Businesses can no longer ignore social networking as they will “miss out on the baseline of expectations in the industry,” said Enbu Consulting’s managing director Fran Meggs.
While the rise of social media has proven to be a challenge to many businesses, Meggs believes businesses cannot afford to ignore it anymore.
“First of all, a lot of people may have liked not to opt to get involved in it, but the reality is that they don’t have a choice anymore. I think social media has developed at such a level that you can’t really ignore it,” he said.
“It’s not as if they’re going to miss out on a bonus, they’re actually going to miss out on the baseline of expectations in the industry – if you’re not in social media and people look you up within seconds and realise that you’re not in that space, you’re actually going to lose a huge amount of mindshare in that market.”
Enbu Consulting specialises in implementing Sage customer relationship management (CRM) solutions and provides such applications to clients.
The Dublin-based company has developed CRM Social Media Manager, which allows businesses to integrate their Sage CRM solutions with social networks, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
“Our product gets installed on CRM, the base platform, and from there it integrates to the social networks available in the industry,” explained Fran Meggs, managing director of Enbu Consulting.
“It allows you to import and synchronise your social media contacts with your CRM contact database and once you’ve done that, you can then build up a business process of communicating with your social networking contacts.”
The tool can be used as a database to market against, broadcast against and develop an online presence and revenue channels.
Benefits of social media
One of the benefits behind using social media in business to contact clients is the ability to bypass the “gatekeepers,” said Meggs. He stated that, rather than contacting the PA to get to a senior member of staff, people can utilise social networking to get directly to the person they want to contact.
Meggs also points out social networking is “the cheapest marketing tool bar none in the industry today,” making it an affordable means of maintaining a relationship with customers.
“It literally costs you nothing to build your social media, other than internal adoption and the education process,” said Meggs.
“There’s an overhead in getting to know how to do it but once you get that overhead over with, it’s practically free.”
The nature of social networking means it’s constantly updated by the people maintaining their own profiles, meaning companies can access the latest information on demand.
“If you buy target lists for marketing, firstly they’re expensive, secondly they’re out of date and thirdly they’re difficult to manage. If you look at those three aspects, they’re all completely negated by social media,” said Meggs.
While Enbu Consulting’s Social Media Manager CRM is doing well on the Sage CRM community forum, Meggs said traction is still quite slow.
“A huge amount of people are interested and there have been a huge amount of downloads, but we’re still in the infancy of the understanding that people have to make an investment,” he said.
“And they don’t really realise, or maybe haven’t convinced themselves yet, that there is a small investment to be made to get these types of tools and products because the key question is ‘does social media pay?’
“The answer hasn’t been prevalent so people are still very inquisitive,” he said.