What Is Social CRM? A Guide to Benefits, Tips, and Tools

July 1, 2024 8 min read

Ken McMahon

Ken McMahon

Social CRM Definition

Social customer relationship management, or social CRM, combines traditional relationship management practices with social media engagement to provide a more personalized experience.

Social media management helps your business engage directly with their customers and monitor what they say and how they feel about your brand in real time. The right social media management platform with social CRM tools helps you track and manage interactions and gain a deeper understanding of your current and potential customers. Each interaction offers valuable insights, consolidating data in one place. 

Our guide dives into the world of social CRM, how it can benefit your business, and the tools you can use to enhance your operations through social insights.

Why Do Businesses Need Social CRM?

Social customer relationship management allows businesses to provide convenient support where customers already are, engage with them in real time, improve brand reputation, and personalize messaging.

Our contact center statistics survey found that 25% of customer service requests are handled via social media channels. If you aren’t present on social media with a social CRM, you risk missing out on these crucial interactions. 

A customer service representative uses social CRM to handle customer support requests more effectively.

Social CRM vs. Traditional CRM Differences 

Traditional CRM and Social CRM overlap in principle, as they’re both rooted in managing customer relationships. However, their key differences lie in their approach, data sources, and communication channels. 

An image shows an analogy between traditional and social CRM.

Traditional CRM relies on insights and internal data from customer interactions and purchase history. These interactions are from traditional channels, like phone, email, and live chat, and focus on gathering data, prospecting, lead nurturing, and sales pipeline management.

Social CRM taps into data from social media and online review sites, emphasizing customer engagement, social listening, relationship building, and brand loyalty. It offers a comprehensive view of customer behavior and sentiment on social media and helps spark social media conversations across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Threads, and X (formerly Twitter). 

Social CRM Use Cases

Your business can use social customer relationship management across various departments within your organization. Here’s how to apply it to customer service, sales, and marketing.

Customer service 

Social media enables real-time problem-solving by allowing businesses to monitor and quickly address public customer concerns, enhancing satisfaction. Social CRM tools provide insights into customer preferences, allowing for personalized support experiences. By offering responsive service through social media, businesses can build trust and loyalty while also gathering feedback to improve customer service processes.

🚨 A customer tweets about a negative experience with your product. Your social CRM system flags the mention, allowing a customer service representative to reach out, apologize, and offer a replacement from a single interface.


Social media platforms are rich sources of potential leads, and social CRM tools help identify the people interested in your products or services based on their activity. These tools also aid in nurturing leads by providing valuable content and building relationships. Additionally, social media CRM empowers salespeople to connect with prospects more personally and professionally, showcasing expertise and building trust.

✉️ A social CRM tool identifies someone who keeps posting about a specific product category. A sales rep can send a personalized message offering additional product information or a free consultation.


Social media CRM enhances brand awareness by enabling the creation of engaging content and participation in relevant social media conversations. It leverages social media data to craft targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with specific customer segments. Plus, social CRM tools facilitate social listening, allowing businesses to monitor brand mentions and trends and adapt their marketing strategies based on customer perceptions and emerging trends.

🤝 A social CRM tool reveals that a specific social media influencer consistently generates positive buzz about your product. You can then collaborate with the influencer to create sponsored content or promotions.

Product research

Social customer relationship management helps product managers understand their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) by analyzing social media content and revealing key interests, challenges, and perspectives. This understanding informs data-driven decisions for product development, allowing managers to identify feature requests, areas for improvement, and emerging trends. Social media CRM also enhances research and development efforts by aligning them with customers’ real-world needs and frustrations.

🗣️ A social CRM tool reveals that a large segment of your ICP is consistently voicing frustration about a specific limitation of your product. This can inform product development efforts by prioritizing the creation of a new feature that addresses that pain point.

Social CRM Benefits

Social customer relationship management offers a multitude of benefits for businesses. Here are some key advantages:

  • Enhances social listening: Social CRM empowers businesses to monitor online conversations and brand mentions across various social media platforms, allowing you to identify customer sentiment, track brand perception, and address any emerging issues promptly before social media crisis management is necessary.
  • Helps lead generation: Social media CRM tools can help you identify potential customers interested in your products or services based on their social media activity and interactions. This allows your marketing and sales teams to focus on qualified leads.
  • Provides actionable insights: Social CRM goes beyond simply collecting social media data. It provides valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and pain points. Businesses can make data-driven decisions about product development, marketing campaigns, and overall customer experience strategies by analyzing this data.
  • Enables omnichannel support: Social CRM creates a unified platform for managing customer interactions across all channels, including social media. This eliminates silos between departments and ensures a consistent and seamless customer experience.

Social CRM Challenges

While a CRM for social media offers significant benefits, there are also challenges to consider. These include:

  • Data privacy: Social media data raises privacy concerns, requiring businesses to comply with data protection regulations and be transparent about data collection and its use.
  • Data management: The vast amount of social media data can be overwhelming, necessitating efficient data management tools and strategies in social customer relationship management to organize, analyze, and extract valuable insights.
  • Scalability: As your social media presence grows, choosing a scalable social CRM solution is crucial to managing the increasing volume of interactions and data across platforms.

Social CRM Metrics 

Social customer relationship management can surface a wide range of metrics that management and decision makers can tap into to find valuable insights about your customer base.

Icons highlight the descriptions of key social CRM metrics.

Here are a few key metrics:

  • Traffic: Tracking the number of people who visit your website or landing pages from social media links will help you understand the effectiveness of your social channels driving traffic.
  • Engagement: Measure how people interact with your content, account, or social media post via likes, comments, and reposts.
  • Brand mentions: Monitor how often your brand is mentioned on social media, even if it’s not directly tagged. This helps you understand brand awareness and identify any emerging trends or conversations about your brand.
  • Customer demographics: Gain insights into the demographics of your social media audience, such as age, location, gender, and interests. This allows you to tailor your social media content and marketing strategies to target your ideal customer better.
  • Sentiment: Analyze the emotional tone of social media conversations about your brand. Sentiments can be positive, negative, or neutral. Identifying negative sentiment allows you to address customer concerns promptly.
  • Brand affinity: Measure how emotionally connected or loyal customers are to your brand, which can result in advocacy.
Customer sentiment dashboard

3 Examples of Social CRM Software

While there are many options available, here are three social customer relationship management examples:

  1. Nextiva: Nextiva offers an AI-powered omnichannel contact center that integrates social media management alongside features like email, phone systems, and video conferencing. This can be a good fit for businesses seeking an all-in-one communication and social customer relationship management solution.
  2. Sprout Social: Sprout Social is a social CRM platform known for its user-friendly interface and social listening capabilities. It allows businesses to monitor brand mentions, schedule social media posts, and engage with customers across various platforms.
  3. Hootsuite: Hootsuite is another social CRM solution for social media management. It provides features for scheduling posts, managing multiple social media accounts, and running social media campaigns. 

When choosing a social customer relationship management platform, consider your specific needs and budget. Some platforms offer a wider range of features, while others specialize in specific areas like social listening or social media marketing.

Maximize Your Customer Relationships with Nextiva

Creating a social CRM strategy is crucial for businesses to provide personalized experiences where the customer already is: social media. From small businesses to large enterprises, social customer relationship management enables omnichannel support, enhances social listening, helps generate leads, and provides actionable insights for data-driven decisions.

Nextiva’s marketing suite with social CRM tools can help you achieve your business goals and meet customer needs. Try Nextiva today and start engaging more with people across channels so you can build lasting customer relationships and become brand champions.

Elevate your online brand reputation.

Never miss a reply, comment or message again. Read and respond across all channels in real time.

Social CRM FAQs

Learn more about social customer relationship management with these FAQs.

What are social CRM software examples?

There are many social customer relationship management options available, but here are three popular choices. Nextiva offers a unified communication platform integrating social media management with email, phone systems, and video conferencing, ideal for businesses seeking an all-in-one solution. 

Other social customer relationship management platform options include Sprout Social, which is known for its user-friendliness and social listening capabilities. It allows businesses to monitor brand mentions, schedule posts, and engage with customers. Hootsuite focuses on social media management, providing features for scheduling posts, managing multiple accounts, running campaigns, and offering robust analytics tools.

What are potential social CRM risks?

While social CRM offers benefits, managing data from various platforms can be complex and requires social media strategies to ensure accuracy and avoid silos. Businesses must clearly define their goals and choose appropriate solutions to get the most out of their social customer relationship management. Plus, social media data raises privacy concerns, making it important to comply with data protection regulations.

How do businesses use social CRMs?

Businesses use social CRMs to enhance customer service by responding directly to inquiries and complaints on social media. They generate leads by identifying potential customers through social media interactions and build brand awareness through engaging content and relevant conversations.

Social customer relationship management also help develop targeted marketing campaigns by leveraging social media data to understand customer demographics and preferences, and they provide insights into customer sentiment, pain points, and brand perception.

How does a social CRM integrate with social media?

Social customer relationship management software integrates with various social media platforms through APIs, allowing businesses to manage all social media interactions from a single platform. This integration enables scheduling and publishing posts across different platforms, monitoring brand mentions and conversations in real-time, and analyzing social media data to gain insights into customer behavior and sentiment.

Ken McMahon


Ken McMahon

Ken McMahon leads Customer Success for Nextiva. His 25 years of experience leading various aspects of the customer experience including professional services, customer success, customer care, national operations, and sales. Before Nextiva, he held senior leadership roles with TPx, Vonage, and CenturyLink. He lives in Phoenix with his wife and two children.

Posts from this author
Call badge icon