Posts Tagged 'twitter'

Twitter died yesterday, what did you do?

Twitter got nailed yesterday like a 98 pound quarterback. It was so bad that it’s still spotty.  What happens when something so tragic occurs?  Well, I cried on my couch for an hour. Here’s how my day went…

First thing, I woke up and tried to tweet. Page Cannot Be Displayed. Arrgh.  Checked my connection and it was fine, so I Google “twitter down”.  There were only a few relevant results. Most of them from the past.  I thought, how would news be delivered immediately if Twitter is down?

Then I got to thinking.  So many people in such a short time have built entire businesses and marketing plans around Twitter.  It’s like the Gold Rush but more frantic and a little more stupid. Twitter is just a tool as is everything else. And clearly fallible.

How does this affect CRM?  Well, think about CoTweet, a great CRM tool for Twitter. Their business sucked yesterday. What happens to them if Twitter is attacked next week?  Great product, great company, terrible position to be in. What about all the businesses relying on CoTweet to handle their CRM needs?

The million (or billion) dollar problem is not accessibility and network stability. It’s using to few channels for building and managing customer relationships.  Twitter, Facebook, other social media sites are fantastic.  But they cannot be relied upon so heavily.

The promise of Social CRM is connecting companies to customers in the social networking space.  But that’s not enough. It needs to bridge the gap between online, offline, social, and automated communication. As well as sentiment and analytics of course. We need tools to help build better relationships all around. To transform fleeting digital profiles into real-live breathing loyal customers.

Thoughts?

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Fight, Fight, Fight! Social CRM battle on Twitter #scrm #crmus

This week was bloody. There was savagery in the Twitterverse. And it was awesome!

Here are some of the more vocal warriors:
Prem Kumar Aparanji
Mitch Lieberman (added!)
Brent Leary (oops, wasn’t involved…but still a sharp guy!)
John Moore
Esteban Kolsky

I loved this friendly “battle” because it was trying to solve a problem. I don’t think it was solved but it sure was fun and got everyone thinking. Isn’t that the purpose of any great conversation?

The discussion was over the nomenclature for Social CRM.  One side said it’s Social CRM (#scrm) another side said it’s CRM Using Social (#crmus). Still others said it’s #ivehadenoughofthisarguementcantwealljustgetalong. I doubt the actual term matters much. Semantics are important. But cart before the horse.

Just a few days prior, everyone is discussing what social CRM even IS?  How can you determine semantics unless you know the definition and purpose!  One of my consulting clients is in the same boat. They’ve launched a new social platform for he medical industry.  It seems every day they are trying to come up with the terminology for the web UI. But most of the discussion is actually trying to figure out the true benefits and function of the platform!

HOW WILL PEOPLE USE IT?

This is the one question that needs asking to determine the semantics and nomenclature. The key to developing excellent terminology is discovering the user’s mindset while using the tool.

In regards to Social CRM.  How will people use these tools?  More importantly, how do they WANT to use the tools?  I don’t think there are any great Social CRM tools out there yet. People are integrating social tools and CRM tools. But it’s more than just a simple API integration. This new Social CRM era must be rethought.  Kind of like Google Wave.

It will be another year before these definitions get nailed down. So many companies are trying desperately to build tools that are effective and useful. But the market mindset seems to change every day.

Maybe the answer is not to build “new” tools but to look at the way people have been interacting forever and build tools that reflect those attitudes and behaviors.

Social CRM is about context

When people interact in the social world, everything is about context.

If I was having a conversation with a friend about the state of the economy and he suddenly said “pickles go great with peanut butter”, well, that would be weird.  Yet that’s what most businesses spend their time and marketing dollars on. The customer is going through their day with all sorts of worries, concerns, desires, dreams, and to-dos. The marketer comes along and says, “Look! A great deal on my widget that is totally unrelated!  Please buy!” No wonder businesses are falling apart.

CRM has sought to understand and refine sales pitches and processes based upon past customer behavior. But that method is old school. And alone, it is quickly losing effectiveness.

Social networking is 100% about what’s going on in the person’s mind–right now.  The merger of this is where the company leverages the social communities to discover the precise conversations and engage with customer right then.

I just Tweeted about a problem I was having with Hootsuite. My goal was to get a recommendation for another Twitter client to use. Before anyone else responded Hootsuite replied to me and tried to solve my problem. We had a conversation. And they kind of solved it.  But more importantly is that my search for a new platform virtually stopped. I’m thinking, “If a company is this fast and responsive with problems, maybe I should stick around.”

Key takeaway points:
1) Hootsuite was listening
2) They responded
3) They were personal
4) They tried to solve my problem
5) They started a reliable relationship

Consumers don’t expect perfection.  They crave acknowledgement and effort. They want their vendors to try and improve. They want engagement. Hootsuite won today.  I wonder how many other customer complaints entered the Twitterverse and went completely ignored?

If I hear it one more time…

I use Google Alerts to watch certain search terms.  Every day I get an email with the latest blog and web content with the term “Social CRM.”  Roughly every other day there is a post somewhere about Twitter becoming Social CRM.  What?!  If I hear that one more time I’m going to vomit!

Customer Relationship Management

That’s what CRM stands for.  Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, and even LinkedIn are more about people watching that managing relationships.  And Twitter is the worst offender of all of them!  Facebook and LinkedIn have at least built in some features to interact and move toward the “management” of relationships.

Twitter is an awesome tool, no doubt. I tweet almost every day.  But it is not CRM.  It will never be CRM.  And what’s worse is all the talk about it distracts us from finding the real meaning and execution of Social CRM.

Use Twitter for what it is.  A massive dynamic and honest forum to monitor the vibe of your product and company in the marketplace. It is not a useful tool for building and managing trustful relationships that result in sales.

Please stop.  Let’s have more meaningful conversations instead of trying to get good search rankings by putting Twitter, Twitter, Twitter in web content.

The Right Question To Ask

Couple quick thoughts. I saw the blog post title “What are people thinking about buying?” over at www.socialcrm.net.  The post itself is a simple word cloud of current Twitter activity.  But the question made me think.

This question sounds like the typical response to the social media craze.  Companies look on social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for buzz about their product or industry.  Marketers look at this massive amount of collaboration and networking as the ultimate eavesdropping tool.

The lazy marketer thinks, when I hear a buzzword related to my product I need to quickly insert my advertisement in front of the interested party.  Sounds like a virtual street market.  This is the most rudimentary and immature style of selling.  Shove a product in someone’s face until they buy.  Then quickly scramble for the next sale.  I think this is why most companies are finding it difficult to monetize social media.

A better questions to ask is, “What are people complaining about?”  Wherever there is pain there is profit!  People that have problems are loud and open about those problems.  And problems are the key to successful sales.  Great example from a British bra company. Every product and service (should) solves a problem.  And smart marketers know that the best way to sell is to identify the problem and position their product as the perfect solution.

Rather than just looking at certain “buying” buzzwords, look at the “complaint box” buzzwords.  A lot of times people complain without realizing there is a solution to a problem.  Especially if they’ve lived with the problem for any length of time.  People are more likely to engage with you in social media if you are talking about their pain versus just pitching your product.  Remember, they are in social mode not buying mode.

Finally, in economic tough times, people buy less for the sake of buying (as during boom times) but still buy a LOT to solve problems.  In fact, the more severe the problems (economic strife) the more people will seek out solutions.  Bigger pain, bigger gain (for you).

Twitter is not Social CRM

I’m in the middle of writing my Social CRM Manifesto. So I’ve been doing a lot of research on the topic. It’s pretty funny how many different opinions there are on it. It seems that most people think Social Networks + CRM = Social CRM. So, they add a Twitter feed into your CRM contact details.

What does that do? It’s like you are a high-tech peeping tom. So, you’ve got everyone’s life activity scrolling in front of you. Does that help you sell better? Or does it just add more work keeping track of everyone?

The social networking world is not about just watching what other people are doing. That’s maybe the start. What really happens is that people make decisions on what to do based upon what their network is doing. We hate making decisions in a vacuum, we want validation of the decisions we make–from movies to watch to things we think. Social networking “helps” us make better decisions.

Social CRM needs tools that help salesmen, buyers, and companies make better decisions.

For buyers: What’s the best vendor? How to I protect myself?
For salesmen: Where do I spend my time? How do I sell better to that person?
For companies: Where do we market, allocate resources, and invest?

I don’t think anyone has defined Social CRM yet. Maybe they’re too scared. Maybe they just don’t know. I’m hoping that my Social CRM Manifesto will get us past the definition phase and into the actual creative part. Love to hear feedback!