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Social Relationship Management Explained

Posted okt 26, 2009 by Claus Rodgaard

As our eyes are opened up to the expanding communication connections between companies and the world they live in, a new concept has emerged known as Social Relationship Management (SRM). One might think this is just CRM but I will try to explain how SRM goes beyond, and even compliments, CRM.

CRM is about managing relatively small and very defined interactions between the company and its clients. The communication is driven by the company and through phone, physical meetings and email. The structure of the CRM systems often follows the organizational structure of the company and all activities are driven from the company to the outside.

SRM is about pulling the outside closer to the company and joining the dialogue with the goal of earning reputation and awareness. The foundation for SRM is monitoring the ties a company maintains to the outside across the organization. This should be a structured monitoring as described in my previous post. This is the very opposite to CRM, where data collection is based only on the ongoing direct communication between the company and its relationships.

Typical SRM goals include building brand equity, increasing sales, improving customer service, informing of product management decisions and focusing business strategy on opportunities for differentiation. This is then done by engaging and activating the outside contacts by building and/or creating positive sentiment for the company and its offerings.

Where CRM is often driven is from the sales team. SRM will more often be driven by marketing/communication. However, as opposed to CRM, social communication will not follow organizational lines and will be more casual. This is exactly why SRM is needed to put structure into the dialogue and make it effective, measurable and profitable.