So you need a social media platform to help you with your day to day marketing tasks that cover everything from publishing to customer service to reporting, sound familiar? So how do you cut through the marketing noise and find a tool that will actually give you what you need? It’s easier said than done but fortunately I am here to help you demystify some of that.
I have worked as a sales engineer selling these platforms to brands of all sizes for over 8 years now and still come across social media management platforms that I have never even heard of. So how do you begin your evaluation?
There are literally tons of choices and all of them are awesome. Seriously, look at their websites and marketing materials, every one of them lists a bunch of big name customers and appears to the greatest platform on the planet to handle all of your marketing needs. Detecting sarcasm yet?
A Googling we will go.
You will find yourself at some point Googling “Social Media Platforms” or “Social Media Tools” and you will see a litany of ads and results like “23 Tools for Marketers” or “The Top 52 Social Media Platforms Every Marketer Should Know”. Spend enough time searching and you will find review sites, analyst reports, webinars, product guides and even some dated demos.
Let me save you some time check out the following:
You’re probably asking, why Glassdoor? Isn’t that a job review site? It is, but you are buying a platform that needs constant development and there is no better place to get some insight into how things are going with the product development team. There’s gold in those reviews and you just have to look for it. If you see reviews describing product teams as a disorganized mess then there’s a good chance you are going to see some major issues with future development or lack thereof.
Let us not forget the analysts, Gartner and Forrester Research. Gartner provides a report called the “Magic Quadrant” while Forrester provides “The Wave”, fancy huh? Both of these reports evaluate social platforms based on criteria in which they select and determine to be relevant and “where the industry is going”. Basically, they send vendors a questionnaire and if they like your responses you’re invited participate to demo your product against a handful of use cases they select.
Review these analyst reports but take them with a grain of salt. Gartner and Forrester both provide paid consulting for some of the vendors that make this list and magically those companies seem to score the highest, go figure.
There are more things for you to consider when reviewing these platforms but this should give you a good start as to where to start looking. I will be covering much more very soon to help you dive into the details and identify things that you want to look for. If you have questions or thoughts be sure to share them in the comments below!
By – Adam Lazzara