It is likely that coupling Social Media with Customer Relationship Management (a/k/a “CRM”) will allow you to reach prospects and existing customers (a) more effectively in new and more effective ways, (b) on a greater scale and (c) far more quickly. Of course, that assumes that the coupling strategy and tactics are handled correctly. If they are mishandled, mistakes are magnified by first-time site visitors, prospects and customers/clients who then may become verbose critics of your site.
Wise business people realize that steps must be taken to minimize the risk of a significant social media “OH, NO!” incident. Many companies have a director responsible for monitoring the messages employees post within their business social media profiles. When necessary, restrictions on what their employees can and cannot do. Typically, the company’s designated Social Media Director pays close attention to what is being said regarding their industry and their customers for their own edification. That tends to assure that their marketing and customer service team does not say the right thing at the wrong time.
In this context, business policies are important. Arguably, policy is the one element over which businesses have the most control. They can write their policies, explain them to employees, and enforce them without worrying about the variable of the customer.
Unfortunately, multitudes of businesses do not pay attention to policy. In those cases, upper management allows the employees to use social media without any limitation. Accordingly, when errors occur, management attributes the problem to employees.
Enlightened business owners have adopted well conceived CRM policies and procedures. Experience has shown that the CRM Policy Manual need not be a long document. Rather, experts suggest that shorter is better. That tends to assure that employees will read and, to a greater extent, absorb it.
The basics of the Manual should stress that for the employees with business profiles, their behavior in social media MUST remain professional when he or she is representing the organization, and if you have a definition of what that entails, put it in there. As an employer, you might also want to include procedures for routing social media messages about the company to the right part of your business.
For example, you should assure that each employee allowed access to a business social media account knows precisely how to direct a tweet to the appropriate respondent about a customer service issue? Without codifying the process for getting the appropriate individual(s) involved in these discussions, you can’t expect your employees to handle them on an ad hoc basis.
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