In today’s hyper connected world where individuals have a wealth of information at their fingertips through the web and a variety of social media channels, you may or may not be surprised to hear that on average 57% of customers have gone through the buying cycle before they ever contact you. That’s why the idea of integrating a social strategy into your marketing and sales initiatives is becoming increasingly important. However, for many the idea of a social strategy still remains a rather abstract concept that they’re not really sure how to implement.
Microsoft’s Virtual Convergence offers a great session on implementing a successful social strategy, watch it here.
Note: Clicking the link above will take you to the virtual convergence site. On the right hand side of the screen, you’ll see an option to log in or register. Choose the option that’s appropriate for you. Once registered and logged in go to “Sessions”--> “Microsoft Dynamics CRM” and then look for a tile labeled, “Getting Started with a Social Strategy.” Once you’ve found it, click the play button to view the session recording.
For those of you who prefer to read or can’t devote the time to watching the full session right now, here are the 7 steps Francois Ruf, Principal Group Program Manager for Dynamics Marketing and Social Listening outlines for successfully implementing an integrated social strategy that goes far beyond simply opening a Twitter or Facebook account:
- Start by Listening: Utilize Dynamics CRM’s social listening functionality to discover where your customers, prospects, and stakeholders communicate with one another online. Once you know where they converge, you can dig deeper to uncover what they’re saying, who the biggest influencers in the group are, and how they feel about your brand, and/or product(s)/service(s).
- Research your competitors: Find out what they are currently doing in the social space. If what they’re doing looks like it’s working for them you can emulate in your own business. If on the other hand, their social tactics don’t look as though they are generating results, knowing this will help you better understand what not to do.
- Make a business case for social: To do this you must think about how you will align your social goals with your overall business key performance indicators (KPIs) and decide how you are going to define social success. Hint: counting followers is not enough. A good KPI should link your social efforts to the leads, revenue, cost reductions, changes in customer satisfaction, etc. that they create.
- Evaluate tools and vendors: there are a wide variety of social tools available for businesses today, so take your time combing through resources like the CRMSoftware blog to fully evaluate your choices and choose the solution that best fits your unique needs.
- Build a roadmap for integrating your new social tools into your business practices: Having a roadmap helps users better understand how their social efforts should fit in with their already existing processes. For best results, these roadmaps should spell out the entire process from beginning to end. For an example of what this might look like if you wanted to use social tools to help nurture and reward your brand advocates, see screenshot below:
7. Get executive buy in: As with any new business project, especially one that directly relates to strategy, getting buy in from key leaders is paramount. Having an executive champion your new social strategy will help demonstrate its importance and encourage others to adopt it.
With the next several releases of Dynamics CRM, Microsoft will be working hard to further integrate the various social tools it has acquired, Insideview and Netbreeze into the CRM user interface, making it a one stop shop for organizations who want to get serious about competing in today’s social landscape.
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By: Laura Heinbockel, Intelligent Technologies, Inc., A NC Dynamics CRM Partner