Pain: Social Media Teams Are Challenged To Respond To the Distributed Conversations
I’m starting to get a few briefings and requests from strategists LaSandra Brill, about new technologies that enable social marketers to quickly manage, maintain, and conduct reporting on multiple channels. The issue of lack of scale is resonating with social strategists –as a result, the market is developing new tools that will help them manage them. This is one component of Social CRM, which if you haven’t heard about, please read the report on the 18 use cases of Social CRM. (Update: This is only one software segment in the overall Social Business Stack, which you should first understand)
Above is the full report, feel free to read, download and share.
Update: Jan 5th, 2012. After nearly two years of watching this nascent market, Altimeter has published a report segmenting the growing vendor space.
Solution: As a Result, Social Media Management Systems are Emerging
Like CMS and WMS for centralized website management, Social Media Management Systems (SMMS) empower social media teams to manage multiple distributed social channels from one location –enabling the opportunity to build deeper relationships by being in more places at once.
Definition: Social Media Management Systems are collection of procedures used to manage work flow in a disparate social media environment. These procedures can be manual or computer-based and enable the manager to listen, aggregate, publish, and manage multiple social media channels from one tool.
How it works: Three simple features In the most basic sense, these management tools do the following: 1) connect with social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. 2) Allow the manager to quickly publish from one location to each of those channels, some provide ability to customize to each channel 3) Aggregate and Manage social data. The system allows the manager to see an aggregated view of what’s happening (from views to comments) and may offer some form of analytics and conversion metrics.
List of Social Media Management Systems (SMMS)
Sorted by alphabetized order by parent company, not in priority or capability.
- Argyle Social: Provides features to publish and schedule, manage a social inbox, measuring tools, and white label solutions.
- Awareness Networks, Social Marketing Hub an enterprise class community platform has launched their own tool that has Facebook, youtube, flickr, Twitter, and of course connect with their own community features. In particular, this is an existing enterprise class vendor (previously I’ve published thorough research report on them) which bodes well to their level of potential levels of service, support, and market viability. (they’ve briefed me)
- Buddy Media: Has a set of management tools that help brands with Facebook, Twitter, and monitoring and reporting. You’ll find iterations for both brands and agencies. They have case studies from large brands and media on their site.
- Constant Contact: Purchased Nutshell Mail which has keyword monitoring systems that can empower small business owners to receive alerts about their social networking accounts. On Feb 28th they acquired SCRM company Bantam Live which has some SMMS features, for sales and marketers. (hat tip to Dan Ziman)
- Context Optional offers management tools for moderating Facebook pages
- Conversocial: Offers solutions to help managers to plan updates and learn what type of content resonates the most with your fans and followers in social networks like Facebook and Twitter
- CoTweet was recently acquired by ExactTarget. They provide Twitter integration tools, scheduling, workflow, listening tools, multiple author management, and management dashboard tools
- Distributed Engagement Channel by DEC Their system offers the ability to publish content, moderate UGC submissions, and track and optimize channel performance. They also have features such as ID integration, media handling, and reporting.
- Engage Sciences: Allows marketers to launch social promotions to engage customers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and corporate websites, whilst aggregating, filtering and storing streams from across the social web to allow companies to easily showcase the voices of advocates.
- Engage121: This group focuses on: Enhance brand image through consistent social media messaging, Empower local outlets with social engagement tools to get started in social media, Mobilize employees as brand ambassadors, Monitor and manage permissions of thousands of local agents and franchises
- Expion Expion allows large Enterprises to publish and aggregate social media conversations that can scale to hundreds of local based Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and YouTube channels, etc. The tool has the ability to listen, publish, manage, respond, govern, and glean intelligence across these channels.
- Hootsuite Integrates Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. Whereas before you could update Facebook and LinkedIn through Ping.fm functionality, things are different now. Facebook and LinkedIn accounts are treated similarly to Twitter accounts: you can create columns from these social networks, read your friends’ status updates, and update multiple Facebook accounts. Facebook integration offers in-line commenting.
- Involver: Audience Management Platform provides marketers with the solution for publishing content, monitoring conversations, managing applications, and tracking performance.
- MediaFunnel offers integration with Facebook and Twitter. They have several permission based workflows that include a variety of roles such as a contributor, administrators, publishers. This is not unlike traditional editorial processes used in CMS systems.
- MessageMaker: A social media management system (SMMS) that lets you publish and manage targeted content across a large number of social interaction points while generating actionable intelligence.
- Moderation Marketplace Provides Social Media Management and Content Aggregation solution designed to be delivered to your clients under your brand.
- Mutual Mind offers brand monitoring, permission based workflow as well as reporting tools.
- Objective Marketer provides managers ability to structure their messages by campaigns, features include User Management with roles and permissions and workflows, scheduled content, integration, analytics and reporting. The tell me their current client makeup is 60% Enterprises, 30% Agencies and 10% Bloggers / Independent Consultants. (in Jan 2011, Objective Marketer was acquired by Email Vision)
- Postling allows for individual clients or brand to manage assets like blog, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter account, and Flickr accounts from a single management system. There is also comment aggregation as well as workflow between teams.
- Seesmic. Seesmic offers support for multiple Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Ping.fm, Foursquare and Google Buzz accounts. Also offered on iPhone, Android wp7 and Blackberry. Languages translation support includes: English, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish and more. Seesmic has received investments from Salesforce and has an integrated offering with Chatter.
- Shoutlet offers a multi-user application that helps global brands, small businesses, and marketing agencies build, engage, and measure all of their social media marketing communication via one platform.
- SocialVolt Provides STUDIO which is a complete social media management platform that integrates all the tools a company needs to successfully engage with their clients on the social web.
- SpredFast is an up and comer who recently briefed me, this Austin based company offers the core features and claims to have a 40% enterprise customer base. They have partners with Convio, Radian6, Crimson Hexagon, Sysomos, Trackkr, IBM, Porter Novelli, Sierra Club, HomeAway. They position their product as collaborative campaign management and offer features such as scheduling content, features that integrate with events and social stream like features similar to Friendfeed. (they’ve briefed me)
- Sprinklr offers social media management tools, it’s interesting their website has a strong focus on listening first, before the publication.
- SproutSocial: Sprout Social brings it all together to help you listen, engage and build loyalty to grow your audience and your business.
- Strongmail, a traditional email marketing platform offers platform that tracks the multi-stage sharing activity of the campaign all the way to conversion, analysis on reach, sharing activity, CT’s, feedback on Facebook fan page wall posts.
- Syncapse (formerly SocialTalk) provides integration with Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and MoveableType, this management tool provides governance, workflow, scheduling and other features.
- Targeted: Targeted ESPâ„¢ (Enterprise Social Port): A social media management system that is designed specifically for large enterprise networks, channel management and distribution networks. Targeted ESPâ„¢ is specifically designed to syndicate content and empower the end user while reducing the workload for corporate management. The platform allows not only the distribution of corporate-approved messaging to the local level, but also the aggregation of direct social network data and social intelligence reporting metrics.
- Vitrue: Update may 2012: Now acquired by Oracle. social media management systems, that has integration with Facebook and Twitter, they offer scheduling features, and the ability to link multiple Facebook pages together.
- Webtrends: Webtrends offers a solution to help marketers quickly define and execute on social marketing strategy. Solutions is offered as self and full service subscription plans to meet various social marketing needs.
- Wildfire: Offers features for social sweepstakes that promote word of mouth as well as ability to manage and publish from their platform to multiple social networks, with analytics.
This vendors never want to market or went into deadpool
- KeenKong offers a dashboard like management tool that not only aggregates the conversation from Twitter and Facebook, but tries to make sense of it from Natural Language Processing. (Update March 2011, they have since gone stealth and never launched, hat tip to Blake for pointing this out.)
Before you jump into the market and utilize these tools, first follow this guiding principles.
- Get personal with your market –avoid social media spewing: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Spewing corporate content to every known social channel may make your life easier as a marketer, but could cause serious ramifications to the trust of your community. Remember that like fraternity row, each frat and sorority house has a different set of relationships, language, and interests –don’t think one type of content will fit all.
- It’s the people stupid –not carpet bombing: One of the promises of social is to build meaningful relationships with customers –not apply traditional spray and pray marketing tactics. By using these tools, you could be missing out on true relationships that could be deeper, with more loyalty, and the benefits of advocacy.
- Don’t get spread too thin: Being in all places at all times can mean you’re nowhere all the time. Pick your battles and remember that the needs of the LinkedIn community are far different than those of MySpace, be selective by first knowing your socialgraphics of your customer base.
Use These Tools After You’ve Developed a Social Strategy
Every technology has upsides and downsides, there are always tradeoffs. While these tools may help social strategists manage an unscalable situation — they have downsides:
Industry Insights: A Commodity Feature, With Bandwagon Appeal
Expect nearly every community platform (there are over 100) to launch these types of features, quickly followed by host of startups that specialize in this, then also the CoTweets of the world and other Twitter platforms like Seesmic to quickly get into the enterprise game. In a few quarters, expect the traditional CMS and WMS players to finally wake up and get relevant, followed by app developers in Salesforce appexchange to launch their own iterations. In the long run, this will be commodity set of features, just a check off in the overall suite of social business software but an important component of Social CRM.
If you know a vendor that offers these features, please leave a comment, I’ll take a closer look, and plan to take some briefings with some of these vendors. Note: I’m making many changes to this post, it’s being altered in near real time