Social CRM and Customer Advocacy Programs: Case Study

November 26, 2010
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In my previous post titled Loyalty Programs are Passé, how about Customer Advocacy Program?, I highlighted the importance of tracking outbound Word Of Mouth (WOM) on Social Networking sites and designing programs for rewarding Customer Advocacy behaviors like WOM. In this post, I want to elaborate more on the topic and explain how Customer Advocacy Program can be integrated into Soc

In my previous post titled Loyalty Programs are Passé, how about Customer Advocacy Program?, I highlighted the importance of tracking outbound Word Of Mouth (WOM) on Social Networking sites and designing programs for rewarding Customer Advocacy behaviors like WOM. In this post, I want to elaborate more on the topic and explain how Customer Advocacy Program can be integrated into Social CRM initiative and system.

Step 1: Collecting Social Media Profiles:

First step in tracking outbound WOM on Social Networking sites is to obtain Social Media profiles or IDs (like Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare or LinkedIn ID) from customers and prospects. This is easier said than done given reluctance of customers in sharing their Social Media profiles with business because of privacy concerns. In order to motivate customers to do so, marketers can award points or offer other rewards like discount on products/services. Once marketers have Social Media profiles or IDs of customers, it is important to store this information with other Customer Profile data like email ID and phone number in the CRM system. Last but not the least, enough care should in taken in handling this info and customers’ privacy should always be respected.

Step 2: Monitoring Social Media Feed:

Once marketers have Social Media profiles of their customers/prospects, next step is to monitor Social Media feed (like Twitter or Facebook feed) for any mention of brands or key words the marketer is interested in monitoring. For example, if there are any tweets or Facebook postings that mention brands or key words that marketer is interested in, those tweets or Facebook postings should be identified and imported/stored in Social Media Monitoring or the CRM system clearly identifying name of the customer, Social Media ID that was used by customer and how influential that customer is on Social Media channels (like number of Twitter Followers or Facebook Friends).

Step 3: Calculate Rewards or Points:

Marketers should reward customer or prospects for each mention of brand on Social Media channels by awarding points/reward for each mention. This can be tailored specific to each Social Media channel like Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare or LinkedIn and should take into consideration how influential a customer is i.e. more points should be awarded if customer is more influential.

Points so earned should be shared on that Customer’s social network in real-time. Meaning if a customer earns 100 points by checking into a Foursquare location, Social Media monitoring or CRM system used to track social media channels should share this with friends or followers of that customer using his/her Social Media profile like Twitter or Facebook ID.

One can argue that this sounds easy in theory but what about practice? Are there any real life case studies of a business or brand having successfully implemented such a solution?

Answer is yes and you’ll be surprised to learn name of that brand. It is Tasti D Lite, a frozen dessert chain (and my favourite when I was living in New York city). TastiRewards is a program that rewards customers for associating their Twitter and Foursquare accounts with their Tasti D-Lite membership cards and for sharing their experience with friends and followers (for more, read this Mashable.com post titled Twitter and Foursquare Become the New Loyalty Program at Tasti D-Lite).

In one of my earlier posts, I have defined and explained Social CRM as the business strategy of engaging customers through Social Media with goal of building trust and brand loyalty. A great customer advocacy program will not only engage customers through Social Media channels, but reward them for their advocacy on Social Networks. Tasti D Lite is a great case study worth emulating by other brands and business.

What do you think about Social CRM and Customer Advocacy Programs? Please do share your thoughts and comments: