Online CRM Tools: Only for Big Brands?

Social media has overwhelmed the Internet, and made it a destination location for big brands and start-up firms. With social media marketing on the rise, companies enter the age of social business where every tweet and post can make or break a brand. Social media monitoring tools have been popping almost everywhere. Social CRM tools are emerging to be one of the most profitable third-party applications today. They allow businesses organize their social media accounts in order to sustain amiable B2B and B2C relationships. But wait, small operations like Tony the hot dog vendor have tons of customers as well. He manages a simple but lucrative hotdog stand near his apartment. Does he even need to manage a Facebook page or Twitter account? Moreover, do small and medium businesses need social CRM tools to enhance their marketing strategies?

A recent report from Merchant Circle suggests that more small businesses are utilizing social media tools to maximize their web presence. Aside from that, free online CRM tools are practical and don’t even cost you unless you purchase their premium offers. Either way, whether you’re a brick-and-mortar business or a simple online store, monitoring customer feedback, customer complaints, and being a product expert will be enhance by social CRM tools. Why? In this age of social business, businesses have entered customer-company relationships where customers have a say in product development. Furthermore, as a business owner, it’s essential that you take time to listen to what your customers have to say about your product. Ignoring such can lead to losses.

Small businesses have lots of customers as well!

Social media has made businesses customer-centric and it’s paying off! One of the most notable authors of online CRM books, Marsha Collier, believes small business can edge out big brands in terms of social CRM strategies. In an interview with Mashable, Collier explains how small and medium businesses can be more successful than big companies.

“There is the opportunity for more communication within the company, more chance to build a customer-centric culture. They don’t have the issues of having to pass new ideas through meetings and legal department. If the owner/president is involved and the lines of communication are fairly open, they can turn on a dime and beat the competition,” she says.

“When you engage the community, you personalize your business. Your business is no longer a store or a website: It’s a person. I know of small business owners who continually monitor social media platforms for mention of their business. They get text messages and try to direct the issues immediately. I even heard of a brick-and-mortar restaurateur who got a text about cold French fries at his location. He texted the manager, who then showed up at the table within minutes to diffuse the situation.”

Aside from elegant organization, enhancing your social media outreach with social CRM tools will humanize your marketing strategies as well. The approach is more personal and interactive. Customers appreciate this type of attention whenever they encounter a problem with a product. Big companies like Dell and Gatorade have launched mission control command centers where dedicated social media teams monitor and engage with customers. The idea here is to complement a brand with customer-centric strategies using effective yet practical social CRM tools. But you don’t have to be a big company to start your own social media outreach: as marketing expert and author Seth Godin has said: Small is the new big. And with the help of social CRM tools, small businesses can WIN big.