Home > Articles

Social CRM: The Intersection of Social Media and CRM

Barton J. Goldenberg introduces his book, The Definitive Guide to Social CRM: Maximizing Customer Relationships with Social Media to Gain Market Insights, Customers, and Profits, which presents the first proven framework and step-by-step methodology for driving maximum value from Social CRM throughout sales, marketing, customer service, and beyond.
This chapter is from the book

For decades organizations have had one-way conversations with their customers where the organizations did all the talking. Now, with the advent of Social Media, organizations and customers engage in two-way dialogues. This has transformed the rules of the marketplace.

Social Media is the newest way for organizations to communicate with and relate to employees, consumers, partners, and other stakeholders. It is enabling customers to have their say by posting exactly what they think about any organization’s products, services, and policies—for everyone to see. Social Media is all about the ability of individuals to connect and share freely online through a set of highly interactive technology tools that leverage the fundamental human desire to interact with others. A major result of its growing influence has been to foster a shift in thinking away from promoting an organization’s wares to seeking new ways to interact with customers to provide value. The more perceived value an organization can provide, the better its relationships will be with customers, thus improving loyalty and growing revenue. Social Media and its integration with CRM drive home the concept of customer-centric services, so that organizations can grow from closing sales to deepening long-term customer relationships and driving customer advocacy. Using Social CRM, organizations worldwide are maximizing customer relationships via Social Media to gain customers, market insights, and profits.

Social Media has been having such a strong influence on businesses worldwide, and even the experts cannot clearly visualize the total impact it will have. What is clear is that organizations that do not embrace Social Media will be sidelined in the near term, and possibly left behind in the marketplace of the future. Pew Internet.org’s “Social Media Update 2013” found that 73 percent of U.S. online adults are using a social-networking platform such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. The average American worker currently spends 1.2 hours a day on Social Media–related tasks, and 61 percent of online Americans under 30 use Social Media–related websites daily. Organizations of all kinds are being forced to make sense of this new channel for consumer interaction as this chorus of conversations and the proliferation of technologies that enable participation in Social Media grow.

Social Media is forcing organizations to find a definitively more customer-centered focus because it stimulates interaction between organizations and customers. Organizations must learn new ways to communicate effectively in this arena. How companies choose to adapt to this two-way dialogue environment will have an enormous impact on many organizations’ sustainability. When an organization invests in a Social Media presence, customers are more likely to respond and join in on conversations. Customers really appreciate when a business reaches out to them (instead of the other way around) as well as when they are able to create a dialogue with a business. In many organizations, Social Media can be used to go that extra mile for customers, helping to separate the organizations from competing providers.

Organizations willing to explore and embrace this new business world order learn how to minimize the impact of negative posts on Social Media communities. Negative customer comments in Social Media communities can damage an organization’ reputation, making access to all Social Media–related resources used to track and monitor Social Media activity vital for quickly and efficiently engaging customers and resolving disputes. This, in turn, can also improve an organization’s image in the eyes of others who read Social Media posts. In addition, positive experiences that customers share can also be openly viewed on Social Media communities. This type of feedback often vastly outweighs positive statements made by the organization about its products and services in traditional marketing venues such as advertising, and is worth more than the expensive ad campaigns needed to attract new customers.

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a business approach that integrates people, process, and technology to maximize relationships with all customers, providing seamless collaboration between all customer-facing functions. It increasingly leverages the Internet and Social Media. Social CRM is the next logical step in CRM’s evolution, and was forecast by MarketsandMarkets in a May 2013 study to grow to a $9-billion-plus worldwide market by the end of 2018.

Social CRM offers organizations the ability to harvest information from Social Media communities, integrate this information into customer profiles, and use the expanded profile to better personalize customer service, marketing messages, and sales offers. Using Social CRM, an organization can gather data about customers from information they have placed online, such as their opinions on a product or service, by using Social Media tools. Afterward, filtered customer information can be placed into an organization’s Social CRM system and added to the appropriate customer profile. The organization can then use this information to personalize its customer communications so that customers will receive only organizational communications relevant to them. Although understanding what is relevant to an organization’s customers can be a real challenge, a company’s staff can use various Social Media analytics tools, online surveys, and polls, as well as relevant comments that customers post on various social communities.

At present, most organizations are just gathering transactional information concerning customers or prospects (that is, what they have purchased, when, and at what price), along with basic demographic information, including where the customer lives, works, job title, and so on, and placing this information in their Social CRM system. Using Social Media, an organization can now easily gather additional information, called sentiment, from customers, including their attitudes, likes and dislikes, and sentiments on various topics and issues that impact the organization. Furthermore, with Social Media, an organization’s staff can easily open a two-way, online conversation with their customers and prospects relating to their preferences and their emotional content concerning the organization’s products and services.

The most successful product offers are those that are most relevant to the target customer. An organization can determine product-offer relevancy from Social Media postings by gathering and analyzing customers’ and prospects’ attitudes, preferences, thoughts, and reviews. An organization can also find out what people are most interested in, what they care about, what their buying history and so on is, and obtain customer and prospect feedback about certain products and services. Social Media can also help companies acquire sentiment analysis from customers and prospects and then incorporate it in a way that will be communicated to the organizations’ constituencies. Social CRM enables organizations to harvest such information and use it to make customer communications and product or service offerings that, as a result, are more appropriate and more relevant to their target audiences. This functionality has never been available before.

How Social CRM Engages the Customer

The benefits of Social CRM are many, as exemplified in this list of what Social CRM can bring towards customer engagement for an organization:

  • Captures indirect feedback from customers on social networks and communities that adds insight into the emotional side of the relationship
  • Shares ideas for innovation by leveraging customer insights that can result in co-development of new products and services
  • Enables customers to get help from other customers by decreasing service costs
  • Generates brand awareness and visibility
  • Increases web traffic and advertising income
  • Assists in sales, marketing, and service efforts by sharing contacts in a sales community, marketing trends in a marketing community, and service issues in a service community

The impact of Social CRM is expected to be tremendous in the next few years. In a February 2011 Digital Marketing report, Gartner stated that social marketing processes will influence at least 80 percent of consumers’ discretionary spending by the end of 2015. Gartner also stated in its 2014 “Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center” report that 50 percent of its clients were using some type of Social Media applications within their Social CRM systems at the end of 2013. Social CRM has the potential to bring new and dynamic methods for improving customer service to organizations. It is also creating opportunities for new and existing providers in the customer service and contact center infrastructure markets. Current Social CRM vendors have typically come from two directions—the traditional CRM market, in which vendors are adding Social CRM capabilities, and from Social Media platform startup suppliers, which are focused on customer engagement. Social CRM is in its infancy, appearing in a fully realized form in only a limited number of businesses so far; yet, major organizations already are clamoring to harness the tremendous potential of Social CRM functionality.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020