7 Best Social CRM Software (2020 Update)

Monday, December 2, 2019
Michael Zunenshine
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Everyone’s got an opinion, and everyone wants to be heard.

With the digital revolution, and especially the rise of social media, every Joe and Jane has got a platform to share their experiences, sing praise, or air grievances. Social media users have the ability to give more than just movie and restaurant Yelp reviews, today brands also receive the royal scrutiny online and on social platforms. 

Every comment, like, share and rating about a good or bad service can connect a brand with a new lead. And it’s not just proffering opinions: Great customer experience is a two-way conversation. Social media activity offers CRM a whole new channel for successfully converting a lead into a loyal customer. 

To do so, you’ll need the right tools. We’re talking about social media customer relationship management or Social CRM.  

 

 

 

What is social CRM?

Social customer relationship management is part of the greater CRM family. With its unique position as the interface to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more, social CRM is a multipurpose tool helping your business with marketing, sales, and service. 

When it comes to marketing, most social CRM lets you plan and schedule all your social posts, plus get reports on how each post is doing. Anyone engaging with your content gets streamlined into your growing network, which feeds back to sales.

Social CRM is also a sophisticated address book, gathering profile data on all your social contacts, and keeping every single conversation ready at hand for the next time you connect, further boosting service and support. 

It’s about managing a plethora of social media accounts across every channel for the purpose of deepening contact relationships and delivering customer experience. 

 

Benefits of using social CRM     

Faster customer service

Using social CRM doesn’t just allow service reps to speak directly with people, it enables them to listen to what people are saying among each other. With social listening, you never miss the chance to reach out and respond to anyone who’s got a question or issue. Plus, customers prefer to communicate through their social media profiles, so it’s best to have a presence there.

Build new relationships

When any online profile engages with your content or uses keywords you’re monitoring with social CRM, that’s an opportunity to expand your network. Some great social CRM tools also help you find the right target audiences to reach out to. And since you can easily stay up-to-date with their info and activity, you can offer them more personalized experiences.   

Better understand customer needs & issues

There’s a lot of data that builds up in the social sphere every moment. A social CRM helps navigate this info by giving you a broad analytical overview of all the latest hot topics coming from around the globe on every social channel. It also lets you zero in on demographics, or pick up on specific categories of content that might be super relevant to your potential customers.

Build & improve brand reputation

When people complain about crummy products or lousy service through a post or a tweet, chances are they want to be heard. What better way to signal to the greater community your brand’s willingness to listen than not shying away from criticism? Instead, show gratitude for the feedback. Social CRMs also let you publicly reward loyal customers, as well as re-share their praises, so that even more people get wind of your unsolicited awesomeness.

Improved control over social presence

Social media channels are proliferating. Beyond the basics of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, there are platforms for image sharing, video posting, texting and messaging, news curation, and content creation. A social CRM can translate to fewer man-hours because it unifies multiple accounts across every channel, helps you plan and post content at one time for many outlets, gives you a single inbox for all communication, and offers across-the-board analytics and reporting.

Bring social media closer to marketing, sales & service

Once upon a time, a social media department was hardly significant enough to warrant more than an intern working in isolation. Those days are over. Social media insights are valuable for planning new products and services. Social channels are key avenues for marketing campaigns. Social contacts and connections are all potential leads on the way to successful conversions. Finally, social media is the preferred communication medium for customers seeking assistance.  

 

Features of social CRM

Customer profiles

Get a complete picture of everyone you’re connected with across all your social media accounts, including age, location, demographics, engagement history, and links to their other social profiles. A good social CRM can scan your networks and auto-update anyone’s profile when they make changes. The more you know about your fans and followers, the better you’ll be able to offer them improved personalized content.

Social listening

Social CRMs have tools that allow you to monitor the online conversation with certain keywords that are relevant to learning about potential leads and mastering your industry. It’s also crucial that you never miss a mention of your brand or product no matter when or where it’s typed up. Social listening features mean your eyes and ears are ever stalwart in the digital content universe.

Sentiment analysis

With sentiment analysis tools, you get a more nuanced picture of how people feel about what’s going on, whether in the world at large, or within the intimate spaces created by your brand experience. 

Social selling

While we’re all on social media for a variety of reasons—professional and personal—a company’s presence on social media should never lose sight of its ultimate goal of converting leads into customers and boosting ROI. A lot of social CRM platforms streamline customer interest directly to your sales staff or to an online shop, especially through Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

Social media management

A single social CRM platform syncs numerous profiles from many social media platforms. A single post can find its way to every relevant channel at the ideal post time via simple scheduling operations. The unified inbox collects all engagements and messages, showing fuller social profiles for each conversation. Finally, it gives you thorough comparative analytics for all posts, ‘posters’, profiles, and platforms.   

 

Social CRM metrics

Traffic  

Social media drives traffic from their platforms toward brand pages and eCommerce sites. Social CRM lets you monitor traffic and click-throughs to assess how much ends up as successful sales conversions. 

Engagement

Going beyond basic traffic and clicks, you can break down all engagements based on likes, shares, reposts, comments and incoming communications; all for a more complex understanding of how people react to your content.

Level of followers

In addition to simply tallying up the number of followers on a list, social CRM gives you an idea of who they are, who they’re connected with, and how active they are online. 

Brand mention

Staying on top of the online buzz around your brand is paramount, but you need to be listening not only to your own connections, but outside your network too. No mention goes unnoticed with the right social CRM.

 

7 social CRM platforms

 

Salesforce Social Studio

Possibly the most massive planet in the CRM solar system, Salesforce is a pioneer in CRM and other workplace SaaS services. The Salesforce Social Studio is part of the CRM mammoth’s Marketing Cloud arm, which helps with everything from community engagement, marketing intelligence, customer sentiment, and more. 

Features / Benefits:

They’ve got most of the traditional CRM features for social, like “listening” for mentions, responding to engagement, organizing social media posts and analytics. Salesforce’s smart “Einstein Image Classification” AI tool, recognizes logos, objects, food, and other scenes in social images to show where certain products are being used. Machine learning helps you streamline your entire process by identifying brand sentiment and automatically routing customer activity to the appropriate department. 

Pricing:

  • Basic plan is $1,000 per month, billed annually. 

  • Pro plan is $4,000 per month, billed annually. 

  • Corporate plan is $12,000 per month, billed annually. 

  • For Salesforce Enterprise plan pricing please contact vendor. 

Website: salesforce.com/ca/products/marketing-cloud/social-media-marketing/

 

HubSpot

HubSpot originally made its name as a pioneer of inbound marketing. Now they have a slew of tools across the board. This includes a social media management tool as part of their greater marketing platform, which works in tandem with their free CRM platform, and their service platform for support teams.

Features / Benefits:

The social media manager lets you publish directly to LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as manage a blog or landing page. You can schedule posts for later and get best post-time recommendations. HubSpot lets you monitor mentions and comments in a unified inbox. The reporting compares engagements across platforms and even includes YouTube. For people contacting the help desk, the ticketing tool keeps track of contact requests and customer data.

Pricing:

  • Starter Marketing Hub plan starts at $50 per month.

  • Professional Marketing Hub plan starts at $800 per month. 

  • Enterprise Marketing Hub plan starts at $3,200 per month.

Website: hubspot.com/products/marketing

 

Zoho

Zoho CRM sticks mainly to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, but it’s basic CRM has integrations with other workplace platforms like Slack, Zapier, and Zendesk. With this app, users sift through social media venues to manually pluck out potential customers and bring their contacts into the main platform.

Features / Benefits:

For focusing on new lead acquisition,  there’s an automated function to add new leads based on custom-defined triggers. It identifies high-quality leads that exhibit specific characteristics, such as demographics, ‘likes’ or shopping habits. You can monitor customer feedback, keep track of engagement and conversation history, get notifications, and sync leads between your social media accounts and the CRM.

Pricing:

  • Zoho offers a free version limited to 1 team member & 1 brand.

  • Standard plan is $10 per month, billed annually and includes 2 team members & 1 brand.

  • Professional plan is $25 per month, billed annually and includes 3 team members & 1 brand.

  • Agency plan is $200 per month, billed annually and includes 5 team members & 10 brands.

  • Agency Plus plan is $300 per month, billed annually and includes 5 team members & 20 brands.

Website: zoho.com/social

 

Sprout Social

Sprout puts the social media aspect front and center of its CRM platform, incorporating accounts from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+. It’s a big brand for composing, backlogging and scheduling social media posts across multiple channels and for many accounts, and following customer engagement. 

Features / Benefits:

This is a massive stack, covering virtually all the main features of a social CRM system. There’s a smart inbox to collect all social interactions and full conversation history with each contact. There’s brand monitoring with keyword, hashtag and location searches. You get rule-based workflow automation and a bot builder. Team collaboration features include assigning and prioritizing tasks. Then, there’s reporting for both your posts, ads, as well as your team's performance.

Pricing:

  • Standard plan is $99 per user/month.

  • Pro plan is $149 per user/month.

  • Advanced plan is $249 per user/month.

Sprout Social offers a 30-day free trial

Website: sproutsocial.com

 

Nimble

Touted as a game-changing CRM by mogul Mark Cuban, Nimble social CRM is designed to work in tandem with the Microsoft family of programs. It integrates Twitter, Facebook, AngelList, Instagram, Foursquare and Google+. As the name goes, Nimble has the kind of light and flexible feel beloved by the 21st-century business class. 

Features / Benefits:

Nimble keeps tabs of social media mentions. It automatically finds and links the social accounts of leads and customers, and uses that social data to enrich their contact details within the CRM. Nimble also has several “smart” search functions whereby contacts can be sorted by connectivity status, or using following/followers stats. There’s a good agenda manager, and they have detailed analytics too.

Pricing:

  • Business plan is $19 per user/month billed annually.

Nimble offers a 14-day free trial.

Website: nimble.com

 

eClincher

eClincher is the kind of social media kit with a decent CRM tool that puts sales and ROI at the front of their pitch. Perhaps it covers the largest number of channels: Facebook pages and groups, Twitter, Instagram Business and personal, LinkedIn company pages and personal, YouTube, Pinterest, Google My Business, Yelp and Blogger.

Features / Benefits:

The social inbox and CRM let you manage all customer interactions, mentions, likes, comments and even live conversations. There’s a monitoring tool for keywords and hashtags which can also translate to new conversations and engagements. eClincher can connect you with influencers, or suggest content when planning your own posts. They offer analytics, media management, and collaboration features.

Pricing:

  • Basic plan is $59 per month for 1 user.

  • Premier plan is $119 per month for 3 users.

  • Agency plan is $219 per month for 6 users.

eClincher offers a 14-day free trial.

Website: eclincher.com

 

Agorapulse

As the name suggests, Agorapulse keeps you up-to-date with what’s happening in the online marketplace of trends, hot topics, and the latest ideas. They aren’t afraid to invite comparisons with bigger names like Sprout Social, HootSuite or Buffer. 

Features / Benefits:

The built-in social CRM tool is a major feature of Agorapulse. It combines public profiles with private notes for rich “fans and followers” contact cards and the platform auto-labels who might be important or influential. There are also tools to publish posts, engage with all comments in a single inbox, and get quick analytics. Finally, you can use an automated inbox assistant.

Pricing:

  • Medium plan is $79 for 2 users per month billed annually.  

  • Large plan is $159 for 4 users per month billed annually.

  • X-Large plan is $239 for 8 users per month billed annually.

  • Enterprise plan is $399 for 20 users per month billed annually.

Agorapule offers a 28-day free trial.

Website: agorapulse.com

 

Bonus: 6 social media marketing platforms

Sometimes you don’t need the whole package: The following platforms may not be CRM but they are tools whose main purpose is to plan, post, schedule and manage branding and marketing content on social media, as well as to unify all social engagement. Most will integrate with your favorite CRM.

 

Later

Later first and foremost marks its territory on Instagram, with an emphasis on marketing. However, the platform also aims to boost the number of your connections by getting more followers and expanding your network.

Features / Benefits:

Aside from Instagram, Later also functions with Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Features include the planning and scheduling of posts using an intuitive calendar tool. There’s an organized media library that lets you group, label, and bulk-upload files. Later has tools to connect with customers who’ve uploaded their own content, streamlining your ability to re-post great user-generated content. There’s analytics for Instagram too.

Pricing:

  • There’s a free plan for individuals.

  • Plus plan is $7.50 for 1 user per month billed annually.

  • Premium plan is $16 for 2 users per month billed annually.

  • Starter plan is $24 for 3 users per month billed annually.

  • Brand plan is $41 for 5 users per month billed annually, with $5 per additional user.

Website: later.com

 

Buffer

Buffer’s Reply tool is the contact and customer relationship management arm of the three-tiered social media platform, also composed of a publishing and analytics tools. With Buffer Reply you get to respond to social comments and streamline customer support. While not a CRM in itself, it does integrate with CRM platforms through Zapier and IFTTT.

Features / Benefits:

All incoming messages from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter go into a collaborative team inbox, where you assign conversations, avoid rep collision on single conversations, and write notes. There is easy task automation, reusable replies, and custom tags and folders. Reply also has reporting. Buffer Publish, meanwhile, lets you plan and post across all social channels.  

Pricing:

  • Pro plan for Reply is $15 per user/month ($10 per additional user).

  • Business plan for Reply plan is $35 per user/month ($10 per additional user).

  • For Buffer Publish and Analyze prices and trials, please visit site.

There’s a 7-day free trial for Buffer.

Website: buffer.com

 

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is first and foremost a social network management software and not primarily for customer relationship management—imagine Sprout’s social functions minus the sales pipeline features. Hootsuite integrates with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Wordpress, Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest.

Features / Benefits:

The Hootsuite dashboard can be customized to be more CRM-ready with a range of app extensions, like Nimble, Salesforce, Batchbook and others—all available right on the Hootsuite app directory. You can plan and schedule posts, and use social media monitoring to follow trends or keywords. It’s easy to save and share user content, and promote your own. Hootsuite also has analytics and custom reporting.

Pricing:

  • There’s a free plan limited to 3 users.

  • Professional plan is $29 for 1 user per month billed annually.

  • Team plan is $129 for 3 users per month billed annually.

  • Business plan is $599 for 5 to 10 users per month billed annually.

  • Enterprise plan (contact for details). 

Hootsuite offers a 30-day free trial.

Website: hootsuite.com

 

Falcon

Falcon is quite the all-in-one platform for social media management and marketing. Aside from publishing and monitoring the success of your posts, it also keeps you up-to-date with wider trends in your network and in the wider social sphere.

Features / Benefits:

Falcon works with Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and YouTube. The social listening tool merges social data and insights with your CRM. All incoming messages from across all social platforms go into a customizable and collaborative team inbox. You also get detailed contact profile cards for anyone who interacts with your brand.

Pricing:

  • Contact Falcon directly for prices.

  • Starter plan is for 3 users.

  • Pro plan is for 5 users.

  • Premium plan is for more users.

Website: falcon.io

 

Audiense

Audiense has two main platforms: Insights uses social media data to identify target audiences and search for trends; Connect is their robust Twitter marketing platform. A lot of AI and machine learning go into the Audiense tech. It may seem a complex platform, but for a small business looking to grow, the learning curve is worth it.

Features / Benefits:

Audiense Connect gets in-depth info on your Twitter community, and has efficient functions to filter, follow and unfollow en masse. It shows you the best time to tweet and real-time analytics. You can set up simple rules-based automation, or use a chatbot. They offer competitor comparisons, and also give you access to all of Twitter’s backlog since 2006.  

Pricing:

  • There’s a free plan for Connect for 1 Twitter account.

  • Starter plan for Connect is $96 per year.

  • Standard plan for Connect is $948 per year.

  • For Audiense Insights, the annual plan is $696 per month billed annually.

Website: audiense.com

 

Loomly

Loomly is a team platform for planning social media outreach and campaigns and getting measurable and actionable feedback. It automates publishing for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn & Google My Business. 

Features / Benefits:

Loomly has different view options to see your upcoming posts, plus you get notifications when posts are due to be published. It can make post suggestions based on trends, and has guides for crafting posts from title to optimization tips. All media like pics, videos and notes stay stored and organized. They’ve got version logs, commenting, and approval features. Loomly does analytics for posts made inside and even outside its platform.

Pricing:

  • Base plan is $25 per month for 2 users billed annually.

  • Standard plan is $57 per month for 6 users billed annually.

  • Advanced plan is $119 per month for 16 users billed annually.

  • Premium plan is $249 per month for 26 users billed annually.

  • For Enterprise plan for 27+ users contact them.

Loomly offers a 15-day free trial. 

Website: loomly.com

 

Social CRM: Meet your customers where they feel comfortable

Folks spend a lot of time on social media: it’s familiar turf. Some can’t be bothered to fill out special forms on a company website. Others don’t want to be bothered making phone calls or sending emails.

Being able to “do CRM” directly within social networks means meeting the customers where they already feel comfortable.

Rather than dealing with folks in private, one of the benefits of social CRM is its ability to help brands acknowledge issues out in the open. Excellent social CRM strategies demonstrate a company’s transparency and cue a wider crowd into brand awareness.

Finally, getting social with CRM lets companies keep abreast of what the people are saying about them, their competitors, and overall industry trends.

These are public domain conversations containing voices that want to be heard. To ignore their presence would be, quite simply, willful ignorance—a trait that does not serve well in the social media age. 

Get on top of your social game and check out social CRM today.

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