What The Heck Is Social, Social Business, Social Media and Social CRM?

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LEADING THOUGHTS It seems everywhere you go you hear about the effect that Social Media will have on all of our lives. I thought I’d take a few moments to share what the words Social, Social Business, Social Media and Social CRM mean to me. I hope that defining these words will lead to a better understanding of the topics we will be covering in our future blog posts.

What is Social?
Put simply, something is “Social” when it involves an interaction between individuals or groups. People display social behaviors everyday through the interactions they have with their customers, co-workers and friends. Being Social deepens relationships, making it the common denominator between three critical – and increasing integrated – elements of today’s business: Social Business, Social Media and Social CRM.

What is Social Business?
Conducting Social Business is simply the art of interacting with customers on a more personal level, in order to find opportunities to listen and engage. Business people have been social creatures since the beginning of time. They have practiced Social Business by inviting clients to meet with them in a more casual setting outside the business environment in places like restaurants, clubs and golf courses. They also practice social when they pay attention to ”Whats on the Walls” and behind the desk of the people they are meeting with. In the old days I would look at the photos of my customers and at the degrees and awards on their walls. These tips gave me clues about their background and ideas of common ground that we could connect on. These interactions lead to deeper connections, more trust and eventually more business. If you wonder how come, just think about this: People buy from people they like and they like people who know them. We cannot know someone without listening to them and when we truly listen, people will tell us exactly how we can engage and succeed!

What is Social Media?
Media is simply a communications channel. In the old days, business relationships were built one-to-one through personal communications, but ‘Mad Men’ took over these channels in the 50’s and used mass media to shout messages at customers to get their attention and encourage them to buy. Mass marketing has become less effective as the volume of messaging has mushroomed and overwhelmed the customer. Social Media is an evoulution of the Media channel.

Social Media is the name for the collection of tools (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and many others) that we use to be Social via the Web. These tools are sweeping our world and are being adopted at an astonishing rate by individuals and businesses. Yet, many people still have misunderstandings about what these tools are and how they can or should be used. A common assumption is that “Facebook is for people looking to hook-up with their high school sweetheart, LinkedIn is for people looking for a job, and Twitter is for propeller heads”. Do not make this mistake! All of these Social Media tools (and many that you have never heard of) are powerful tools that your competitors are using as part of their strategy to steal YOUR customers today. Businesses are using Social Media tools to re-establish and practice the old art of one-to-one communications on a global scale.

What is Social CRM?
CRM, for Customer Relationship Management, is an acronym that has been assigned to the evolution and consolidation of a variety of tools that manage the customer life cycle. The Wikipedia definition of CRM is a “strategy for managing and nurturing a company‚Äôs interactions with clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes, principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support. The overall goals are to find, attract, and win new clients, nurture and retain those the company already has, entice former clients back into the fold, and reduce the costs of marketing and client service.”

Social CRM is achieved by blending the power of CRM, i.e. managing and nurturing customer interactions, with the benefits of Social Media, i.e. listening and engaging, to create deeper, more trusted relationships with your prospects and customers. It is not a replacement for CRM, rather an extension of it that enables companies to do Social Business on a broader scale than they could have done with traditional CRM. By combining CRM with Social CRM strategies and tools, companies are now able to listen and engage their customers in the communities where they are talking to create the deeper relationships than ever before.

Nimble expands on the traditional notion of customer relationship management, empowers small businesses to engage any individual where they are talking, and helps them transform those individuals into long-lasting customers.