Customer Relationship Management has long been the task of sales, and technical support.  Pre-sales would sometimes fall in to that category, but we didn’t track the 100’s of thousands of prospects that saw our ad campaigns, or read about us in blogs or newspapers.

In the days of CRM you only tracked those who met the definition of customer, or lead, not those who were part of the faceless masses who might have heard of you.  The change to using social media has created a new type of prospect who has a face, and has shared a lot of information about themselves.  This is your audience.  The people who follow you on twitter, friend you on Facebook and Myspace, or place your widget on their blog.

How are you tracking them? What do you know about them, and how are you moving them along the sales path from friend of a fan to, fan, to customer to evangelist?  This is a new thing, something not quite CRM.  We call it Audience Relationship Management. 

ARM is the art, science and statistics of converting customers to evangelists, and fans to customers. 

A 10 year old can be a fan of Ford, or Chevy, but isn’t likely a customer.  But a picture of this ten year old shared on Facebook in a Halloween costume as Big Foot, his favorite Monster Truck, emblazoned with "Built Ford Tuff" inspires other people to wonder why this kid loves Ford so much.

That mini-story told by a 10 year old gets amplified by your Pro-Twitter Evangelist who makes a note to send the kid a BigFoot hat, Hot Wheels or what ever.   Kid’s mom is in the market for a new car in 6 months, and while dad was always a Ford man, mom has always driven a Lexus, but this small act of sending a nice letter, and a token of appreciation has turned her in to an evangelist, she tells all the other mom’s in car pool, how great Ford is, and is ready to at least look at replacing her Lexus with the new Taurus.

ARM software tracks this, allowing you to track at least a portion of your total ROI from your Social Media Campaigns.  Where ARM really comes in to play is in that you can merge your online and offline interactions.  Sending a user a tweet to ask how they liked the thing they ordered when you get the confirmation it arrived, creates a reason for the customer to tweet about you.  Their followers see that they bought your product and are more likely to ask them about it. A single simple process what could be automated has turned something that used to be a survey by e-mail that got ignored has been transformed in to a method to advance your customers in to evangelists, and your customers fans, friends, and followers in to prospects.

BlackWaterOps will work with you to integrate your existing CRM with the API’s we have for tracking users, and friends of users, so that you can automate some of this process, and have a human element around to respond to any responses to your automated tweets.

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