Social Media Management
What is Social Media Management?Social Media Management Software is generally understood as a set of tools designed to manage or analyze interactions through multiple social media accounts from a single dashboard. Most systems permit listening for brand mentions, posting to multiple channels and running marketing campaigns. They include analytics packages to measure the relative success of campaigns. Within this broad definition, there are distinct use cases which emphasize different feature sets. Understanding how well a particular product supports your use case is the place to begin, but there are also some other important criteria:
- Mobility – a desire to access SMMS products via mobile devices.
- Integration – capabilities to tie to other systems including CRM and analytics.
- Usability – SMMS users place a high emphasis on usability/ user interface.
- Likelihood and impact of acquisition - while acquisitions can bring integration benefits, they can also alter product
Seven Use CasesThere are seven quite distinct use cases within the social media management sphere, but these are porous sub-categories and many vendors have products that span one or more.
- Listening and Sentiment Analysis At the most basic level, social listening incorporates scanning the web for potential PR crises, identifying industry trends, gathering intelligence on competitors and identifying sales opportunities. But the quantity of data these tools return can be overwhelming. Many tools have filters to help remove noise, and some include sentiment analysis which helps to categorize comments into positive or negative categories, but this is still a somewhat inexact science.
- Publishing / Engagement Publishing means scheduling posts for publication to social media channels in advance. Publishing functionality is designed to simplify drafting and publishing posts to multiple social channels according to a pre-defined schedule. When multiple people are promoting different products or services across many different channels, this becomes a broad necessity. Most tools include a publishing calendar for staggering messages and ensuring that they are congruent with one another before publishing. Some tools also featurecontent libraries where users can re-use pre-approved content for their own campaigns. Publishing functionality has become relatively commoditized and most tools now include it to some degree.
- Curation Strongly related to publishing, but best considered as a separate specialty is content curation. This is a fairly recent use case and describes the re-use of external for content marketing. This covers capabilities like browser plug-ins that allow users to immediately share web pages to social networks at the touch of a button. Twitter is the most important channel for social curation and some vendors allow filtered content from Twitter to be displayed, for example on television or even Jumbotrons.
- Promotions Also related to publishing, using social media to support marketing campaigns by running contests and sweepstakes is now a standard part of many marketing campaigns. Social content is created, usually in support of marketing messages in other channels, to increase engagement. There are several custom tools for social content for polls or sweepstakes on Facebook and other channels.
- Analytics Most SMMS vendors provide some level of analytics, and basic integrated reporting is a must.Users frequently require more sophisticated reporting capabilities however and, for this reason, vendors frequently provide APIs so that the user can leverage 3rd-party analytics packages. Users sometimes use one platform for content creation/scheduling, and rely on a separate listening platform for advanced analytics.Specialty tools specifically designed to provide social analytics continue to emerge. Some like SocialBro are focused on a single platform like Twitter. Others like Simply Measured are capable of providing a complete snapshot of social data from a variety of different platforms.
- Customer Care Social customer care is a relatively new use case which has emerged as one of the most important ways in which social technology is sued by companies. Clearly, this has been driven by consumers who quickly discovered that the quickest route to a customer service response was not to call the company and open a support ticket, but to tweet an issue to the world. The very public nature of the grievance is almost certain to to elcit a very rapid response - certainly more rapid than more traditional channels. Some social vendors like Conversocial and Lithium Social Web who specialize in this specific use case have emerged. In response, many platform vendors have started to add support functionality, including things like ticket routing, to their platforms.
- Social Sales One aspect of social selling social intelligence tools which are similar to traditional business information tools like Dun and Bradstreet or Hoovers, except that they track the social activity of any given company. The primary purpose of these tools is to help sales people be better informed about a company before contacting them on the phone. A separate category of tools called social selling or compliance tools is designed to help large highly regulated and distributed organizations like banks and insurance companies manage their brand across social channels.. For example, a tools like Hearsay Social are designed to allow a centralized team to manage approved content for branches or local market agents to use when building a Facebook page or a Twitter account.
Social Media Management in Large enterprisesThere are a number of enterprise platforms encompassing multiple use cases from listening to engagement and publishing, marketing campaigns and analytics. Additional features provided by these platforms that are not required by smaller organizations are
- Permissioning / Team Collaboration
- Shared asset libraries
- Access security
“Simplify 360 has made brand monitoring, workflow very easy and effective. Our team has been able to save time and increased clients' ROI. We have tried several other similar services without the same ease of use and success for our clients.” Read this review
- Executive Vice President at a Marketing and Advertising company with 1-10 employees
“As great as Shoutlet as a platform was when we first utilized it, it's become even better and will continue to evolve. Working with Shoutlet means you'll have a new, better system constantly. We don't research "better" platforms, because the one we use now constantly gets better.” Read this review
- President at an Internet company with 1-10 employees
“I would advise that the person given the 12mass account to handle should be someone who can exercise caution. It is a great tool to leverage on, provided you put thought and effort into your 'canned' responses that are actually useful instead of just blatant advertising/spamming. The latter would not be optimal for you.” Read this review
- Account Manager in Marketing at a Medical Devices company with 11-50 employees
“We have access to a wide range of pre-built reports as part of the package. The package also includes a report writer for building customized reports which is quite easy to use. Reporting is a real strength of the platform.” Read this review
- Senior Technology Correspondent at a Media Production company with 11-50 employees
“The customer service is superb, that's pretty important. We don't want to go through a lot of hassle stuff to get to what we want to do. Bottom line is AgoraPulse is a tool, and a very useful and intuitive tool that makes life so much easier.” Read this review
- Head of Marketing at an Internet company with 11-50 employees
“I utilized the platform to help grow the follower base and host special contests...After researching all of the products on the market, I found Offerpop to be the best solution at the right price point.” Read this review
- Online Relations Manager at a Hospitality company with 11-50 employees
“It is hands down, the best team-oriented social media management application. The ability to delegate and centralize workflow for social media management make it a great pick.” Read this review
- Director of Online Marketing at a Marketing and Advertising company with 1-10 employees
“Features, features, features. It's one thing to have features, its another to have great, reliable features. Sprout has just that. When you're working with clients that have 50k+ followers on their Twitter you do not want to mess around with a sub-par product. I need reliability so I can have peace of mind and sleep at night.” Read this review
- Partner at a Marketing and Advertising company with 1-10 employees
“It is a very handy tool for clients who struggle to gain influence on Twitter. It offers a host of helpful services from one platform.” Read this review
- Digital Marketing Specialist at an Internet company with 1-10 employees
“I can't say enough great things about AgoraPulse. What I will say is that I have a solid platform that I trust and know will do the job. With as many things as I juggle at my job, there's a lot of comfort in knowing AgoraPulse will perform---do all the work for me and makes me look good!” Read this review
- e-Commerce and Affiliate Manager at a Wholesale company with 51-200 employees
“Storify is worth it if you and your organization is creating a lot of social media buzz. If there are less than 15 people that are a part of the social media conversation, you really don't need to use this tool. It's most effective as an organizational storytelling tool, so you need to find a way to get people talking about you before you implement it.” Read this review
- Social Media Manager at a Marketing and Advertising company with 51-200 employees
“[Team] functionality enables us to build a highly collaborative platform where we can have multi-threaded conversations with clients. This allows for much deeper conversations that are possible in the single response model of other tools.” Read this review
- Manager, Social Media Operations at a Marketing and Advertising company with 51-200 employees
“We are happy with Sprout and have no desire to change products. We do hope that Sprout is able to provide some of the more advanced features like labeling and sentiment.” Read this review
- Marketing Manager, Social Media at an Entertainment company with 201-500 employees
“I don't see my self at work without using Hootsuite. Until something better comes along, it makes my life easier!” Read this review
- Director of Marketing and Communications at a Marketing and Advertising company with 51-200 employees
“NetBase has a real core competency in its sentiment analysis that no other social conversation research tool has been able to provide - and believe me, I've worked with many of these social analytics vendors.” Read this review
- Analyst in Social Media at a company with 201-500 employees
“I believe that the Brand Embassy platform is well developed to suit many companies and also they are able and willing to incorporate client requirements!” Read this review
- External Communication - Social Media at a Banking company with 1001-5000 employees
“We just renewed our contracted with LSW and committed to a two year agreement instead of a one year agreement. This speaks to the confidence we have in the product and the employees who create the feature enhancements.” Read this review
- Director, Customer Service Strategy & Operations at a Media Production company with 10,001+ employees
“AgoraPulse is typically used by the communications team for managing content, Facebook competitions, and is also used as a reporting tool.” Read this review
- Brand and PR manager at a Leisure, Travel & Tourism company with 1001-5000 employees
“Storify allows the user to tell a story or convey a message using not just words but conversations that take place in the social media. As use of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other social media increase, journalists - and anyone with a message - needs something like this to pull the information into one unifying form. Storify does that.” Read this review
- Journalism Instructor at a company with 5001-10,000 employees
“Spredfast is easy to use, and customer support responds within minutes. Also, they continue to upgrade the product, which means they're responding and reacting to customer needs and input and to the always changing landscape of social media.” Read this review
- Social Media Manager at a company with 10,001+ employees
“I love Expion for its Publishing Calendar. I can log in, upload a photo and schedule a post very quickly. However, I cannot give the software a complete 10 out of 10 because of its issues with analytics. The incorporation of graphs and tools to compare numbers would increase its utility greatly.” Read this review
- Facebook Page Administrator at a Retail company with 10,001+ employees
“This is a very well suited solution for teams that are scattered around cities or even countries. Each member of the team is able to see what the colleagues did before him, see assigned tasks and perform accordingly.” Read this review
- Social Media Manager at a Computer Software company with 501-1000 employees