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Social CRM: Are You Listening to Your Constituents?

CRM Software For Nonprofits should have social listening tools

Social CRM is often used by “for profit” organizations to improve business relationships, increase customer retention, and today help employees actively listen via the various social media channels found on the internet; Facebook, LinkedIn, & Twitter etc. In this article, I outline a relatively new “must have” feature of CRM software which could prove to be very valuable to your nonprofit organization; Social Listening.

Social Listening In CRM Software For Nonprofits

Any successful organization must spend time developing relationships with their constituents. They listen and respond to what their customers are saying and they often use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool (Membership Software, Donor Database Software) to manage these relationships.

From my work with nonprofits, I see that many successful non profits are gathering information from online conversations (Social Listening) and sharing this information internally, and in turn they are converting these online prospects into members and donors.

According to analyst firm Gartner, by 2018, one and a half billion people will use social media networks.

This means more customers of successful companies are gathering and conversing on social media about what is important to them, who they want to collaborate with, and where they want to place their hard earned dollar and time. Social media is an important communications outlet for everyone today. However, I see that less than five per cent of the associations and nonprofits I visit with today, use social media effectively as a tool for identifying new members and donors today. Your staff must be able to benefit from these facts and find donor database tools and membership systems which have these social features (or integrate with a best of need solution).

While many nonprofit executives have not embraced the need, many marketing and communication experts at non profits have recognized a need to get closer to relevant online conversations. However, they have yet to figure out a way of combining their CRM tool (Membership Software/Fundraising Database) with social media intelligence tools like HootSuite, Buffer, Awareness Hub or SproutSocial. This is due in large part to the fact that many legacy member or donor systems simply do not have a solution.

What is Social CRM? 

First, let me define the term Social CRM. In my mind, Social CRM is a business strategy that enables the forging of richer, deeper and more intimate relationships with constituents and prospects. It takes the valuable customer insight and conversations you may be gathering on social media and member communities, and it layers them on top of emails, sales calls and customer service interactions, which you have stored centrally in your CRM solution.

No doubt it is important for nonprofits to take advantage of social media and use it as a channel for extracting donor insight. By understanding donors’ digital footprints, a nonprofit is able to figure out when and how is the best way to communicate. For example, young donors want to give money, but they want the process to be convenient. Social CRM software consolidates data from the four main categories so both “for profit” and nonprofit organizations can continue to grow their reach and engage their audience effectively and efficiently.

How is Social CRM Different Than Traditional CRM? 

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) has been around for a long time now. In short, CRM is a method for managing your constituents, marketing and constituent service interactions with current and future constituents. Typically, this method involves using a technology tool like Salesforce or Microsoft CRM to store information about your constituents in one place.

Social CRM (sometimes features in CRM) is more than simply monitoring what people are saying on social media, and it’s not just about storing social intelligence but other pertinent information too (profile, activity, history). Social CRM is a strategy that combines CRM tools and social media technologies with the workflows and processes of a business. It makes constituent conversations and interactions on social media as much a part of a non profit as more traditional business activities.

The Magnitude of Using Social Intelligence in Nonprofits Today

Monitoring what your contacts are doing on social channels is every bit as important as reading their emails in Selling 2.0. In my opinion, if you are not using Social Intelligence to grow your association, you are not playing on a level field with your counterparts. Social Intelligence, if used appropriately, will enable users to see events in people’s lives and to use that data to make stronger and faster connections.

Last year, I read recently a great book called Pick up the Damn Phone by Joanne Black . In it, Mrs. Black cites a staggering Aberdeen study which shows that those who leverage social intelligence get some pretty impressive results, including:

  1. Dramatically greater improvement (21.4 percent) in top line revenue each year, compared to 16.4 percent for all other business

  2. A 9.5 percent annual increase in the number of salespeople who make quota, vs. 3.4 percent increase for other companies

  3. A customer satisfaction rating that improves at nearly twice the rate (5.8 vs. 2.1 percent) of other organizations

While this is underscoring data found in the for profit world, I believe that the data is significant in the nonprofit world too.

Social Intelligence Use Cases for Non Profit Organizations 

In my opinion, most organizations need an intelligent relationship platform (ideally integrated) that will look at the digital foot print of a person, be able to read their social signals, identify ones that matter, pull them into complete records and relevantly use the information. Then, as Mrs. Black proclaims, “Pick up the Damn Phone to call them” to ask for the donation or engage your members with the knowledge about what interests them. With Social Intelligence in use, the staff is able to unlock relationship insight which may help you get a good a read on what your members care about that day, what they want you to provide them, send them, and personalize content based on predictive analysis.

Social Intelligence Features in the New Age of Non Profit Engagement

Recently, I have spent a great deal of time reviewing many leading advocacy and social intelligence software tools. And, is consistent with software, there are diverse capabilities in the market today. However, in most use cases, you should look for the ability to easily personalize messages, asks, and ads based on what your members are doing and saying across the social web.

You should look for specific features which allow you to build rich social profiles across social media channels. layer social data over list segments, identify “influencers”, re-engage contacts, find out which networks are most popular among your audience. create and manage keyword monitors that listen for conversations, automatically capture conversations & certainly listen for any conversations over a specified period of time. In addition, you need to have either plug and play CRM integration or innate features.

With Social Intelligence features in CRM, you gain insights about the people in your network—to drive deeper social media relationships and more profitable campaigns.

Moving from Like to Have to Must Have? 

I believe that Social Intelligence features found in CRM tools will become more and more of  a “must have” in the list of features in the modern rules of engagement today. There are only a handful of donor and membership software vendors on the market who can proclaim with integrity that they can do this today. And, quite frankly, the built on top software vendors have an advantage here due to their ecosystem of third party options and open API’s.

I know. Social media is a comparatively new channel for organizations, and new networks may yet emerge while others could fade away. In other words, there is no gold standard for social media. There will always be a place for traditional public relations and marketing activity within a business, but social media cannot be ignored. The sooner you integrate it into your wider strategy, the more successful your business will become.

Whatever you believe about the importance of social media, the new “socially intelligent” development officer must be armed with the latest tools to be successful. The old school legacy systems of yesteryear must adopt these social intelligence features or fall behind the leading CRM options on the market today.

Want to know how CRM software can specifically benefit your nonprofit organization? Contact us today!

Nonprofit Software Advice


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