Why social media must helm a 360-degree customer view
Chris Teso
June 22, 2017

There’s an old saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Yet, many organizations are working with customer views that have entire data links missing. If you are building your marketing efforts on weak -- or missing -- data, odds are your efforts won’t deliver the results you want.

This missing link for many companies is a view into their customers within social media. While many companies have tools for listening and understanding their social media audiences at a macro level, there is a clear opportunity to link the social ID to the CRM and make social media the hub for your 360-degree customer view.

Why social media should lead

Social media is increasingly at the center of our daily lives; according to research by Mediakix, the average person spends nearly two hours every day on social media. In fact, time spent on social media trumps eating, socializing and other common daily activities. If social media customer activity is the missing link in your customer view, then it is a large blind spot.

However, when social IDs are linked to customer records, once anonymous people can be linked to their offline profile housed in the CRM, making them identifiable across marketing channels. Moreover, with automation, you can acquire consumer data at scale, which allows you to connect on- and off-line profiles for many customers at once. With this data in hand, social media marketers are able to create campaigns and programs built on deeper knowledge -- such as spending behavior -- and effectively link business outcomes to marketing efforts.

Social media allows personalization

The promise of 1:1 marketing is the ability to identify (not just recognize) customers across channels and personalize content, offers, rewards and more based on their history and experience with the brand. Linking social IDs to the CRM allows us as marketers to immediately identify our customers in social. When coupled with automation, we can write rules to interact with these customers at scale, responding automatically with tailored responses that create a value exchange. In this way, we enable customers to engage more deeply, participate more often and convert seamlessly within the social media context. This virtual snowball effect creates positive earned media for the brand and implied social proof that serves to encourage new customer acquisition and deeper loyalty among existing customers.

In addition, social media automation has matured to the point where we marketers can respond at scale to customers, allowing us to drive more engagement. Social media marketers can now automatically send content back to people who set off certain social media actions such as posting about a certain person, hashtag, photo or topic. While the content can be anything -- behind-the-scenes video, points, promo codes, contest entries, concert tickets, and more -- the link to the CRM allows us to track when they interact, download or otherwise turn that event into a conversion activity. We can also aggregate this data for further analysis and fine-tuning of marketing efforts.

Proving social media ROI

With this critical linkage in place, your social media program should be able to identify any campaign conversion data by social ID and tie it to an existing customer record in your CRM. Once this data is linked, you can slice and dice it in a myriad of ways to measure campaign success and create measurable improvement. For example, a leading retailer linked its customers’ social IDs to its CRM records which it in turn tied to its eCommerce system to determine that social media customers who were also members of its loyalty program spent 25% more.

In addition, as the customer journey usually begins online, a measurable way marketers can impact in-store visits is by rewarding customers active in social media with incentives redeemable in the store. Social media tools can also encourage in-store spending by listening for social check-ins and automatically replying to them with an in-store offer. Track which of your offers drive the greatest number of responses and redemptions and how these efforts directly impact the topline for meaningful ROI.

As the C-suite tasks social media marketers with articulating business-impacting ROI, it’s clear that connecting the dots between customer social IDs and the CRM is a critical step in growing what we can measure -- not to mention the power all that extra data gives us to improve our marketing efforts. As more and more consumer activity moves to the social media context, it’s clear that social media IDs should be linked to the CRM for a truly complete customer view. Couple this added customer insight with automation and suddenly marketers have the power to deliver on recognition, personalization and a true value exchange that drives meaningful business impact.

Chris Teso is founder and CEO of engagement and loyalty solutions provider Chirpify, where he invented "in-stream transactions," enabling brands to create a currency exchange between social media and loyalty programs to drive member acquisition, engagement, and spend. Twitter: @christeso; LinkedIn: Chris Teso