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Ed. note: This is part of a series of excerpts from The Social Customer, the new guide to social customer acquisition, monetization, and retention by Adam Metz. For the first entry, go here.

This installment begins Chapter 13: Social CRM Strategy. Adam discusses the importance of a social media management system.

Now that we’ve covered the basics and discussed the lPOSTm methodology, let’s look closer at the importance of the connection between the concept of Social Media Management Systems (SMMS) and the Social CRM system you plan to implement along with the overall strategy.


A typical first question on the topic is: “How do you kick the data from the Social Media Management System into the Social CRM system?”

Chris Newton from Radian6 has an answer for us:

[We] use integrations in order to automate the Social Media Management System to the Social CRM system when it comes to entering leads and cases, to track all customer conversations automatically, so they may be viewed within the CRM and not the SMMS, and then contacted through the appropriate account channels.”

So why not just cut the SMMS out of the work flow and stick solely with a CRM system, since that’s where the usable information will be viewed? Let’s check in with Kevin Barenblat, the CEO of San Francisco software/advertising company Context Optional, which makes software that some huge brands use to manage all their social media and millions of social customers. First off, there’s the issue of scale: what if your brand has multiple properties or multiple compliance standards (e.g., alcohol)?

“A social marketing platform like Context Optional’s Social Marketing Suite addresses a variety of challenges that brand managers face when trying to manage multiple brand pages, across multiple platforms, with multiple stakeholders and compliance standards,” Barenblat said.

Then there’s the work flow; if you can’t create a routine for this information management process, then how can it scale? Not to mention the fact that this is a 24/7 job, taking place in multiple time zones and languages all at once.

“Using a work-flow-oriented social marketing platform,” Barenblat said, “gives brands the ability to efficiently [italics, mine] and effectively moderate and analyze their social efforts, assign roles within an organization, escalate issues, publish to multiple time zones and in multiple languages, streamline their brand message, and measure impact across all of their social presences and the broader open Web.”

So, to recap, the benefits to using an SMMS are:

  • Scalability
  • Efficiency
  • Effectiveness
  • Impact measurement

At this point you’re probably wondering if you can actually remember any big brands that have utilized a social media management system. Barenblat has a few big ones, and a number of firsts, under his company’s belt. Chase Community Giving, for example, was the first mass crowd-sourced giving program. Another notable SMMS-driven implementation was the Travel Channel’s Kidnap, the first branded application to surpass 10 million users. Einstein’s Bagels used Context Optional’s SSMS to administer their giveaway, which increased their fan base a thousandfold, to 400,000 fans, over a couple days. It’s one thing to say that you’ve got brand loyalty or to do surveys to get customers to fess up to it, but this is a whole different level.

SMMS’s like Context Optional are also behind some of the largest philanthropic efforts ever to have taken place on the social Web. Social CRM brands like Salesforce give free or deeply discounted pricing to nonprofits, and their product also includes a bare-bones SMMS.