.Global, , , , , , , — October 16, 2011 19:30 — 19 Comments

Social CRM: A definition and point of view on SCRM


Social CRM or SCRM is a business strategy that enables brands to proactively identify, engage and build advocacy with customers through social media in real time.

The SCRM strategy focuses on building advocacy and brand loyalty through proactive engagement. The “traditional” CRM strategy has a transactional focus and is typically retrospective in it’s dialogue.

The prolific rise in social media has created a need to evolve the traditional CRM strategy. Masses of real time user generated content is being created all over the world. This UGC can provide businesses with key insights into their customers expressions, intentions and actions.  The immediacy of Social content means the traditional CRM models have not kept up with the modern customers online behaviour.

Like the “traditional” CRM model, Social CRM will mean different things to different businesses but ultimately it will depend on what business problem you are trying solve. To be effective a SCRM strategy will need to be supported by technology that will aggregrate and feed social media data  into a CRM environment and a applied to a single customer view, where business rules can be applied to determine relevant next actions.

Social CRM is moving quickly from being a theory to a business reality. The recent acquisition of Radian6 (a leading social media ‘listening’ tool) by Salesforce.com is a clear indicator that the shift is already happening.


Additional articles on Social CRM by Kohlben Vodden: Some Food For Thought On Social CRM (SCRM)

About the author

Kohlben Vodden has written 71 articles for WhatWorksWhere.com

Head of Social Media & Content Strategy @ #Ogilvy London + Editor of @whatworkswhere - Social Media Blog. Connect on LinkedIn: http://goo.gl/6Qv4b


  1. Kim says:

    “spent lots of time to search, findally i get it, useful finfo me for me!”

    • Imthiyaz says:

      Ah, yee of little faith.Have you fortgtoen, perchance, that a business remains a business beyond the relationships with their customers? how about supply chain management via social media channels? enterprise resource planning leveraging said tools? compliance with government and industry regulations using channels reserved for social transactions traditionally?I know I did not explain it properly, but the social channels remain channels. Thus a social business exists by virtue of leveraging that for all of their operations not just their interactions with customers. Which brings us back to the business being social (partners, government, etc.) and using the channels.Social Media is more than just interactions with customers even if customers make up for the bulk of the usage.As for hierarchy stay tuned to the roadmap and you will see that in action scary how some people actually see things the same way should be coming tomorrow or the day after just depends on other obligations, before i can take on the fun can you sign off on this now? or are you going to wait until you see the other piece? it is all part of a plan

      • Aawara says:

        Hugh,Thanks for the read and the comment!This is an eivovlng market, breaking news as they say in the biz it is forming as it is eivovlng. I am certain that there are some vendors / startups working on that as it is the holy grail of using data (analysis based on semantics? very hot also very hard), but not to my knowledge.The above sentence is called a call-to-action someone will come in the next few days and tell me about 10 companies i did not know that do it, btw.I don’t think this is a vertical play, it is more of a model play right now as in B2C (if you still believe in those models) over B2B. You can, of course, derive from verticals from those models, but still breaking news so nothing set in stone.Will see where it goes BTW, there are no enterprise Social CRM platforms for any type yet.We will see more M A and progress in the next 12-18 months as the market gets defined and we get more clarity on what SCRM will look like.Thanks, again, for the conversation.

    • said says:

      Allen,I did not make any differentiation (yet) into socail marketing, socail sales, and socail service (which needs a new name since that does not work).I am posting tomorrow my first socail marketing piece, a review of socail marketing functionality deployed by Helpstream. Alas, I think that (as Wim also pointed out in his post above) is the next step for us: define socail functions and strategies. I want to do the post on roadmap first, I like the way it is coming up.I agree with your definitions for now. It will require more time for me to think about it, so we will agree in full when we get there. I trust you more than I trust myself in Social Marketing though Thanks for the comment!

      • Lupita says:

        Kathy,thanks for a great comment. I am going to take deeepr on the pivot point at another point in time, did not think it was going to be a problem. I like the railroad switch analogy, probably a better description that what I did.As for the other modification all internal triangles rely on communities as the bottom layer same as the SCRM layer. there is not outside or in in this chart, it is just customer-facing and internal-operations but they all operate similarly.I am focusing my research for next year on communities and analytics, will explain more why later but i see those two areas as uber-critical for success in the next 2-3 years. by far.thanks for the read and the commentesteban

        • Mahesh says:

          I surely agree that a soical customer is not a new phenomena, but the numbers are started to swell in the last couple of years, and the rise is accelerating.When we started our AAI project about 19 months ago, the biggest concern was a number of customer reviews per product to make it statistically representative for sentiment analysis. These concerns are no more as we see thousands of new reviews published on popular websites. The challenge now is to make most sense and utility out of this flood, learn how to interpret customers reviews to design better product and provide better service better by customer definition not solely on the cost optimization basis.

        • Rosselle says:

          Esteban: Interesting observations. I bvieele what you saw (me too; I attended E2.0 Conference) is the beginning of the convergence of two initially separate use cases for enterprise social software one external only (Social Media: customer and partner facing) and the other exclusively inside the firewall (Enterprise 2.0).That the two terms have often been used interchangeably is telling. Jive Software and Dachis Group have similarly, but independently, framed them together as Social Business . Regardless of what term is used, software-supported business interactions between people must be viewed holistically. Some colleagues and I modeled these symbiotic internal and external interactions 10 years ago as the knowledge chain , in which external customer feedback drives internal conversations, which lead to innovation, which result in new products and services. The latter triggers a new round of customer feedback, creating a continuous loop.So the point is, there is little new here. However, it is good that the people involved in, and watching, enterprise social software are beginning to realize that customers and employees are equally important in the success (of failure) of any given organization..-= Larry Hawesb4s last blog .. =-.

    • SheilaBrianna says:

      Esteban:Great write-up. I agree on these definitions. The only one that is hard is Enterprise 2.0. I have heard many use it as an umebllra term to mean the strategy Enterprises employ to use Web 2.0 applications both internally and externally. From wikipedia: The phrase Enterprise Web 2.0 sometimes refers to the introduction and implementation within an enterprise of Web 2.0 technologies. Maybe you should edit the wikipedia entries? I think the definitions above can add a lot to what is up there.Michelle.-= Michelle de Haaffb4s last blog .. =-.

    • Shebadd says:

      thanks Michelle,It will be a very, very cold day in the deepest souethrn country before I take on a Wikipedia battle of definition with vendors. If you know what I mean Wikipedia still does not allow references to come from blogs, only magazines (even if online) journals, and books.Of course, if I was at Gartner and had the time, Gartner research articles can also be quoted but then again, it was too much time last time i tried that and the vendors always have people with time available

  2. Glen says:

    I guess you may want to put a facebook icon to your blog. I just bookmarked the article, although I had to do it manually. Just my $.02

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    • Herbert says:

      Hi EstebanA valiant efrfot to bring a little clarity to the murky world of SocialYYZ; where XYZ is almost any set of three letters.I have said this before and no doubt I will say it again. Social XYZ is still in the earliest stage of development. It is an emergent phenomenon. It is more important at this stage to understand what is consists of and how it works in outline, than to try and define things. The definitions will emerge with the passage of time as we fill in all the missing details. And there are many details that are still missing.I have just returned from the Mass Customisation, Personalisation and Co-Creation conference in Helsinki. The conference brought together 250 academics, consultants and businesses whose daily work includes, but is not limited to, Social XYZ. The many conversations I had over the three days reminded me just how SHALLOW our discussions of SocialXYZ are. Whether it is the definitions of SocBusStrategy that don’t mention profit, Dachis Groups superficial outline of SocBusDesign in its much-hyped whitepaper, or SocCRM’s struggle with the deciding what the role of the customer should be.We have a lot of work to do: To understand the role that customers should, could and ought to play in SocXYZ. To understand the broad and deep capabilities that we have to build to enable SocXYZ. To understand how SocXYZ creates economic value for companies and other sorts of value for customers. To understand SocXYZ changes how experiences are delivered. And. To understand the myriad of implications that SocXYZ has for the management of brands.It is high time that we improved our game significantly. It is time we started to look in more detail at the early adopters of SocXYZ to see what really works. It is time we started to scour the rapidly expanding literature to understand why it does. And it is time we started combing the two to build robust, proven, replicable approaches to getting SocXYZ to work in everyone’s organisation. Doing this will require that businesses, academics and consultants come together to look at SocXYZ through their different perspectives. This will not be easy, but there is no alternative.We know what we have to do. So let’s get on with it.Graham Hill@grahamhillCustomer-centric Innovator

      • Sudzumiya says:

        Interaction is the focus rather than troacnstian. Very true. I think Social CRM allows you to engage potential clients where they’re spending a lot of time (social networks). It helps you engage them efficiently and conforms to each social network’s netiquette . And when opportunities present themselves it allows the user to get lead information into the system and engage the lead.

    • Cintia says:

      Great post Estaban! You’re insights as to what to do with fecedabk continues to bridge the gap between what used to be called being a customer-focused organization and today’s SCRM discussions.To be effective, SCRM within an organization can’t be all about conversation and engagement. It must encompass DOING something about it to fix the issue or problem at hand; ie. changing existing processes etc. to improve the customers’ experience.But, for many of us, dealing with criticism can be a touchy and difficult thing.Whatever you do, there will always be people who don’t like it. Some may actually hate it (with more fervor and emotional outpouring then you can understand). In fact, the more successful you are, the more criticism you’ll attract.Some times criticism is really only envy or past frustrations in disguise. So the first thing that you must do is ask yourself whether the criticism has any merit.How you engage in conversations where your company is being criticized is absolutely critical to maintaining a positive brand perception. Hmmmm, I think this would be an excellent topic for another post..-= Jim Berkowitzb4s last blog .. =-.

    • Auth says:

      Mark,Thanks for the read and the comments. I am glad that you are conmig from away of the tight world of CRM and SCRM to comment, as that is my intention and effort for the next few weeks begin to engage people from other areas into this world. I think that the only way to grow will be if we can transcend our self-imposed barriers and integrate with the rest of the world.I like the concept of BTN since I think it reflects very well the world we are living in today, and probably will in the medium-term. Companies that have not yet adapted to the social customer and the BTN they need to interact with to succeed have still a short window of opportunity to make the shift, or begin the transformation.I am very much on board with your comment as I see BTN as an extension for CRM towards partners and other entities that are not customers but keeping in mind similar issues as SCRM faces with customers.Thanks for a great comment, and very timely. You will probably begin to see more of that in the mid-term from my blog (need to finish my plans for SCRM first ).Esteban

      • Natielle says:

        This is a really intnrestieg perspective and one that i agree with whole-heartedly in spirit.I think I might realign the analogies slightly though to say that social media is the scalpel (or in some cases the sledgehammer)Like email, direct mail and the call centre, they’re just channels that marketers use as tools.We’re still trying to figure out where and when to use each of the tools we have at our disposal and next year, there might be shinier, newer ones for us to replace the ones we’re using today with.Just a thought on an otherwise excellent post.-= michael nurseb4s last blog .. =-.

      • Auth says:

        Well said! You really need to untsredand social media is another way of doing things. Strategies have goals, therefore they can be measured. ROI is just one way to measure the success of a social media strategy.Social Media is a way to drive traffic to your website in order to develop a business relationship. It is a way to qualify and network with potential customers. Many business forget that and do not have a plan to hand off a lead to sales.I believe it is a very important piece of the puzzle, however it is not the holy grail..-= Al Brociousb4s last blog .. =-.

    • Tommaso says:

      Esteban,What Social CRM says in one..rather four words you have explained it in about forty odd lines. Yes, there are slutbe differences in the terms defined but most of them focus on one thing i.e. to redefine CRM.I’m glad that you consolidated it in one blog. Was wondering what you people were discussing on twitter of-late Newbie like me got a clear understanding of what it all means.Thanks@simzaolly.-= Asimb4s last blog .. =-.

  3. Xtraga says:

    Graham,I can only say one thing to your comment. I could not agree more if I would have wirtten it myself. Only thing I will emphasize XYZ is not CRM, it is about business. Part of the work to be done is bring the outside world (customers and other parts of the business) into the CRM world (or put our world out there either way works, no dreams of control and ownership on my side) and work it together.I am very impressed by the vision you bring to this. As I always said, two is a pattern, three is a trend. And I know there are more than three in this industry / market / whatever you want to call it that feel like you do.Let’s do it Thanks for the read and commentEsteban

  4. Rushikesh says:

    Hey what about marketing! Here are the detioifinn I have drafted and am using for Social Media (got to start with this with some audiences) and Social Media Marketing:Social Media blogs, wikis, forums, public social networking sites, microblogging (Twitter), audio or video sharing sites, where a community model is in play and user-generated content and connections are the primary currency. These are the channels’ for social media marketing.Social Media Marketing the business use of social media for engaging customers, building thought leadership, creating leads and/or driving product innovation.What do you think?Allen

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