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3 steps to better connect with customers through social channels

Don't overlook the importance of a solid foundation of customer data to improve how you connect with customers through social channels.

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“We typically see organizations with a 30% lift in response rates when using social properly.”

—Jonathan Block, VP-practice director, technology at SiriusDecisions.

Thanks to social media and other online forums, customers can now trade opinions quickly and easily in ways they never could before. You can take advantage of innovation to connect with customers in the same way. Develop an ongoing strategy around social channels that will allow you to influence and inform not only current customers but future ones as well.

According to Jonathan Block, VP-practice director, technology at the consultancy SiriusDecisions, "we typically see organizations with a 30 percent lift in response rates when using social properly1."

But how do you ensure you are capitalizing on social networks? The key is engaging with your customers before they have made their decisions. According to Block, social media is most valuable to marketers and potential customers in the later stages of the purchasing funnel, when prospects consult peers about vendors and product options.

Here are three tips to point you in the right direction:

  1. Get a 360-degree view of your customer. Do not rely on only one data source. Forward-thinking marketing and sales leaders bring together multiple sources of data for their campaigns. The idea of a "360-degree customer view" is not a new one. Now the technology exists to get closer by integrating data from teams across your organization.

    It is important to know who your customer is by integrating your internal systems and making that data readily available to your sales and marketing teams. Without the data to create an informed sales and marketing strategy, you can only hope for success.

  2. Layer on social network data. Complete your 360-degree customer view by integrating the rich customer data from social sites into your CRM system to capture customer sentiment. Unify your perspective of your customer by including all the platforms they use to interact with you.
  3. Build reliable data for predictive analysis. Predictions are only as good as the data used to generate them. Take advantage of a holistic customer view to analyze and predict what and how to sell to your customers. Use historical data to track their purchases and gauge satisfaction levels. Identifying customers’ current needs can help you anticipate their future ones. Identify whether traditional or social campaigns will be the most effective in cross-selling and up-selling relevant offers to your customers.

A successful social media strategy can transform your sales and marketing efforts. You can react quickly to alerts about negative reviews. You can monitor keywords and unlock potential sales opportunities. And, by identifying your customers’ favorite social networks, you can pinpoint the best way to allocate your marketing budget.

It is easy to get excited about the opportunities afforded by social networks. Do not neglect your internal efforts to share data across your organization, however. Use your customer data in your CRM system to build a foundation. Without that, data from social engagements cannot contribute to your 360-degree customer view.

For details on elevating your social sales engagement, watch this video tutorial on integrating your CRM system with Twitter.

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Citrix

Citrix uses Informatica solutions to gain complete customer insight on all products