The term Social CRM has recently escalated in B2B and B2C business press, after analysts at Gartner released a Magic Quadrant report, outlining their definitions and players in the field. It's important to public relations and social media marketing professionals to follow, because many of the most important voices with something to add about a client's product or service may not be on public social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.
Gartner's definition of Social CRM is "a business strategy that mutually benefits cloud-based communities and the business by fostering engagement while generating opportunities for sales, marketing and customer service."
Cloud-based, as in most cases, unless referring to a Super Mario level, means that the information that is shared and saved within each community is managed by shared servers and software.
So who is getting all up in these clouds? Glad you ask!
Some of the companies most relevant for technologies with data capabilities that will interest your homely PR guy are: KickApps, Pluck, and LiveWorld
The reason being that these companies make services which are easily configurable between open and closed networks (Facebook, Twitter, and an internal company wiki or network for instance) and offer the advantage of containing all the insights in a branded environment the deploying company can own.
Pluck, is part of the micro-publishing beomouth "Demand Media," which was recently called out in a New Yorker profile on a related subject matter as a "content farm, which dispense altogether with professional storytelling, in favor of search-engine-optimized information packaging." OUCH!!!
The future of storytelling and journalism aside...I prefer to back and get excited about KickApps anyway, since they were a client during my tenure at Horn Group public relations.
KickApps, which recently added full CMS (content management) to it's social media platform, lets companies get info in the most important Social CRM areas: Direct Feedback (polls, ratings, reviews, recommendations, Q&A) ,Open Conversations (forums, groups) and Stimulated Responses (blogs, comments, photo galleries submissions) and also plugs directly into Facebook via an app taking advantage of the Facebook API.
For examples of some of the usage and campaigns this has enabled, take a look at this blog post from their site.
This is just one company example from a variety of management consoles to enable content collection, observation, control and analysis for marketers in the social web, and with consumers more and more likely to engage with a brand through a familiar network like Facebook, you can see why the space is about to take off.
What are your thoughts on Social CRM, and did I miss anyone important? Let me know here or on Twitter: rorohello