Brent Leary (CRM Essentials) – Context, Not Content, Is King (Taste of Technology Series Video)

On the occasion of the June 22 Taste of Technology Small Business Series, The Lies of Twitter and Facebook 3 experts in social media gathered to speak about how businesses can leverage the power of social media for their businesses.
Laura P. Thomas, Dell Global Small Business Creative Experience Team
Dan Zarrella, HubSpot Marketing Product Owner and Social Media Scientist
Brent Leary, CRM Essentials

In this next series of posts, we’ll bring you their presentations.
Here’s the video and below is the video summary/transcript:

Brent Leary, CRM Essentials

What is a customer management relationship and how to use CRM tools?

A lot of small businesses are trying to use CRM in the perspective of keeping their good customers in an efficient and effective way. CRM applications have been around for more then 20 years. At first these apps were really good at storing information. You could use them for keeping track of events, tasks, and contact information. Today there is so much more they can do.
The main challenge that a lot of small businesses are facing right now is finding and keeping customers on-line. Today your on-line customer relations can greatly influence your off-line business. Traditional CRM is not really helpful, because it wasn’t build for that purpose. Right now it is the social media and the social networks that are driving the relationship building for businesses.

But how can you make money using the social media? The correct question is how to build solid relationships efficiently? Using social media and its tools, like video, blogging etc., is one of the steps. Once you get the attention of people you have to keep it by building meaningful exchanges that lead to something very important – trust. That’s where innovative customer management relationship comes in.
You can start by taking a look at a well-known blogger with who covers the business you are in. Start commenting on their blogs. Look at the communities that are built specifically for your industry. Figure out a way to build your own reputation – by starting conversations by commenting in the blogs and communities, and by transferring these conversations over to what you are doing. In this process you should carefully select what works for you and what doesn’t.
Have you heard the phrase: Content is the king on-line? It’s something that I disagree with, because there is so much content on-line, Mr. Leary says. On Twitter there are 55 million tweets everyday. FaceBook has more that half a billion accounts. There is a lot of content flying around. But now because the content is easy to create and distribute, it’s not the king anymore.
There are two economies – the attention economy and the idea economy. We don’t feel like giving away our attention as easily as before. But now there are a lot of apps that can help your ideas come to life. How many of all those ideas on-line are hits – not as many as we need.
People have problems and challenges and they are focusing accordingly to find answers on-line. Even if you have the greatest content, people might not be interested because it doesn’t fit their specific needs. That’s why it is Context that is the king.
If we can look at the problems the people that we are doing business with have and try to understand them, we are going to take a big step away from those who suffer from the content excess flaw. We can use the social CRM approach not just for throwing content out there, but for listening. Listening is more important than asking. It’s not aggressive and it gives you the opportunity to find out what are the most important things for your customers. Then you’ll be able to turn what you’ve learned around at something that will be of interest to them and build a good relationship.
You should find the most appropriate social CRM tools and use them strategically. You have to learn how to go from a piece of content to a conversation, to a sequence of meaningful exchanges, and from there, engage in the sales process and close the deal.
Very often you meet someone that immediately after presenting himself quotes the number of his Twitter followers. The number is usually in the range of thousands. I couldn’t care less, I’m looking for some real influence, Mr. Leary says. If I follow this person the goods for me are just a couple more followers in my Twitter account. The way that some people are using Twitter is like a collect-the bigger-number game. Some of them even say in their messages that if you don’t follow them, they won’t follow you. I just block these, Mr. Leary admits.
At the same time there are some good services like Twitalyzer and Tweet Spinner.
Twitalyzer is a serious analytics for your social relationship. Tweet Spinner automates the process of finding the right people to follow; it has a nice structure and helps you build an audience. But in the wrong hands it becomes a part of the collect-the bigger-number game and it doesn’t help to build a real influence.
According to Mr. Leary, there are a lot of people that are using internet in a very self-promotional way, they don’t care about anybody else. We are going to see a lot more of them in the future.
Mr. Zarella agrees that if you look at people with a great number of followers, they tend to be self-promotional. He suggests that the best way to get more followers is to stop talking about yourself.
Mrs. Thomas adds that the more followers you have, the more chances you have to pass your idea. If you keep twitting about yourself however there is a good chance that there will be people who would have similar interests to yours and they will become your followers. The problem is they might share an interest with you that has nothing to do with your business or your truly strategic interests. Mrs. Thomas thinks that the truth is somewhere in between – the numbers are good because they give you so much more opportunity for exposure, but Context is king.