In prior posts I’ve discussed the concept of “Social Relationship Management,” or “SRM.”
After some iteration (and the help of Perry Hewitt,) I’ve come up with an explicit definition:
Social Relationship Management (SRM) - the processes a company uses to monitor, engage with, and activate the often large number of loose ties it maintains across open social networks. SRM software supports these processes; information about volume, sentiment, emergent and trending themes, and key influencers comprising the collective external response to a company’s brand, business, products, people, and actions can be collected, stored and accessed by employees across the enterprise. Typical SRM goals include building brand equity, increasing sales, improving customer service, informing product management decisions and focusing business strategy on opportunities for differentiation.
My definition is heavily influenced by Wikipedia’s consensus definition of SRM’s older cousin, CRM, from which it differs in some fundamental ways:
- CRM is about managing a comparatively few relationships at the core of the business, not about managing a lot of relationships all around it.
- The nature of CRM relationships is comparatively intense, not casual in the way most social relationships are.
- Systems to manage CRM processes are all about comprehensive data collection and entry (anyone whose used Salesforce.com knows exactly what I mean here.) Systems to manage SRM process will be the opposite – accepting what voluntary participants share with it, and asking little or nothing else to add value.
- Interaction via CRM systems is proscribed (e-mail, call, meeting…) whereas the interactions through the ever-growing list of social networks is variable and changing all the time.
- The output of a CRM system tends to be centralized and hierarchical, while the output of an SRM system would tend to be distributed, and flat.
I think SRM will become at least as important to the enterprise as CRM. What do you think?
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