I’ve been involved with CRM and SFA for about 15 years now. A good portion of that time has been spent promoting, implementing and developing software. It wasn’t until I read CRM at the Speed of Light, by Paul Greenberg, that I realized something was wrong (with me…oh, and maybe my customers).
Unfortunately, life keeps plowing forward, and there was too much baggage to switch trains at that time. Over the past five years, though, I’ve had more time to ponder all of this and as soon as I started to really get it…along came Social CRM!
I’ve already publicly stated that I don’t really get the “social” reference. CRM is CRM in my opinion. New tools and channels don’t really change that. But, I decided to sign up for Facebook (been on LinkedIn in since the first 100,000 users) and Twitter recently. OK, I’ll keep Facebook because I can share pictures of my 2 year old with family and old friends….
But Twitter, this is blowing my mind and giving me carpal tunnel syndrome at the same time. I dove in with a vengeance just to see what it was all about. I urgently type meaningless messages in, put search criteria in to watch all the buzz about CRM (and Barbecue), and I even attempted to engage a few folks in a dialogue. This is where it breaks down for me.
One social media evangelist actually gave up on our discussion stating something like “the threading in Twitter makes it impossible to follow @mikeboysen.” So, what we have is something similar to newsgroups or forums, except that there are space limitations on your posts, and it’s nearly impossible to follow a conversation (at least using TweetDeck). By the way, I’ve been doing searches on forum posts for a long time using Google Alerts, so I’m having a hard time making the distinction between Tweeting and traditional Forums.
There are consultants flowing into this social media craze at an alarming rate (maybe I’ll jump on the bandwagon!). There’s a lot of talk about protecting your brand through integrating your CRM software and corporate website with the “social web”. I think for large companies with well known brands, monitoring this social web and recruiting advocates to protect you is probably a necessary evil in the near future. I’m wondering whether that will apply to the middle market companies I’ve worked with over the years. Will they really need to do this? Are people really tweeting up a storm about them?
I can see things are going to change. But, I’ve got tennis elbow (in my non-tennis arm) from all this tweeting and I’m getting burned out on typing and trying to follow what others are Twittering about. I’m looking forward to technologies that allow my clients to interact more effectively with their clients. Will it look like Twitter? I certainly hope not.