The Tweet Is Mightier than the Sword
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Can you imagine Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s reaction to Twitter? Credited with the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword” in 1839, he might have chosen a different metaphor if he’d lived long enough to see what you could do in Twitter’s microblogging microverse with 140 characters. And who those characters can reach. And how far they can travel.
This isn’t Ed’s world. In fact, it’s not even the one we had just a few years ago. And if your CRM strategy was developed before Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube came to town, it’s time to upgrade: We’re living in the age of social CRM.
Social CRM is not a substitute for traditional CRM. Instead, what emerges is a new, outward-facing dimension that extends the operational areas of CRM. That new dimension is inevitably more successful if you’re building off a strong foundation in traditional CRM.
Social CRM is about joining conversations between customers and prospects while resisting the urge to control those conversations. Customers today have more power over who they do business with, and how that business is conducted. And the Web is totally entrenched in their buying process. So if you’re not on the Web in ways to capture their attention, you won’t be able to compete.
And while cost is a major factor in the buying process—especially in this economic climate—Web-savvy customers expect more from vendors. These social customers want companies to listen to their cares and concerns, to use the social media channels they use, and to actively participate with them in transparent conversations.
In fact, according to the recent 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study, 60 percent of Americans use social media, with 59 percent of those users interacting with companies on social media sites. Additionally, 93 percent of social media users feel companies should have a social media presence—with 56 percent of them saying they feel a stronger connection with companies that do.
Twitter’s rise has been dramatic, and many companies use it to communicate with customers and prospects. But none worked as well (or tasted as good) as an unexpected tweet I received from Popeye’s Chicken.
I was twittering with CRMA president Michael Thomas and the subject of biscuits came up. We riffed on the theme for a time, ending with Michael proclaiming his love for them.
Then, out of the blue, I got a tweet from someone going by the handle @PopeyesChicken, testifying to Michael being a “biscuit fanatic”…and that he could really wolf them down. (The “@” sign denotes a twitterer’s handle. Unless you specifically choose to make a particular message private, it’s completely open for anyone to read—and there are Web- and desktop-based applications that enable the tracking of a given word or phrase.)
I wasn’t expecting @PopeyesChicken’s tweet—I’d thought I was in a one-on-one conversation—but I didn’t mind. It actually made me laugh. In fact, I enjoyed that tweet so much I replied to it. I also started “following” @PopeyesChicken on Twitter—which meant I started receiving his tweets all the time, even the ones not directed at me.
This was the best example of corporate tweeting I’ve seen. I didn’t feel any intrusion on our conversation. The tweets didn’t even try to sell anything. All @PopeyesChicken did was find a way to have fun with us, which in turn made me enjoy the contribution to our conversation.
All of this emanated from one short, well-placed tweet. But the real payoff came the next day, as I found myself unexpectedly headed to Popeye’s.
Now, I hadn’t been to Popeye’s in years, and hadn’t been planning on going there. I’d seen their commercials and thought nothing of them. But that tweet—that engagement—got me thinking about biscuits…Popeye’s biscuits. And those thoughts turned into my lunch.
That’s the value of social CRM. Rarely have 140 characters been so powerful—and never have they been so tasty.
Brent Leary is cofounder and partner of CRM Essentials, a CRM consultancy focused on small and midsize enterprises. You can email him at email@example.com or send him a tweet at @brentleary.
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CRM on Twitter: June 2008
As Twitter, the microblogging site, explodes in popularity, CRM has become a common topic. To bring the Web 2.0 world full-circle, we'll be highlighting a few choice tweets.
CRM on Twitter: July 2008
The microblogging site is rapidly becoming a destination of choice for the Web 2.0-savvy, and users of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 are certainly among them.
CRM on Twitter: August 2008
Some recent tweets about CRM software.
CRM on Twitter: September 2008
The twitterverse opens up on open-source CRM.
The 2008 CRM Market Awards: Rising Stars -- Twitter
Getting customers all a-twitter.
CRM on Twitter: October 2008
Customer experience tales across the Twitterverse.
CRM on Twitter: November 2008
The financial crisis -- and the customer service issues it raises -- makes itself felt on Twitter.
CRM on Twitter: December 2008
Entellium's crisis played out on Twitter, live.
CRM on Twitter: January 2009
Cloud computing gets the Twitter treatment.
CRM on Twitter: February 2009
The recession casts a cold shadow over the Twitterverse.
CRM on Twitter: March 2009
Government 2.0 comes to the Twitterverse.
10 Steps to Terrific Twittering
Search Engine Strategies NYC '09: Top twitterer Guy Kawasaki explains how to use the microblogging site for marketing, and why "nobodies are the new somebodies."
Social Media Marketing Can Succeed for Leaders -- and Laggards
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CRM on Twitter: April 2009
Customer service tweeps speak for themselves.
Web Analytics Meets Social Media
Webtrends and Radian6 are the latest vendors to partner up for companies hoping to monitor and respond to online conversations.
Social Media: The Five-Year Forecast
Social media has only just taken off, says Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang -- and his "Future of the Social Web" report says social networks and marketers will have to change their strategies. "Bad things will happen," he says.
Twitter on CRM
CRM vendors are beginning to find ways to put the microblogging marvel to work -- for themselves and for their users.
CRM on Twitter: May 2009
How have retailers fared in the twitterverse?
10 Steps to Social Media Success
Internet Week '09: Brand Exposure event shows companies how to join the conversation.
The New Connections of Social Media
I don't care to belong to any social network that will accept me as a member.
The 5 Phases of Social Experience
The social Web is about to evolve — again. Are you ready to evolve, too?
CRM on Twitter: June 2009
Social media thought leaders, twittering about social media.
CRM on Twitter: September 2009
How United Airlines learned that customer dissatisfaction + social media = a first-class pain.
CRM on Twitter: August 2009
The end of on-demand business intelligence provider LucidEra, captured on the public tweetstream.
Study Shows More "Babble" on Twitter Than Promotion
Despite an uptick in business activity, Pear Analytics says the majority of Twitter posts contain "Pointless Babble."
CRM on Twitter: July 2009
LIFT Your Social Efforts to the Next Level
Sage Summit '09: Brent Leary conveys to Sage attendees why CRM is turning into SCRM - and why hash tags matter.
CRM on Twitter: November 2009
What does the Twittersphere think of Salesforce.com?
CRM on Twitter: October 2009