Not too long ago, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions used to be primarily for larger businesses. This was when CRM mainly served as a contact management system, and the concept of omnichannel customer relations had only started to emerge.
Today neither stands; CRM is now more affordable than ever and serves a wealth of uses in digital marketing. In fact, it’s so expansive that it continues to sprout new focused subsets – function subsets, industry subsets, you name it.
Among them, social media uses for CRM have caught our undivided attention, as they too can fuel influencer marketing. To illustrate, let us explore exactly how CRM can help your influencer marketing efforts.
What is CRM?
But first, let us briefly explain CRM and its depth. If you’d rather jump to its practical applications, you may safely skip this section.
As the name implies, CRM is software that seeks to manage all aspects of a brand’s interactions with customers. “All” is no hyperbole, as it spans across the entire customer journey, from promotion and acquisition to conversion and post-purchase engagement. To do so, it offers a central customer database, lead management features, and some automation features, with additional non-core features varying across individual solutions.
What’s that about different features, you say? At first, CRM was far less ambitious, so most solutions looked fairly similar. It intended to do much less, catered to a smaller audience, and, frankly, had a much smaller market demand. Put differently; solutions didn’t in any way need to diversify themselves or focus on specific areas of marketing. Today, however, CRM is the single largest software market in the world, and so market demand has produced:
- Operational CRM. This subset primarily focuses on sales and marketing automation.
- Analytical CRM. Conversely, this subset delves into analytics, fueling predictive modeling and sales forecasts.
- Collaborative CRM. This subset focuses on internal workflows instead, streamlining communication channel management.
So, between subsets and the need for differentiation, current CRM solutions differ significantly. This is a crucial distinction to make, as we’ll return to it later.
But wait, where does CRM come into social media marketing?
This introduction aside, then, you may wonder how CRM can even synergize with social media marketing – let alone influencer marketing. Isn’t it just for website marketing then, maybe eCommerce too at best?
By no means, no. CRM can help your influencer marketing efforts in fundamental ways, or we wouldn’t be writing this article. For one, the above subsets aside, CRM has also developed an explicit “Social CRM” subset. But even disregarding that, CRM, on the whole, has steered toward omnichannel communication management. “Omni” must, by definition, include social media, and Collaborative CRM, in particular, has taken notice.
How exactly is that? Let’s find out.
How CRM can help your influencer marketing efforts
But before we do, a small disclaimer for this section is in order. As highlighted before, each CRM solution will differ from the next, either minutely or significantly. Thus, to reap the CRM benefits that follow, you must:
- Examine each solution very carefully. Even CRMs within the same subset may differ notably, so make sure you know exactly what each candidate offers.
- Clearly identify your goals. Then, carefully identify your goals to ensure your chosen solution can facilitate them all.
- Ensure integration. Finally, consider integrations; even the best solutions may not serve you well if they can’t synergize with your existing assets.
With that out of the way, let’s see how CRM can help your influencer marketing efforts.
#1 Social listening
Initially, any influencer campaign requires solid social insights. In this regard, many CRM solutions offer the option of social listening – which offers just what the name promises.
Much like social monitoring, social listening gauges the overall sentiment around a brand on social media. To do so, it listens for discussions that don’t directly address, tag, or link to, but still mention:
- Your own brand
- Product or service names
- The names of prominent employees and public figures
- Your competitors
- Other terms of choice, such as industry hashtags
Of course, these insights serve an array of purposes. They can inform PR teams for proactive or swift reactive actions, help identify pain points such as pricing, and much more. In our context, however, they can both help identify ideal influencers, should you not employ one, and gauge social media perceptions of your existing influencer marketing campaigns.
#2 Influencer identification
For that matter, influencer identification itself likely warrants its own section here. In this regard too, CRM can help your influencer marketing efforts by identifying which influencers work best for you.
This point is crucial because it’s a common misconception that mega-influencers are typically one’s best choice. Instead, that audience size is the primary deciding factor. That’s far from the case, however; it may be that nano-influencers are your best option, or some size in-between. Why? Because engagement rates and local relevance are also vital.
How does CRM help in this regard, then? By fueling your customer journey mapping. Through it, as you manage and nurture leads, you may identify high or low social media engagement rates. You may find, for example, that your lead acquisition rates are lacking or that your conversion rates need a boost. Coupled with social listening, CRM should help refine your influencer criteria, letting you make better-informed choices.
#3 Audience insights and content marketing
But even with the right influencer by your side, how can you know exactly what works for your audiences? How will your influencer marketing integrate with your content marketing? Just what content should they produce, and where should you distribute it?
CRM may answer these questions. Even if you don’t opt for an Analytical CRM, most CRM solutions thrive on analytics. Just consider 3 of CRM’s primary functions:
- Audience segmentation
- Lead management
- Interaction history tracking
These insights alone should illuminate your marketing teams. Knowing exactly who your audiences are and where they are can inform your initial outreach. Then, knowing what they react positively to and where your leads falter can inform your content creation and distribution, respectively. Finally, should you extend those insights to your influencers themselves, they too can inform their strategies accordingly. Especially if you, rightfully, give them ample creative freedom, they will need them for optimal results.
#4 Social channel management and campaign tracking
Finally, this all certainly sounds like strenuous work. Managing different social media channels and different influencer campaigns on each, all while monitoring them all? Well, there is a solution for that too – CRM.
Of course, Social and Collaborative CRM are ideal for this purpose, as others may not typically offer such features. Said features are precisely what their names suggest:
- Channel consolidation; access all your social media channels through one dashboard. Advanced versions of this feature may include task delegations and other functionalities to make your work even easier.
- Social media campaign tracking; keep a close eye on your influencer campaigns and social media campaigns from one central place. This feature’s exact tracked metrics will also differ among different solutions.
- Social listening; finally, listen for what audiences say when you’re not around. Some of the best, most actionable insights can be found in discussions where neither you nor your influencers are present.
Of course, as stressed before, such features will work best if your solutions can integrate with your existing assets. Thus, you should always include this in your list of criteria.
To summarize, CRM can help your influencer marketing efforts in a plethora of ways. From plain social listening to influencer identification, it can offer insights that inform your content marketing. In addition, it can offer campaign management and monitoring assets, letting you closely track every campaign. Finally, with lead management features that most CRMs carry, you can continue to analyze your data – and continue to improve.
Zoe Michaels is a freelance digital marketer, copywriter, and aspiring web designer who currently works for MoversTech CRM. She has a strong interest in influencer marketing and social media marketing in general, and often explores how they meet the needs of the AEC and relocation industries.