From social media to social CRM (IBM Report)

I just finished reading “From Social Media to Social CRM” report by IBM. Here is a summary and some thoughts.

After reading the report, the first thing that came to my mind was “Now what?” and then “Do they actually know what they’re talking about?”. The title is misleading because it doesn’t really differentiate between social media and social CRM.

Here is the definition of social CRM according to the IBM study: “Social CRM is a different way of thinking about customer relationship management that focuses on using social media to enhance customer engagement”. So, instead of managing customers, you are trying to facilitate collaborative experiences and dialogue that customers value. This is a social media report, not social CRM.

Here is a summary of the report, the conclusions and the recommendations.

Emerging Markets

  • 75% use microblogging and 66% blog. In Asia, a blog’s range of influence tends to be relatively small whereas in Western countries, blogging is viewed as a form of publishing, which explains why fewer people do it.
  • Reasons for embracing social media: concentration of Generation Y, cultural emphasis on maintaining regular contact with friends/family and influx of mobile technologies.
  • Different types of consumers

  • Engaged Authors: 5%. They respond to others’ comments or author their own posts.
  • Casual Participants: 75%. They occasionally respond or post their own content.
  • Silent Observers: 20%. They read but do not participate and have never contributed to a conversation or posted their own content.
  • Companies are identifying their Engaged Authors and collaborating with them. The opportunity is to create targeted campaigns with incentives to interact can entice the Casual Participant to engage.

    Companies still don’t get it…

    55% of consumers surveyed say they don’t engage with brands with social media at all. Reasons: privacy concerns (47%), spam (42%), disinterest (34%).
    Executives cite getting discounts and purchasing products as the two things customers are least interested in doing – the direct opposite of the consumers’ rankings. It is clear that businesses overestimate consumers’ desire to engage with them to feel connected to the brand.

    So what to do? Consumers will interact with the brands if:

    1) They believe it is to their benefit
    2) They feel they can trust the company
    3) They decide social media is the right channel to use

    The majority of consumers are inclined to interact ONLY with brands they already know and love. Mere participation via social media may not necessarily result in increased loyalty or spending. But a recommendation from a friend or family member could make a difference


  • Consumers all over the world, across all generations, are swarming to social media but most interact only occasionally
  • It’s about friends and family – not brands. More than half of consumers don’t even consider engaging with businesses via social sites
  • Perception vs reality: there are significant gaps between what businesses think consumers care about and what consumers say they want from their social media interactions with companies.
  • Most businesses believe social media will increase advocacy but only 38% of consumers agree.
  • Recommendations

  • Recognize social media is a game changer
  • Be clear on the differences between social media and other channels: the customer is now in control
  • The social media solution needs to be thoughtfully integrated with other customer-facing initiatives
  • Start thinking like a customer
  • If you aren’t sure what customers value, ask them. Dialogue and participation is what social media is all about. Let customers participate by voting on their favorite ideas or innovations
  • Monetize social media, if that’s what customers want: develop social commerce campaigns that target specific customer need with time sensitive offers or discounts that motivate customers to act. Content should be fresh and relevant. Provide incentives for people to share content.
  • My final thoughts

    I don’t see anything new in this report at all. The most interesting part was to see the significant gaps between what businesses think consumers care about and what consumers say they want from their SoME interactions. However, we shouldn’t forget that not ALL customers want the same thing from a company and it is a bit dangerous to conclude that all you have to do is to give your customers some vouchers to keep them happy.

    Is it worth a read? If you have some time to spare, why not, but chances are, you’ve already read those insights in other reports.