popular-social-media-platforms.jpgDespite its initial function as a way for friends to socialise online, social media has quickly become an important way for businesses to communicate with their customers; and for those customers to tell businesses what they think about their products and the service they receive from them.

Statistics published in January 2012 on the Digital Buzz Blog revealed that:

  • 56% of people are more likely to recommend a brand after becoming a fan on Facebook.
  • 34% of marketers have generated leads on Twitter and 20% have closed deals on the site.
  • 30% of B2B marketers are spending a lot on social media marketing; yet 30% of those are not tracking its impact on lead generation and sales.
  • 23% of all internet usage is on social media and blog sites.

There’s more to life than leads

Although leads are obviously important, the fact that many marketers are not tracking which of their social media activities turn into sales shows that it’s not yet perceived as an integral element of the lead generation process. It should be though; the right CRM system can help marketing departments track interactions to see which become sales and which end up going nowhere.

This is important information as social media is not going away. Smart companies should be developing strategies and KPIs for their activities. In response to the results of a 2011 survey, PricewaterhouseCoopers has said that every company needs to be developing its ‘digital IQ, or integrating technology into its processes, to avoid falling behind. It’s not just about the technology; it’s about the people and processes that support it and whether or not it gets results.

Who should own social media?

Social media has been the domain of marketers since its crossover into the business world, but there are many who believe the real value from social media interactions can be delivered through the customer service department. CRM magazine recently published an article Social Media belongs in the Contact Center, which argues that this is the only department capable of managing large volumes of interactions in a timely basis. They do have a point.

But then what do they do with the leads? Many customer services employees won’t even recognise a lead when it’s sitting there on a Facebook page, as that is not what they are trained to do. So there is the danger that if marketing and customer services are not joined-up and can’t all access the same information, important business opportunities will be lost. Never fear, though – with the right CRM this won’t happen as all your business processes will be completely joined up and opportunities can be passed between departments with ease.