When you think of social networks, you may think of nothing but pictures of college students at parties or teenagers complaining about their parents. While there’s undoubtedly a fair share of that going on, social networks can also be used to connect with clients. While nothing can replace personal, one-on-one contact when it comes to maintaining and improving client relationships, social networks – when used properly – can be an invaluable tool in keeping your relationships current. Naturally, you don’t want to waste your entire day on Facebook without anything to show for it, so here are some tips to maximize your productivity online.
If you don’t already use Facebook or LinkedIn, take the time to create an account on each service. While LinkedIn is more commonly a business service and Facebook a personal service, the lines between these two are blurring rapidly. Additionally, the clients you want to contact may not have accounts on both, so its best to cover your bases.
However, merely making an account won’t set you up with contacts to your clients. For that, you’ll either have to search for them by name, or use import utilities that can search your e-mail address books. The process may seem intimidating now but both websites are great at walking you through the process and encouraging you to connect with those you already know.
The platforms’ reputations may be concerning you – after all nobody wants to appear too informal to a client. Facebook started as a service exclusively for college students in 2004, eventually branching out and allowing anyone to create a profile. However, it’s a generally accepted practice for businesses to communicate through Facebook these days, so don’t worry about this affecting your reputation.
Of course, you need to make sure you don’t go too overboard with social networking communications. Believe it or not, there is an etiquette, based around online communications, that some business owners violate. This occurs when business owners consistently blast communications out to all their connections regardless of the messages or the recipient. Nobody wants to be consistently badgered with offers and communications that have nothing to do with them. After all, that’s why spam folders exist. Because of this, you need to consider the message you’re sending as well as who you’re sending it to. Otherwise, you may inadvertently annoy your clients, causing them to block communications with you.
And finally, you may be curious about Twitter. If you’re unfamiliar, Twitter is an almost stream-of-consciousness communication service that limits broadcast messages to 140 characters or less. Any message you broadcast will be visible to anyone following you, while you can view any messages broadcasted by those you follow. While this can be an efficient communication platform, the ratio of noise to info here is still very high, as it is commonly used for relatively unimportant personal thoughts or aggravations. Mixing your business communications with these messages will dilute your meaning.
And yet, connecting with your clients through social media is only half of the experience. To truly sync up with your clients, you’ll need to follow them as much as you want them to follow you. Luckily, CRM software has a number of utilities to help with that. Microsoft Dynamics CRM in particular will allow you to directly integrate your LinkedIn profile through the application. This will not only let you easily track your clients’ comings and goings, but will even pull relevant data over to your CRM records.
Want more info? Download the white paper: White Paper: How to Use CRM to Measure the ROI of Social Networking
By CRM Software Blog Staff. Find a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Expert