It’s impossible to track the activities of your consumers on social media. This was once true, but then Social CRM appeared.

Social CRM (or SCRM) is the integration of social media channels into Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms[1]. Thanks to SCRM, companies can communicate with their customers on the platforms that are more convenient for them (for example, the Facebook messenger or Instagram Direct).

In 2017, 34% of customers used social media to ask a question related to the service, and 47% of them even considered this an effective customer service channel.[2]. SCRM helps not only to track interactions with brands on social media but also to build long-term relationships with customers, as contacts fall into the database. Also, using CSRM, you can identify brand advocates and subsequently reward them for their active participation in your social media.

Thus, the main functions of SCRM:

  • It gives a more complete picture of customer interactions with your brand. 
  • It involves the audience in a «live» dialogue. 
  • It monitors the “mood” of your brand’s mentions in social media, helps to identify advantages, disadvantages, unusual ways of using your product.
  • It displays all interactions with your brand on social media on a convenient dashboard. 
  • It combines your SMM and sales strategies into a single system.

Let’s see how SCRM works, using the Max Factor case in China as an example. In 2016, the company launched a new SCRM to replace the obsolete CRM. As part of this, they did the following (Fig. 1):

  • They introduced a loyalty program that encourages consumers who interact with the brand on social media.
  • They linked data from online and offline sources to better track customer interactions with the brand.
  • They collected detailed customer data to set up automatic messaging in real-time.

Figure 1. Examples of Max Factor SCRM activities.

Thanks to these actions, the company was able to better understand its customers, increase employee engagement and quality of service, attract new customers and increase the average check. These are very impressive results!

SCRM really helps companies better understand their customers, solve their problems faster and become a part of their daily lives. But do all clients need the brand to be so close to them and know so much about their lives? After all, it turns out that with the help of SCRM, companies practically monitor the actions of their customers on social media. And so the question arises, where is the line between «the brand understands me» and «the brand follows me.» Would you like the brand to notice all your actions on social media or should there be any boundaries?




9 комментариев

  1. I suppose that brands don’t follow the customers. Of course, they can track our actions in social media. But the word «social» means exactly this. We share our thoughts, pictures and videos with millions of people. We don’t know them and don’t trust them, but still share. Companies don’t harm the privacy of people. There are two main arguments. First, companies don’t use the information about customers for personal profit. They don’t interested in our personal lives. Their purpose is just to monitor our interactions with brands. All collected data is used only to improve communications with customers and the products themselves. Second, when customers interact with brands in social media, they receive a notification about the using of their personal data. Only if they accept this condition, companies can get the data.


    1. Thank you for your feedback! In this case I agree with you that companies aren’t interested in our personal lives. But of course they use information on social media for their personal profit because this way they get feedback about their products and services, find out the mood and values of their buyers. They use this information fo their development but of course for us it’s for the better. On the other hand, our data (ID, phone number in profile, e-mail) can be taken from social media and used for newsletter, targeting advertisement or other business purposes without our agreement. It can be annoying.


  2. I sincerely thank the author for her incredibly clear and linear way of explaining a topic that most of the readers could be unaware of, or might find difficult to concretise and understand.
    In my opinion, what she refers to as «the brand follows me» is that awkward feeling we have when an advertisement or banner pops up, showing exactly what we had recently spoken or even thought about.
    The fact is that, this is exactly what SCRM is mean for: addressing a specific product to a specific user, through the collection and inference of data.
    So, does that mean that SCRM is «too effective»? In such case, if it actually undermines sales because it upsets people, should companies withdraw, from SCRM? Sales figures and trends suggest that SCRM is actually (very) effective.
    Those who voluntarily interact with Brands’ social profiles are actually willing, to be provided a more personalised product of offer, whereas those who do it unwillingly or actually don’t want to be part of the monitoring process, simply cannot escape from it.
    They cannot do much about data gathering and personalisation of the offer from companies; the only thing they (the «rebellious» consumers) can do, in order to oppose them (the companies), is not to click on the advertisement or on the «purchase» button.


    1. Thank you for your feedback! It’s true that SCRM is very effective and I totally agree with it. To be honest, I’m glad when the company answer me when I write some post about it or make Instagram stories. It’s great that the company monitor the social media and answer their users. It makes us feel valuable and heard. On the other hand, the feeling that you mentioned (when we see the advertisement of products we discussed right now) is really scaring and not always pleasant. But of course in near future it will become usual for us.


  3. First, kudos to Olga for a very clear and easy-to-follow article.
    I hate to use this answer, but, as for whether brands should be able to notice all my actions or not, “it depends”. Studies show that there is an element of discomfort to an extensive hounding of customers. And it’s not just in social media. I myself dropped by a KFC once but didn’t order, and I guess they purchased my GPS data from Tele2 because the same evening I had KFC advertisements on every webpage I accessed.
    I believe brands have to use the data they are provided with by customers or get the customers’ consent in some form. I dread the day my phone wakes me up with a message “Hello, Evgeny. It’s your son’s birthday in two days. Why not buy a toy train for him? He googled toy trains a lot this past week.” This is the definition of discomforting.
    One more thing. Olga went into great depth on the topic of making it easier for customers to communicate with brands through social media, but I think the opposite also has great potential. Establishing social media as a communication channel for the brand to reach the customers. Instead of performing TMC through e-mail or SMS brands can use apps like WhatsApp or social networks such as Facebook for a more personal feel. But first – consent. Explicit consent. In our age of necessary precautions in cybersecurity, it is a must.


    1. Thank you very much for your feedback and for that you touched so important topic of agreement and protection of personal data. It’s not surprise that sometimes companies use our personal data without our agreement, for example, they buy it from telecom companies or find on illegal resources. Of course we should be protected from this invasion of privacy. But sure companies should use the power of social media to keep in touch with their buyers, get their feedback and maybe even become «friends».


  4. Gorokhova Daria

    Answering Olga’s question, I wouldn’t like to be followed but it seems that we don’t have choice nowadays. As for me, one of the important aspects of SCRM is ability to increase customer service and on the excellent level work with negative and positive feedback in different channels including social media where people are likely more will share their opinion on your product or service. When you have implemented social channels to your CRM system you will get the full picture of word of mouth around your service and customer satisfaction.


  5. Хуэйлинь Чжоу

    In this material, the topic and relevance of using Social CRM are very detailed. The author structurally describes the transition of brands to a new communication platform. Nowadays, communication with the consumer is one of the most important and sought-after services.

    The listed SCRM functions are widely described both for current use in marketing practice, and for future brand promotion. An interesting approach is the rapprochement of brands with consumers, an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages.

    The described case study of Max Factor in China clearly describes the steps for closer interaction with customers in 2016. In my opinion, this example may be useful for further research in this field. In this example, the advantages and disadvantages of SCRM are clearly visible. It is important for companies to stay on the verge of professionalism in relation to consumers, not to be “the brand follows me”.


  6. Лян Цзинкай

    The article makes a very relevant point. Currently, the problem of using personal data is an acute problem in the whole world. The main features of SCRM are presented. The topic is widely disclosed, an actual example of Max Factor in China on establishing a new type of communication is shown.

    As for my personal position, I can say the following.

    Despite the developed communication channels, I would not want the brand to fully follow me. I do not want my data to fall into the database. Of course, SCRM tools are so developed at the moment that I, as a person, do not have to solve this myself. But I would like more privacy to me as a consumer. And the further companies develop SCRM, the more difficult it is for me to maintain privacy. My social networks should not be associated with a brand or brands. I want to make my own conclusions and choices.


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