16 case studies that prove Social CRM

Many expect Social CRM to be a hot phrase in 2011.  It should be because the three most influential factors a person uses to decide whether or not to do business with a company are:

  • Personal experience (98%)
  • Company’s reputation or brand (92%)
  • Recommendations from friends and family (88%)

Source:  Cone Business in Social Media Study, 2008
Since Social media amplifies all three, it makes sense the terms, “Social” and “CRM,” belong together.
I’m a big believer in Social CRM but I think the phrase is still being defined.  One reason is the graphic above.  It’s very good but it is shows Social CRM as a concept that requires visualization to be explained.  Another reason is  two very smart people, when asked, give different answers.
Paul Greenberg, author and leading authority on SCRM, stated that Social CRM is “…designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide a mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment. It’s the company response to the customer’s owning of the relationship.”
Michael Fauschette says: “Social CRM is the tools and processes that encourage better, more effective customer interaction and leverage the collective intelligence of the broader customer community with the intended result of increasing intimacy between an organization and its prospects and customers. The goal is to make the relationship with the customer more intimate and tied to the company by building a public ecosystem to better understand what they want and how they interact with the various company touchpoints like sales, customer service etc…”
I favor a more matter-of-fact definition: Social CRM = a 1-to-1 sales relationship that occurs through social media and is profitable, sustainable and built on trust.
To substantiate, here are 16 case studies that prove Social CRM.

  1. AFTER STEAZ: When an organic tea company started talking on Facebook and Twitter about why teas that are organic matter, consumer listened.  In fact they not only listened, they bought the product and sales doubled.  When downloadable coupons were then offered on these social networks, 250,000 were downloaded and 2,830 tweets were recorded in an hour.
  2. BARACK OBAMA: Social media campaign for the President on My.BarackObama.com raised $30,000,000 from over 70,000 personal fund-raising pages, 400,000 blogs, 35,000 groups and 200,000 offline events. Based on approval ratings, it also was probably the time when trust in the President was highest.
  3. BEST BUY (Twelp Force) : Best Buy employee communities grew to 2,200 employees within 3 months and responded to over 13,000 customers on social networks answering public questions, concerns, and opinions. The Twitter feed @twelpforce now counts over 29,000 followers and the number of questions averages 100-125 per day and is considered a key value-add by customers and the company
  4. CLOROX: Launched online community, CloroxClassrooms.com, with blog and Twitter effort on Labor Day weekend at the beginning of the school year.  Twitter page was among the Top 10 trending topics over Labor Day weekend and blog was recognized by the Marketing to Mom Coalition and mommy bloggers for excellence in terms of delivering trusted, sharable information.
  5. COMCAST: Started “Comcast Cares” Twitter customer service center and attracted 2,700 followers.  More important, from a Social CRM standpoint, many who were critics of the company changed to raving fan.  Quality of attention and dialogue now serves as model for the the company.
  6. DR. VAKSMAN: Local Dentist with five month old dental practice in San Francisco attracted 320 new clients through social media presence including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
  7. FISKARS: 300 year old Finnish company that makes fine cutting tool created online social community of crafting enthusiasts called  “Fiskateers” to built relationships with underutilized channel of small retailers for a 3X increase in company sales.
  8. FOILED CUPCAKES: A Chicago company that sells cupcakes has no store front, only a web site.  When the product was readay but the launch of the website was delayed, they relyed on Facebook and Twitter for CRM.  Social media generated 93% of its business through social media leads to surpass revenue target by +600%.  The reason: You can tweet all day long. You can update your Facebook page all day long. But are people listening? They’ll listen if they know you care about them. So my personal mandate is that I reply to every single tweet and make a comment on every single post to our Facebook page,” says owner Mari Luangrath.
  9. GENERAL MOTORS: Launched “FastLane,” one of the first blogs personally written by senior executives.  Customer feedback given through a blog saved the company $180,000/year versus traditional focus group research not to mention the enormous good will of company executives responding to consumers, not a focus group moderator
  10. GREEN BAY PACKERS: The Green Bay Packers Foundation is a philantrophic organization developed to give back to Green Bay’s Special Olympics, Pop Warner Football, Feed the Children and other community causes.  They do this through the player’s personal stories and the sales of 4,000 Packers signed merchandise items at auctions.  They’ve built a Facebook presence of 221, 843 fans and a Twitter following of 14,682.  More important, in 2009, they generated $248,000,000 in a town of 106,000 for an average sale of $2,340 per citizen.
  11. H&R BLOCK: Tax preparation is a highly seasonal business.  H&R used Facebook and Twitter to provide immediate access to a tax professional for Q&A in the “Get It Right” social media campaign.  The effort secured 1,500,000 unique visitors and answered 1,000,000 questions for a 15% lift in business versus the prior year when there was no social media “Get It Right” program
  12. HARLEY DAVIDSON (HD TALKING): Harley owners created website and social community totally funded by users and user-generated content.  Here, Harley owners trades photos, jokes, where to find hard to find parts, advice on Harley models and ownership plus there are at least 7 mechanics on-call at all times.  HDtalking.com now has 40,000+ members and cost to Harley is negligible.
  13. INDIUM: A company that manufactures special alloys isn’t sexy;  neither is convincing 14 of its engineers to start blogs.  But that exactly what the company does.  It increased leads, prospects, conversions and sales by double digits plus it gave customers the opportunity to know the company’s employees personally.
  14. JOHNSON & JOHNSON (BABYCENTER.COM): 8 year old online/social media community connected and engaged 8,000,000 new and expectant moms in the U.S. (78% of total) and another 16.5 million in 21 countries.  A major profit center for J&J and, in fact, a major social brand.
  15. QUICKEN: Launched social community and blogger outreach to build long-term relationships with future and potential customers and provided free credit reports/scores, home value report and mortgage recommendations. Quizzle.com received over 425,000 visits and 70,000 accounts were created without a dollar spent in traditional advertising.
  16. TURBO TAX: TeamTurboTax launched Twitter campaign to respond and answer questions during key tax season and found  customers were 71% more likely to recommend TurboTax because of their interactions with the company through Twitter.

Regardless of how it is defined, do these 16 case studies prove Social CRM to you?


    1. Rob Petersen

      Thanks for the pingback. Appreciate it. Rob

  1. Andrew B Schultz

    Great case studies Rob. I’m still waiting to see some clarity on what scrm means for the B2B company, even (is it too much to hope) the SMB B2B company. Are there enough communities and enough sentiment revolving around these types of businesses yet to make it possible?

    1. Rob Petersen

      Thanks Andrew. I enjoyed your tweets this morning on SCRM as well. I find marketing terminology is often a buzzword before it is defined but I’m sure it will settle out. Indium is an example of a B2B case and the learning seem to be when people in a company (big or small) band together using social tools to build relationships with leads and customers, they result can be petty extraordinary. Thanks again for the comment. Rob.

  2. Wim Rampen

    Hi Rob,
    I did stop commenting on “definition posts” about a year ago. Yours “struck” me though because you seem to be the first one using the element “1 on 1”..
    I think this is a typical CRM 1.0 element. Social is not only about Social Media (I would even argue it is not about that at all, but I’ve lost that battle already two years ago ;), it is mostly about Social Networking. Hence the paradigm should shift from a 1:1 to a m:m approach..
    One of the best examples of a m:m approach typical to Social CRM would be your Twelpforce case btw..
    Also, like Tewelpforce, many of the other cases you mention are not typical “sales” cases, but actually “Customer Service” cases. I thus do not understand why you use “sales relationship” in your “definition”.
    There’s nothing wrong with your cases, although in many cases they fail to describe the (tangible) benefit for the Company and/or for the Customer..
    As opposed to CRM 1.0, which was completely about value for the Company, I think Social CRM should be about a clear value for both partners in the equation, don’t you think?
    Wim Rampen

    1. Rob Petersen

      Hi Wim, Thank you for such a thoughtful response. I think you’re right about the 1-to-1 dynamics of CMR and they are at its foundation. I also agree with you CRM (social or not) is about much more than sales – it’s about customer service, relationship building, retention and brand loyalty. The truth is I, like any blogger, sometimes learns as much from the comments I get back as the post I write. This is a great example. Thanks for all you taught me in your reply. Please stay in touch. Rob

  3. Rita

    Hi Rob,
    Thanks for the cases, very good!
    But I am not quite sure, if it is Social CRM or good Social Media campaigns.
    I believe there is a great confusion and disagreement about the concept. A lot of executives and managers, assume that successful social media campaigns (that actually reflect on sales, ROI…) means successful Social CRM strategies.
    I totally disagree, when commonly the outcomes are just increasing awareness, WOM, sales, branding, but not necessary building long-term relationships with their customers.
    Social CRM should intersect with the traditional CRM system and its benefits(defection, CLTV, customer profitability, reducing costs, customer experience). But most of the companies only touch the customer experience, costs and sales… I haven see so far, studies where Social CRM increased customer life time value… And do they measured it
    Moreover, I am observing that this concept has been more pushing by “social media / digital” practitioners than CRM people, which can show the lack of integration with the traditional CRM.

    1. Rob Petersen

      Hi Rita,
      Thanks for your comment across the pond. I, too, are not sure if Social CRM has a true definition yet. What I observe about marketing terms is they are often coined before they are defined. That’s the bad news. The good news is marketing terms that are created, like Social CRM, and foster the type of discussion we’re having show people believe there is something powerful here, it just needs a little time to find its way to the true marketing discipline it is (or will be). Thanks again for your comment.

  4. Dante

    It is not clear for me either, all of the examples here are from successful social media campaigns, but I do not see the CRM component on them…I would like to understand how or if these companies managed to gather information from social media, they fed it to a database and with that information generated information that can help to better serve their client.

  5. Priyanka

    Nice read and great insights.

    1. Rob Petersen

      You’re welcome Priyanka. Glad you found the post helpful. Rob

  6. […] how we’ve helped other businesses and there are also over 150 case studies of social media, social crm, social commerce and SEO for other brands and businesses on this site because we’ve learned […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *