We often hear clients and prospects say that they are active in social media, they are active in social media channel A, B and C, and they talk often.
Too often, though, that’s it.
A discrete function acting separately from other parts of their organization.
Often, their social media and social web engagement activity is an extension of the corporate communications function. This is often implicitly an extension of reputation management programs.
Valid and legitimate, but not the total social story.
The social web and its power to improve sales and marketing return on effort and return on investment gets really interesting when also deployed in the pursuit of customer and prospect relationships.
Both are the precursor to sales.
It gets better-still if you integrate reputation management, long-lead development, pre-sales, post-sales customer relationship management, account development and more with the social web.
The social web doesn’t replace any of these disciplines, nor does it replace any of the existing systems already being used to service these functions.
It doesn’t need to. That’s the point.
The social web, and it’s ‘repository of relevance’, those millions of snippets of intelligence coupled to those thousands of individuals who are talking on the social web, should be connected to these other systems and processes, in particular to the CRM system.
Here’re two cases in point: one company we work with is using the social web to engage with influencers by first understanding who else is talking about topics it cares about and that are relevant to its business, and feeding that data into its relationship development programme. It knows which of these individuals are its customers so it also knows when to tread carefully.
Another is methodically working through a list of influencers that we have previously identified using the social web who are active in its market, working with these individuals on content management and on sharing its products with these individuals’ own communities and networks. Sales follow.
Don’t compartmentalize the social web: integrate it into your business.