There can be no doubt that social media will play a critical role in organizations' operation strategies into the foreseeable future. The popularity of sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as the degree to which they have embedded themselves in their users' daily routines, ensure that social networks remain one of the most effective means for an organization to interact with and learn about potential and current clients, customers and members.
To better their ability to gain insight and value from social media, many organizations choose to invest in association management software that contains social customer relationship management (CRM) tools. These programs can significantly improve firms' ability to utilize and benefit from social media.
However, in order to truly benefit from social CRM, organizations must know how to best apply the technology to social media. As several sources recently highlighted, one of the key ways of achieving this goal is to focus on influential social media users.
Social media and advocacy
A leading social CRM provider recently argued that finding "brand evangelists" is a powerful step toward developing an effective social media presence. Brand evangelists, according to the source, are social media users that are particularly enthusiastic and influential customers of the organization's products or services. Because they are motivated, these individuals have the power to act as the organization's promoters on social media channels.
Additionally, because they are genuine fans and not paid advocates, brand evangelists' recommendations are more likely to be heeded by the rest of the social media community, which will improve the way the organization is viewed by the public. This makes brand evangelists some of the most valuable customers, clients and members available to an organization.
Finding the influencers
In addition to brand evangelists, organizations should focus their efforts on individuals who have high levels of influence on the internet, according to David Veibl of Noobpreneur. However, it can be difficult to identify these people.
For organizations looking for these social media users, one option worth considering is an online influence measuring tool. Certain programs exist which can deploy metrics that rate individuals' influence, based upon that person's followers, readers, friends, fans and so on.
As Veibl noted, though, these metrics should be taken with a grain of salt, as they are far from perfect. Rather than relying on them entirely, organizations should consider this data as one part of a bigger social CRM strategy.