By Chris Bucholtz
We talk a lot about Social CRM (SCRM) and the potentially complex ways of using it. Sure, there’s value in collecting customer data from social, and from listening to sentiment. It’s very helpful to discover the right conversations and engage with your customers (or customers of competitors). It’s the right thing to do to spot service issues and funnel customers with problems to solutions insider your organization. Really, the list is as long as you imagination.
“But where do I start?” I hear business leaders ask all the time. Actually, many of them whine this. It’s sad, really.
The problem here is that people tend to see SCRM as a collection of new things. It’s not – it’s a collection of things that is growing, but there’s a foundation of aspects that are the same. It did not spring fully formed from Zeus’ head – it’s more like a snowball, rolling down hill and picking up stuff as it goes.
One of the first things it picked up was the blog. The lowly blog – it’s been with us for a while, and it’s often forgotten. Even significant companies have blogs that languish, uncared for and forgotten. I half-expect to see a commercial featuring Sarah McLachlan imploring us to take action to rescue the lost and forgotten blogs. (And yes, that commercial will make you cry.)
But the blog ought not be forgotten. It has a lot of utility – and it’s a great first place to start your social CRM endeavors.
Today, I presented a webinar on topics relating to social media and sales. I used some examples of businesses using social media tools for sales; one of them was the company run by a friend of mine who we’ll call “Roy.” He makes parts for scale model aircraft (which have gone a bit upscale as the buyers have aged, much like model railroading). He’s got the necessities to run a one-man company and to make a living off such a very niche market (website, ecommerce, etc.), but even he’s seen how social media – even social media with training wheels – can pay off.
He publishes to his blog regularly – about products, aviation history, and anything he thinks his customers will be interested in. It helps that he’s as passionate about the subject as his customers (which is probably the secret sauce in all social media efforts for business). He also promotes these new posts on Twitter, Facebook and on subject matter-focused social media channels to help drive traffic to the blog. He also makes sure he responds to comments and encourages conversation.
Because Roy’s business is pretty simple, it’s easy to gauge the effect of these efforts. Here’s a revealing statistic: on days when he posts to his blog, sales are 21% higher than on days when he doesn’t post.
Of course, that doesn’t mean he posts every day – that would be abusing the audience. He posts when he has something to say or is excited about something – and that rubs off on his customers.
So, if you’re struggling to figure out where to start, don’t forget the blog. It may seem old-fashioned (relatively speaking) and it may require a bit of thought to maintain, but if promoted correctly and filled with the right content, it can spur customer conversations, attract prospects and boost sales.
The webinar, by the way, can be viewed here. Take a look!