly sends out calendars to his customers, reminding them of key dates throughout the year. Tips on insurance, budgeting, and taxes add value throughout the year and keep customers remembering this small business.
- Want to easily raise the bar? Create a Facebook fan page, a simple twitter account, or SMS (text message) feed and push this information throughout the year.
- Thank you best customers with local town coupons, gift cards, and the like. Again, those customers that bring you the most value should know that and be rewarded for that.
- Raise the bar by creating loose partnerships with local businesses and look at newer technologies like Foursquare, fairly easy to use, to offer coupons or discounts to your business. Maybe every 10 cups of coffee they buy at the coffee shop next door results in a 10% off coupon at your store for sleeping pills.
These types of ideas work, at least for a couple of small businesses I am familiar with. They are either low or no technology and give mutual value to customers and businesses. What is holding you back, if anything, from ramping up your social strategies today?