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Social Media and CRM - Short Paper


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A Short Research Paper providing knowledge about current trends in internet marketing and social media to improve customer relationship management.

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Social Media and CRM - Short Paper

  1. 1. UNIVERSITY RESEARCH PAPER Social Media and CRM Short Research Paper By KATHAN BHATTA Short Research Paper providing knowledge about current trends in internet marketing and socialmedia to improve customer relationship management.
  2. 2. Social Media and CRM Kathan BhattAbstract:A new media and medium is in existence for human beings to communicate, express andshare. The increased internet usage and its simplified accessibility through various portabledevices have resulted into a new platform for both the consumers and organizations.As the new culture is in existence, it has started replacing the traditional “publish and view”perception. People now-a-days prefer to interact, engage and share their experiences usinguser centric platforms provided on the World Wide Web. It influences the freedom of act toeveryone over internet. Any internet user is capable to write a comment on a writer’s,business conglomerate’s or celebrity’s blog and expect a reply.There might be varying reasons for everyone to participate in online social activities, but thecontent that is created by users have been resulted into dynamic web where the consumersof content are tuning out to be prosumers (provider + consumer). It helps sharing ofinformation among peers as well as with big media players and other organizations. TheWeb has become a dynamic content provider for people allowing them to participate invarious activities.This paper is an effort to identify various opportunities on Social Media, study the presenceof corporate in Social Network and suggest some concepts that can help an organization toenter into Social Media.1. INTRODUCTION:Over a last decade the Internet has contributed a lot in changing our life – both from abusiness as well as social perspective. Currently the industry expert’s calls Web 2.0 as anextreme set of innovative tools that is far beyond internet surfing and website publishing.Web 2.0 has enabled us to interact with everyone quickly and easily with little or no cost.With over billions of people accessing internet on daily basis it has become a new world ofinteraction influencing major change in Social behaviour.The World Wide Web: In 1989 a scientist at CERN named Tim Berners-Lee invented WorldWide Web, with the aim to provide links to any information from anywhere.Generation First – Web 1.0: It was introduced to public in 1993 along with the release ofWWW. It was originally targeted for static information access by merging personalcomputers, computer network and hypertext. Most of the websites were only owned myinstitutes and organizations. Users were able to access the information that has beenalready published using navigation through link directories. Minimum information wasavailable and no personalization existed during those days (Agrawal et al, 2011).Generation second – Web 2.0: With the help of evolving Web technologies and increasedinternet penetration, consumers turned out to be prosumers. They not only consume thecontent but also started contributing over the Web. Consumers become content providers.As a result of which: a read-write web was introduced with user generated data. An era ofSocial Media started bumbling with numerous conversations where user can share, tag, postand discuss about various contents that include: books, forums, photos, music, movies, 2
  3. 3. Social Media and CRM Kathan Bhattevents, articles, products and places. Some example websites for all such activities are:Amazon, Blogs, Flicker, Netflix etc (Agrawal et al, 2011).With the growing awareness, the corporate world started paying attention on their onlinefootprints. Utilizing the Social media and controlling the online reputation become a part oftheir routine PR activity promoting their role from providers to participants. Along with thisCustomer Relationship Management (CRM) adopted a new meaning by redefining itself asE-CRM. All this led to a new movement of branding where the individual users startedcontrolling the brand. This made advertisers and marketers keen about identifying the waysto influence online behaviour of individuals to help promote their brands in quick and easyway without legal involvement giving birth to a new business term called Social MediaOptimization (SMO).Consumer Social Networking: The concept of online Social Networking became dominant in2007 along with the success of two social networking applications: MySpace and facebook.Their success story relies on the fulfilment of a simple need – to connect and socialize withothers. None of us can argue its success statistics as there are more than 200 million peopleactive on one or more social networking sites.Considering facebook as the most popular Social Media website, the total number of activeusers are 800 Million as on September 22, 2011 with monthly growth rate of 3.73% (source:Wikipedia).Corporate Social Networking: With a noticeable growth in number of internet and socialmedia users, the corporate world started realizing the business benefits of Social Media. Itmotivated them to define new business strategies for corporate social marketing bystepping into Social Media creating a new benchmark.2. IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE REPUTATION FOR BUSINESS:Down the ages, word of mouth (WOM) has been considered as the best medium forinformation propagation, and today the Social Media is a hub of conversations in form oftweets, comments, scraps, likes, posts, votes, videos, audios, photographs etc. It is playing amotivating role in promoting brands, understanding public opinions, sharing music albumsand movie reviews, product ratings and most importantly breaking and spreading newsusing single-click-share method provided on most of the websites. Sensitive information anddisaster news has reached number of people faster than line news. Also, Social Media is aproven tool to keep in touch with past and present buddies and also for tracking people byfollowing their online activities.A company’s online identity or business e-image is far beyond what is has in the content ofits website. Every organization holding an online identity is not only about their website, butit is about their online reputation. It is all about: what are the public opinions for theirbusiness and how many people recommends it? Such questions are very sensitive and arenecessary to be considered by every business organization to improve its online reputation(Hoffman T, 2008; Lauren B, 2012).Improving Online Reputation: The term Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very commonnow-a-days. Google being the most popular search engine has provided number of tools toimprove the visibility of your web page over internet. A Search Engine Result Page (SERP) is 3
  4. 4. Social Media and CRM Kathan Bhattresponsible to fetch and display the information for the entered keyword in search box ofany search engine. The information that is visible to user is dependent on Page Rank. Thehigher the Page Rank, the more chances for your business page to be displayed on SERP.Initially the Page Rank of any website is rated as 0/10. It depends on number of factors like:average traffic to your website, quality of content, appropriate use of Keywords,appropriate web page titles, the type of domain name and URL’s you use, number ofexisting do-follow links etc.Social Media plays an important role for improving your online reputation and also forimproving Page Rank. Social Media is the only medium to up-lift the user traffic to yourwebsite by posting interesting offers, news, events etc. Whereas the presence of your do-follow links on online forums and popular blogs also helps improving your overall Page Rank.If your business page appears on the first page of SERP along with other relevant pages thatdescribes about your business, then it means that you really hold a good online reputation.It is necessary to understand that achieving good online reputation and effective businessoptimization is not a quick process. But it has been proved to be very important in today’sdigital world to maintain the level of trust, reliability and competency among yourcustomers. Hence, most of the corporate firm relies on SEO tactics to optimize their ownbusiness popularity in order to manage and maintain Customer Relationship.3. SOCIAL MEDIA – A PLAYGROUND FOR ORGANIZATIONS:Along with the number of online activities people simply share word of mouth about variousbrands and its product many a times, if all this is ongoing why should organizations remainbehind? Thus, Social Media providing space to organizations to share their word of mouthbecomes a playground for them to promote their brand in a simpler way approachingnumber of customers at a time.A business reputation depends on how people perceive about the business. This peopleinclude: consumers, suppliers, partners and the general public. In order to control andovercome negative reputation, organizations need to setup Social Media Services usingcomputer applications, open source APIs, widgets and other collaborative tools. The SocialNetworking Services like facebook and Google have started providing online space to thecorporate firms in form of page. Creating a Google or facebook page organizations cancreate their content to state their presence on Social Media websites. This content can beeasily embedded, shared and re-used which could be in form of a post, comment, tweet,scrap, audio or a video for ease of access depending on the way an organization needs topromote it. Such an information sharing is nearly similar to advertising campaign ruled byany organization. Social Media campaigning is far better than in-person campaigning interms of speed it gains over internet (Faux G, 2010).Special Offers: Digital guru Chris Brogan advised a person on twitter: “things that help otheris what gets more shares.” It means that, any online promotional product or a service offerwill be shared more and more by public. People normally shares interesting offers with theirfriends and relatives to help them avail the advantage of offer before it gets exhausted. TheSocial Media is the fastest medium to share word of mouth. Hence, consumers itselfbecomes prosumers as they consume the product for self usage as well as advertise itamong others. 4
  5. 5. Social Media and CRM Kathan BhattIntegrating Technologies for better output: Many of the business organizations have beensuccessful using popular mobile OS called Android to develop certain business specificapplications. Most of the IT organizations publishes a pro version and distributes it amongtheir clients and receives feedback on the same via Social Media. This helps them toperform better by identifying customer expectations.Sharing company culture: Companies that considers the importance of Online Reputationencourages their employees and top management to blog and tweet, which allows generalpublic or regular customers to interact with them directly creating a sense of trust andinvolvement.Information Centre: Providing a social platform for product review, service launch or serviceupdate enables consumers to explore user reviews about the product or service quality.Such an information centre becomes equally important for both the consumers andproducers. It avoids consumers for selecting a wrong product and simultaneously userreviews help organizations to come-up with a better product next time. Public polls andpublic opinions stand as the best solution on social media to focus on producing improvedconsumer centric products by understanding their demands that they share with us online.Apart from what we discussed, there are certain other business areas where Social Mediahas proven their importance. Today we can find a like, share or tweet button on everywebpage, either it is about a product or service. Other areas that Social Media covers are:Employee recruitments, developing business relations for outsourcing, Vendor Relationshipmanagement, Fund raising for a cause, research intelligence and identifying consumerbehaviour over a new product or service launch.4. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION:Challenges, Pros and Cons on utilization of Social Media for business networking: Manybusiness firms conceit that Social Media is a competitive time pass. But the fact is that userson Social Media are equally aware about its power. Any wrong step taken over socialnetwork can lead towards negative reputation (Lauren B, 2012). There are many caseswhere public openly protest on social media against several fake of irrelevant products andits use, damaging the overall reputation of that entire firm. Thus for every organization,what and how you behave on social media is very much important to retain the earnedreputation.Planning for Social Media: Use of Social Media should be an integral part of companystrategy for business promotion. It often requires skilled staff as it is similar to various otherbusiness processes that requires thorough observation, analysis and planning right from itsinitiation. It is also necessary to retain the dedicated staff to manage and maintain use ofsocial media for business benefit. Failure to do so might affect your reputation andpositioning over the internet. CEO, managers and employees of such organizations oftenneed to undergo training for improving their online conversation skills.Future: Social Media is all about society and its people. It deals with seamless connection ofpeople as an individual as well as a representative of a group to which it belongs. It is a verydelicate platform where even a single wrong act can be disastrous. It is still evolving asnumber of new players and consumers join in every day. It is in state of experiment yet and 5
  6. 6. Social Media and CRM Kathan Bhattour actions will determine the face it will adopt. We are ultimately stepping towards anacceptable, personal, ubiquitous and collaborative web. 6
  7. 7. Social Media and CRM Kathan BhattReferences: 1. Acker, O 2011, Social CRM: How companies can link into the social web of consumers, Journal Of Direct, Data & Digital Marketing Practice, 13, 1, p. 3, Vocational Studies Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 25 March 2012. 2. Agarwal, S, Mondal, A & Nath A, 2011, ‘Social Media – The New Corporate Playground’ International Journal of Research and Reviews in Computer Science, 2, 3, pp. 696-700, viewed 19 February 2012. 3. Bhatt K, 2011, ‘A Pinch of Search Engine Optimization to Improve Online Reputation’ Available at: Improve-Online-Reputation&id=6715869 viewed 20 March 2012. 4. Carolyn H B & Gautam P, (2011) "From social media to social customer relationship management", Strategy & Leadership, 39, 5, pp.30 – 37, viewed 31 March 2012. 5. Chatterjee, S, 2012, ‘Social CRM and its impact on Pharmaceutical industry’ International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, 2, 1,pp. 1-8, viewed 19 February 2012. 6. Foux, G 2010, Integrating social into your business, Journal Of Direct, Data & Digital Marketing Practice, 12, 2, p. 128, Vocational Studies Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 9 April 2012. 7. Hoffman, T 2008, ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT. (C over story), Computerworld, 42, 12, p. 22, Vocational Studies Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 23 March 2012. 8. Lauren, B 2012 ‘Protect Your (Online) Rep’ Registered Rep, 36, 3, p. 13, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 27 March 2012. 9. Patil, K, Dhobale, R & Pillai, B 2011, ‘Marketing and Commercialization Strategies’ International Journal for Business, Strategy and Management, 1, 1, p. 14, viewed on 6 March 2012. 10. Woodcock, N 2011, The evolving data architecture of social customer relationship management, Journal Of Direct, Data & Digital Marketing Practice, 12, 3, p. 249, Vocational Studies Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 9 April 2012. 11. Woodcock, N, Green, A, & Starkey, M 2011, Social CRM as a business strategy, Journal Of Database Marketing & Customer Strategy Management, 18, 1, pp. 50-64, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 1 April 2012. 7
  8. 8. Social Media and CRM Kathan BhattAppendix: Case Study:Company name: Lets NurtureCompany Profile: IT Outsourcing (Web Design |SEO| Mobile App Development)Lets Nurture is an IT outsourcing firm and also provides Search Engine Optimization (SEO) aswell as Social Media Optimization (SMO) services to its global clients under a brand nametitled Affordable SEO Services. It has been active since many years in providing SEO andSMO services to its major clients from UK and US. Since it is itself an SEO firm it needs tohold a good online reputation over the internet and it has been successful to maintain it. Toprove it, if you just type the keyword ‘Lets Nurture’ on Google search, the first 10 results ona Search Engine Result Page will be about Lets Nurture. They also hold the same reputationfor Affordable SEO Services. This firm highly active on Social Media, you can find theirpresence on facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pin It, Foursquare and many more.Social Media efforts on Affordable SEO Services site and facebook activities on Lets Nurturepage are the only reasons behind the success they have earned so far. The facebook insightsanalysed on their business page shows in average 500 visits per week. Apart from that, weare successful in increasing their Twitter followers from 900 to 1600+ within two months ofperiod utilizing the tools and techniques that are provided by social networking sites.The table below clearly depicts the data regarding last 3 months referral traffic to theircompany website:Source Visits Pages/Visit Avg. Visit Duration % New Visits Bounce 186 2.06 00:02:27 75.27% 84 2.25 00:01:33 73.81% 72 2.53 00:01:23 36.11% 71 3.07 00:03:42 36.62% 52 2.44 00:02:46 69.23% 15 5 00:11:43 26.67% 9 1.78 00:03:29 44.44% 30 6.33 00:05:33 90.00% 6.67%The table above clearly describes how efficient they are on Social Media. Also the companyhas been well appreciated for providing various SEO tips on their facebook as well as Twitterpage, to keep their fellow clients upgraded about what changes does search engine revelsand how to overcome it.Apart from all this, the company also succeeded in developing a Social CRM mobileapplication based on Android Technology. They developed an Android Application in whicha client can check the current status of their website. The statics displayed in thatapplication include: Google rank, World rank by Alexa, facebook likes, number of followers 8
  9. 9. Social Media and CRM Kathan Bhatton Twitter and more. This was the biggest achievement of Lets Nurture in terms ofcustomer relationship management.Source:Self generated case-study from the provided data by personally visiting the organization.URL:www.letsnurture.comwww.affordable-seo-services.comAbbreviations:SCRM – Social Customer Relationship ManagementORM – Online Reputation ManagementPR – Page RankSERP – Search Engine Result PageMobile OS – Mobile Operating SystemSEO – Search Engine OptimizationSMO – Social Media Optimization 9