Our Social Times’ held it’s first conference in Belgium on Weds, with a room packed full of brands, agencies, analysts and journalists. Social CRM 2012 Brussels was the 5th in our popular series of #sCRM conferences and highlighted some of the most interesting case studies we’ve seen, most notably from BT Global and the French railways caompany, SNCF.
In case you missed it… here’s a quick round-up:
Philip Weiss from ZN kicked off proceedings by leading us from through the social media revolution – from the Arab Spring to the London riots – and suggesting we need to re-think our approach to marketing and communications to become more agile and responsive in a changed world. He later applied the same logic to re-thinking budget spend:”What ‘s the ROI of brochures and leaflets?” Good point!
We then jumped into some serious metrics with Yves Baudeschon of Social Lab and Page Karma, who explained the importance of bench-marking your social media activities against your key competitors and companies in the same sectors. For accurate Facebook comparisons you need to measure yourself against similarly followed Pages and, for an accurate engagement statistic, you need to subtract new fans from the “Talking about this” number, otherwise your engagement stats might be be skewed by, for example, #FB advertising spend.
Alexandre Vendermeersch of Dialog Solutions (formerly of McKinsey) talked us through the concept of Social CRM and how organisations should plan their #sCRM strategy. He showed us a triangle of engagement, from ‘ambassadors’ at the top, to the “un-engaged masses” at the bottom, and recommended focusing on the “high engaged” 25% in the middle. How to motivate them? “recognition is the most powerful weapon in social media“, stated Alexandre sagely, before recommending that we maximise the sharing of “social proof” by integrating social media recommendations and feedback fully into our websites.
We then heard from Clelia Morales, Head of Social Media – Europe, eBay, who demo’d their “Help Me Shop” feature, which enables you to invite your friends to recommend and comment on products you’re planning to buy. Clelia explained that eBay was “born into social media” to that tracking, analysing and engaging with customers is second nature. She showed us how content curation and engagement are systematised to maintain an on-going dialogue with customers, saying that brands need to “move from collecting fans to reaching the right community”.
Our panel discussion on “Connecting up the dots: How can brands can implement end-to-end Social CRM“?” involved Alexandre Vandermeersch, Franky Willekens (Proximity BBDO), Pierre de Nayer (Citobi) and Clelia Morales. We first addressed the questions of barriers to the adoption of sCRM, including (1) Mindset – are brands ready to build open relationships with customers? (2) ROI – the areas where social CRM is being implemented most successfully (e.g. customer communities) are ones where the ROI is clear and measurable and (3) Legacy – existing systems are in place that mean implementing new, cross-departmental or cloud-based solutions is not easy.
We also debated the challenge for getting budget for sCRM when Marketing holds the largest budget and Customer Service (perhaps the logical ‘home’ of social media) is seen as a cost-centre. Interestingly, the social media team at eBay are part of the Marketing Team, but receive budget from other teams for specific activities. The panel were keen to stress that sCRM is not about technology, but about processes and mindset. Pierre de Nayer suggested that we “start implementing social CRM today, from your kitchen table!” citing the simplicity and ease of setting up simple monitoring and engagement platforms.
We then had a virtuoso performance from Gregoire de Clerq, Head of Benelux Marketing, BT Global Services, and J-P de Clerck (Founder, i-SCOOP), who explained how they are creating an end-to-end social CRM process of listening and engagement targeting key influencers within the global telecoms industry. As a pure B2B project with a forward-thinking sCRM strategy, it was very impressive. The project, which began as a closed LinkedIn Group but is now branching out into blogging and more, is measured according to the engagement generated within their highly targeted audience.
After lunch we had some social media monitoring advice from Vincent Van Dessel (CEO, McCann Brussels), plus an interesting marketing case study from Gunther Deckers (United Biscuits). The re-launch of Delichoc (a very crispy, chocolatey biscuit – for the uninitiated) using a Facebook game and other engagement techniques generated a 43% increase in sales. The downside was that, after the campaign, the #FB page wasn’t maintained – highlighting the problem of running short-term campaigns in an always-on medium.
Our next case study came from SNCF and Dimelo, which hosts customer communities for major brands (and was our lead sponsor for the day). Alexis Bernard from SNCF explained how they have motivated and trained keen individuals provide support through their new Customer Community, citing one ticket inspector who was so active in responding to issues via Twitter, that he was invited to join their social media team. Some individuals have responded to over 4000 customer queries, helping their peers and saving the company a fortune.
Next up we had a description of how, within a single platform such as Facebook, Social CRM is so much easier – without problems of integration and access to data. Will Simpson from Engage Sciences showed how their platform can provide detailed, granular, analysis of each individual Facebook Fan – including the # of engagements with your Page. It can filter and rank them – so you can target your activities more effectively.
The last presentation was one of the most amusing and inspiring. Richard Hughes, Director of Product Strategy at Broadvision, a provider of Enterprise Social Networks, showed us how many brands are trying to promote products via their Facebook Pages, while customers mainly want support queries answering. The disconnect between customer expectations and company responses on the Facebook pages of the UK’s leading telecoms companies is excruciating.
Richard also explored the challenges of implementing social CRM internally – of trying to connect up the databases of marketing, sales, customer support, HR and communications, of getting senior executives to embrace “open” communication, of getting staff to use Enterprise Social Networks – all of which require much vision and planning – but are essential to survival in the social era. Richard cited some chilling stats for old-style brands: “50 years ago that average age of a Fortune 500 company was 75. Today it’s 15.” You can read more and see Richard’s presentation on his blog.
We wrapped up proceedings with a feisty panel featuring Philip Weiss, Richard Hughes and Clo Willaerts exploring the Future of Social CRM. Richard explained his concerns that Marketing is starting to dominate a topic which needs a more strategic approach. There was disagreement about the definition of “social business” – often confused with sCRM – and which are the biggest challenges facing brands. Clo was adamant that in spite of many failures, large brands could (and should) succeed in engaging with customers on Facebook – since many people feel they already have a strong relationship with certain brands. It was a positive note on which to end the day.
Most of the presentations for the day are now available on our slideshare account (more to follow) and you can see the photos from the event on our Facebook Page. We will be returning to Brussels in 2013. In the meantime, you might want to join us at Social Media Marketing 2012 (London) on 25th Oct or The Social Customer 2012 (Paris) on 29th Nov.
Social CRM Brussels is back for 2013! See more here.