The missing link between social media and CRM

Social media has delivered incredible opportunities to marketers and advertisers over the past decade, particularly for brands, and especially in the retail sector. But for every new social media opportunity, there are new and interesting challenge for marketers.

Which is not to say that Social isn’t a communicator’s paradise, it is! But as we try to make sense of all that good stuff in social media and apply metrics to it – and create processes for extracting value from it – the challenges begin to mount.

When we look at Social Media as marketers and advertisers, we all strive to add context to content. Of course, context is not the Holy Grail in Social Media – but it is elusive and it is very valuable. After speaking with many marketers of brands both big and small, I’ve come to the conclusion that in Real Estate as in Social Media – location is king.

While social media and user-generated content platforms are a new phenomenon, the growth of sophisticated platforms like Facebook and Twitter has exploded with the arrival smartphone.  For example, Twitter had 50 million users in 2011 but by the end of 2012, its user base increased ten-fold in part due to the proliferation of smartphones. As Australians continue to embrace smartphones at rapid speed – we currently have one of the world’s highest rates of smartphone penetration rates. Along with these smartphones come more and more powerful GPS devices which throw off interesting meta-data to the social platforms (obviously only when user’s have enabled location sharing and give apps their consent to use it).

Location-based data is now providing valuable insights that can add context to social media conversations, and enable bricks and mortar retailers to extract a data advantage similar to that enjoyed by successful online retailers.  While there are many tools available to help marketers monitor the amount of Likes, Followers or Re-Tweets a brand might have on social media, it’s only one part of the puzzle. The missing piece is location data and its relation to social content.

We all know by now that consumers will let loose on social media about the services and products they purchase in a way they might never do in person. It only takes a review of any social media channel at any time to read a frank assessment of the goods and services in people’s lives. While many brands are familiar with listening and engaging with customers on social media, the reality is that the vast majority of conversations occur about a product or service in-store and do not mention the brand by name. This means that there are many conversations which aren’t being monitored or analysed by marketers.  This is where geo-data (or location data) can add context.

Let’s look at the retail sector for example. Research from Altimeter tells us that more than three-quarters of smartphone users use their devices while they are in a store – and based on our experience at Local Measure, a large proportion of social media posts in store don’t mention the brand by name. However, by using a social analytics tool which captures location-based data, marketers can monitor and analyse social conversations that would typically go undetected.

Marketers who recognise and tap into the local pulse can quickly leverage fundamental insights about a brand or gain simple feedback which can help businesses adjust and improve their service at a store-level. By listening to social media conversations in real-time, marketers are also better equipped to mitigate risks and deal with any potential customer complaints. We have witnessed everything from complaints about dirty toilets to very inappropriate behaviour on premises by a business’s own employees. For retail chains or franchises especially, location data can help marketers compare and analyse what’s going on at a social level across various stores.

Harnessing local data also helps marketers fill in social media blanks, bridging the gap between social and offline behaviour.  Too few businesses are able to match their CRM to social profiles, or to identify their champion customers. At Local Measure, we provide a location-based social analytics tool which can help brands identify these local influencers, and help measure ROI when social engagement leads to local transactions.

Ultimately, brands can use the online, real-time feedback mined from social media conversations to adjust ‘offline’ strategies and customer service initiatives, and reclaim that personal customer service that can so often be lost in the business transaction.

At the end of the day, it is not complicated. It is about using location data to more accurately listen to and engage with customers who are talking about a brand on social media, regardless of whether the customer mentions the brand by name or not.


Jonathan Barouch
BY Jonathan Barouch ON 8 August 2013
Jonathan Barouch is an established entrepreneur, founding one of Australia's first online businesses, Fast Flowers in 1999. In 2010, Jonathan successfully exited Fast Flowers when it was acquired by Jack Singleton's 1300 Flowers. Jonathan founded Roamz in January 2011 and raised funding for the venture shortly thereafter from ASX listed media company Salmat. Jonathan was a finalist for BRW Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours and a Masters of Political Science from University of NSW and a Masters of Commerce from Sydney University.
  • bradhodson

    Having social integration baked into CRM is a huge boon for companies who have high social interactions. Of course, that’s also why Nimble exists and why it’s having so much success.

    On the other hand, if you can’t get full integration, you have to be on top of social every day. Observing the goings on, getting to know your customers interests and needs, and participating in the daily conversation are all very important aspects of your brand that will help you shape a better product and provide better services.

    Brad Hodson