The Way Ahead for Social CRM Amid Mounting Facebook Privacy Concerns


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The global social CRM market is going to be worth more than 28 billion USD with a CAGR of over 38% by 2025. This forecast1 from the Japan-based leading business insights group, Report Consultant signals the tremendous expansion of the social CRM market by 2025. Key players of the global CRM market, Oracle, Salesforce, Microsoft, Lithium, SAP CRM, IBM Corp., Jive Software, Net Suite, Buzzient, etc are revving up their platforms for reinforcing Social Monitoring, Listening, Mapping, Engagement, and Measurements to bolster their capabilities in an evolving market.

Before we proceed to the core of this subject let us familiarise ourselves with Social CRM and its components. Salesforce, one of the prominent Social CRM providers explains it as the integration of social media channels into Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms. Most CRM platforms support social media alongside traditional channels so that customers can interact with businesses via their preferred channels; this is also the reason for 65% of customer service teams to use social media. This means better customer service and greater marketing insight is gathered from customer social media data.

Social CRM
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If we dissect the social media topography, the numbers it throws are not surprising because these channels have moved beyond their initial use of a communication medium to be a potent tool to establish sustained communication with specific customer demography and for conducting sentiment analysis as well. There are almost 3.48 billion active social media users worldwide, out of which as of the first quarter of 2019, Facebook has 2.38 billion monthly active users. In the present business landscape customers and their Facebook usage are influencing social CRM and the way companies conduct business like never before and managing social media channels is the basic premise behind having a Social CRM in place.

Therefore, if concerned users and panicky investors are besieged by an ongoing Facebook privacy crisis, it is essential for social CRM platforms to take stock of their entwined functioning with the tech giant. Facebook is going through a data-privacy crisis which has resulted in users being precautious, worried and the investors to sell their stock while drawing intense scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers worldwide. Facebook got mired in a news breaking scandal around data theft, here’s a recap:

A UK based political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica illicitly got hold of data of 50 million Facebook users and used it to curate voter-targeting strategies for 2016 US presidential elections’ Republican candidate. All this data was procured without the users’ knowledge or consent. While this didn’t qualify as a hack, both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have claimed that they were at the receiving end of a hoax by the researcher who originally harvested the data. The researcher made use of a personality quiz in 2013 to gain access to information on friends of people who used the app and all this was possible only because of Facebook’s slack privacy protocols.

This fiasco was truly the darkest chapter of Facebook’s 15-year history and was responsible for pushing many changes to the nature of advertisement transparency, content, and privacy. Not just Facebook, but the resulting regulations are going to affect every business entity that wants to use big data to plant highly targeted ads over the internet very much like Facebook. With these revelations and for restoring users’ trust the chorus for regulations to curtail the use of personal data is gathering voice and momentum not just in Silicon Valley but across the world.

As Facebook’s reputation took a deep plunge, the stock price dipped down more than 17% in less than two weeks of the titular storm, representing a loss of more than $90 billion in market value. Consequently, the platform detailed several steps for course correction; it decided to investigate all apps that had access to troves of data before 2014; new restrictions on developers’ data access were also announced along with plans to adopt strict policies and terms for third-party app developers.

As the social networking giant plugs its privacy holes, here are some factors that shine a light on why social media privacy is essential from a company/business’ perspective –

First and foremost, you need to buckle up privacy because it matters to your customers.

B2B or B2C, consumers are increasingly researching, purchasing, and using online products and services through a number of connected devices. They are also opting in for preferences as part of their interactions with social media and search engines. All this trove of information and customer data is collected by mobile CRM apps, internet providers, and mobile operators for their own usage or to sell to other businesses. According to a survey conducted by the internet security and privacy company, AnchorFree in 2017, 95% of Americans are concerned about businesses collecting their personal information and selling it without permission. Therefore, it is incumbent upon you as a business to communicate and demonstrate to your customers that their privacy is of paramount importance to you.

Secondly, it matters to your brand.

Whether it is CRM for small businesses or a holistic one for large enterprises, it is known that they all are existing in a highly interdependent world of commerce. Even if you are using a hosted webstore, a cloud-based CRM with social CRM functionality or a distinct website hosting operation, each one of them is deploying different ways of dealing with customer information. This distributed approach to information gathering and exposure necessitates businesses to think deeply and broadly about privacy because privacy is the singular factor that can impact a brand by disrupting the customer experience and battering its reputation.

Given the recent spate of privacy breaches by the likes of Facebook, Google, Yahoo, etc, the essential feature of privacy can be a competitive advantage that can be made central to your brand image and reputation.

Customer Privacy is crucial to business growth.

Rigorously protecting user privacy will lead to increased revenue and a surge in customers – this can only be achieved if privacy is not a mere policy issue but a product issue. Safeguarding customer privacy be it within social CRM or for other functions is basically a strategic opportunity for brand growth – an equal business opportunity for startups and established entrepreneurs.

Here are some essentials for businesses that are keen to gauge their customers’ inhibitions with respect to Social CRM privacy and want to incorporate the best practices for protecting customer information inlight of vulnerable social media privacy regulations –

1. Be upfront and disclose privacy policies clearly

The policies should be spelt out on every social media page of your brand. They should describe terms of use along with the applications of visitors/community members’ information, when and how that personal data could be sold/shared/exchanged with businesses or any entity that could establish a marketing or sales touch point in the future.

2. Collecting location data? State that clearly

If you don’t want your business to be positioned as a digital stalker, be upfront about gathering location data.

3. Make your privacy statements legible

Simplify your privacy content, avoid making it drab. Present the statement in such a way that it spells full disclosure; a large readable font shows you have nothing to hide. Deconstruct the legal jargon for the average user.

4. Always be open, fair, and transparent

Trust is the key to a mutually beneficial relationship. Protection of consumer privacy can be one of the hallmark selling points for your company. The privacy fears are not overblown given the social media channels’ ability to aggregate information from all corners, therefore it is important for businesses to understand the social media platforms they are integrating with their social CRM and check if those integrations are not violating any of their stated privacy claim.

Re-plumb your business infrastructure to achieve a well-defined privacy vision. As Mark Zuckerberg said in Facebook’s annual developer conference, F8 on May 1, 2019, “The future is private”.

1. Referenced Market Report Published at

Dinesh Srinivasan
Dinesh Srinivasan is the CEO and Co-founder of ADVANZ101, a leading software consulting and multifaceted technology solutions firm. Dinesh is an enterprise technology maven with CRM, CPQ, and Analytics consulting and implementation being his focus areas. With 24 years of diverse experience in the Information Technology space, Dinesh is known for providing leading-edge technology solutions to treat operational challenges across all sectors and especially those that accelerate economies.


  1. Good insights. I have seen many cases where Government agencies or Brands are using feedback of customers posted on various social media platforms. Now it is easier for customer to send their voice to Brands or Government agencies.

    While this is a boon, privacy issues can damage this new found vital link of communication. Yes, all stakeholders should take due care so that neither privacy of users nor importance of this channel get damaged in the process.


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