Grow Membership with Microsoft Dynamics Social Engagement

02 November 2018 by Steve Sydee

Social media is a vast and noisy world with millions of things going on at once. But somewhere within that background noise, there will be some people, messages and activities which could be really important to your organisation to find, understand, engage and address.

Here are a couple of examples:
  • what if someone you don’t know is asking for some information that you are perfectly poised to provide – how do you turn this into a great lead to get a new member? 
  • what if someone you do know is complaining about a service you provided that went wrong?  Can you turn this into a case, resolve it, and turn that member into a happy net promoter? 

Membership organisations can really extend their reach, grow their membership and improve retention by monitoring and acting upon social media.

But beware: monitoring social posts can be like drinking from a fire hose. How do you find only the posts important to you, and ignore the rest?  Well, Microsoft Social Engagement is a tool that lets organisations control social media chaos through its ability to collect, organise, analyse and act upon focussed and relevant social media activity.

How can Membership organisations use this in Microsoft Dynamics 365? Typical scenarios you can use Microsoft Social Engagement in include:

  • Member Service: address service scenarios on social media with Social Engagement
  • Marketing: manage your brand and reputation on social media
  • Growing member Lifetime Value: social selling - grow your network and boost sales

What does Microsoft Social Engagement do?

Microsoft Social Engagement (MSE) is a standalone product so can work with many Membership CRM systems but it integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Outlook. Even better news is that it is free for most Dynamics 365 customers (just look in your Admin panel and check the box for Social Engagement). See here for full conditions.

At its core, MSE is a tool to monitor posts on social channels like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube Instagram, blogs, forums, and Linked In, based on keywords which you can specify. A keyword can be your organisation, a competitor, your brand, a key member of staff, a key subject that your organisation addresses, or any other topic you would like to track.

What does Microsoft Social Engagement look like?

MSE comes with out-of-the-box dashboards that roll-up the data it has collected for the keywords you specified, on the channels you told it to monitor.

These dashboards can tell you the overall social media sentiment towards your brand, where the people posting on social media are located geographically, who your biggest fans are, and what key phrases are used in relation to your keywords, among many other things. When you spot anything of interest and want to know more, you can drill down to see actual individual posts and authors.

But it is much smarter than just a set of dashboards. There is embedded Microsoft Azure Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) which works out what you might want to see. For example, an "Intentions" data view pane can analyse each post to work out what it is really about – particularly whether a post is an information request or a purchase intention or a complaint etc. You can easily set up an automation rule to autotag posts with their “Intention” then push those in specific categories straight into a particular staff member’s Outlook inbox, or create a new Lead or Case in your Membership CRM for Case Handlers or the Membership / Sales people to follow up.

How can Microsoft Social Engagement grow my brand reach?

You can see in real time, and historically, who is posting about you, and track each post sentiment on a map - red for negative, green for positive etc. as in the diagram.

You can also use this as a Buzz map - viewed by timeline to see where the bursts are and what may have triggered them. If you see distinct peaks, have a look at one of the MSE dashboards to see who is posting and what the key phrases are. 

After studying at the peaks in the centre pane below, you could click and see a list of who was posting at the time. But even more helpfully, you can filter this list to show only the post Authors with high 'Reach Score' i.e. large followings. 

These are the key influencers who are posting positively about your brand; you can list them and tag them as Authors so you can concentrate engaging and leveraging them to retweet your messaging. This can massively extend your reach.

Sounds great, what's next?

There is masses more in MSE Update 1.8 which was released a couple of months ago. But an even more exciting evolution is just around the corner. Called Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Insights it adds demographics and other data sets (so you can start to see automatically joined-up data) to an extended AI framework, so it can offer predictions and best courses of action. For instance:

  • which of my members are at risk of churn?
  • which cases should I escalate to handle better or faster?
  • where are my new members coming from and which leads should we focus on?
  • track who is interested in which keyword search terms, MSE can show you an analysis of search terms on Bing by age, gender, location etc. so you can really start to build up those personas and refine targeting

There is so much more that Microsoft Social Engagement can do for your Membership organisation. If you want to find out more, you can request a trial of Microsoft Social Engagement to see all the features available to Dynamics 365 users, as well as users of other Membership CRM solutions. 

And of course, if you have any questions about Microsoft Social Engagement, contact smartimpact