Tag Archives: SMMS

What to Look for When Evaluating a Social Media Management Platform

8 Jun

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:

www.TrustRadius.com

www.G2Crowd.com

www.Glassdoor.com

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.

Social Media Tools

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

Social Media Technology Acquisitions – Superpowers Unite

6 Jun Social Media Acquisition

Social Media Acquisition

The companies available for acquisition in the social CRM space just got a whole bunch smaller.

Corporate giants Salesforce, Adobe and Oracle are building a monster. Acquiring social media management systems Virtue, Buddy Media, and Context Optional these companies are poised to make a move to dominate the social marketing, listening and CRM space. With these recent acquisitions the space has been officially validated and now the real showdown begins. How quickly these giants can move to provide a simplified and effective social media tool for enterprise level brands to deploy across their organizations will be paramount to their success.

What do these tools do?

Enterprise level tools enable brands to create custom content, publish to social channels, provide moderation and allow for the measurement of performance from these social properties. Some of that custom content that is created can be anything from building contests to designing custom Facebook tabs and applications. In fact it’s these custom pieces that help drive fan engagement, which is what brands crave and easily creating them is key. Creating custom content that fans can interact with is what enables data capture, which is the holy grail of marketing.

The marriage of CRM and social marketing begins

Publishing, analytics and creation are necessary to have but the money is in the data, hence the common theme with all the acquisitions. These big CRM companies are trying to create the one stop social media nucleolus tool for enterprise brands. By doing so they will empower brands to not only publish content but also to create a CRM of social fan data that ties and tracks a specific fan to any actions they engage with on any of the brands social profiles. Knowing who your fans are and how that fan is engaging with you will allow the ability to better target your fan demographic through ads and other digital marketing mediums.

True enterprise level products are being built and a leader will emerge if usability and simplicity don’t come as an afterthought of the tools design. Many of these platforms are very complex in nature requiring advanced CSS skills to create many of the web app designs that drive the engagement and capture data.  The people who are using these tools on a daily basis need something that allows them to create content and publish that content quickly, this doesn’t look as “simplistic” as some of these platforms try to bill themselves as, does it?

Where do we go from here?

If the past several months are any indicator about what is about going to go down in the social media technology space we are in for one hell of a showdown between some major powerhouse companies.  It’s going to be the first company that can take a Steve Jobs like vision of simplicity and elegance and apply that experience to their platform. That company will lead this race and my bet is that its not going to come from any of these corporate giants listed above but instead from a company that can be nimble and move quickly with the nature of the industry to deliver an experience that is fluid, elegant and powerful to suit their needs.  

By – Adam Lazzara

Social Media Tools an Expense or an Investment?

9 May

Social Media Technology

It’s an expense when you don’t know what you’re doing and it’s an investment when you know the right way to do it.

There are plenty of social media management tools that are out there with more coming out on a daily basis. With each of these tools comes particular features, let’s look at three classifications for social media tools.

1)      Publishing Platforms – These are tools that allow you to easily publish to across multiple social networks.  These tools are widely popular for individuals as they have a very robust and free feature set that enhances the core features of Twitter. A couple of good examples: Hootsuite www.Hootsuite.com and Tweetdeck www.TweetDeck.com  (recently acquired by Twitter)

2)      Listening Tools – Platforms that allow your organization to set up alerts for when particular keywords that are important to you and your company are mentioned across the web. These are the tools that will scan not only social networks but community forums along with websites and blogs alerting you each time your company is mentioned or specific keywords of interest are mentioned.  An example of a listening platform would be Radian6 www.Radian6.com   Listening platforms are paid solutions.

3)      Social media management systems (SMMS) – These platforms allow for you to create, manage and measure your social media presence for your company brand.  SMMS is all about execution, giving brand managers and social marketers the ability to create socially engaging content for their fans to interact with and share across their respective networks. Companies like Shoutlet www.Shoutlet,  Vitrue www.Vitrue.com  and Context Optional www.ContextOptional.com (recently acquired by efficient frontier) are great examples of SMMS, these are paid solutions.

Major brands are using platforms to do everything from managing their entire social media team’s internal workflow process to building out custom landing pages and contests on Facebook.  Each platform has its own set of unique features and benefits.  Some are designed specifically for Facebook while others allow you to create content across all social networks and even back to your website. Platforms range in a yearly licensing price from 40k to six figures plus so it is important you have a good grasp on the core functionality of each platform before you dive in. In addition to their distinct features comes usability, how advanced must one be to effectively use the given platform. All are billed as being simplistic yet some require advanced knowledge of CSS to style any work done within the platform. Be sure you’re comfortable with the ease of use with each.

What are these tools really doing for me?

These tools should be purchased based around your social media goals and strategy; they are going to allow for you to take your social media presence to the next level. Does your company do weekly giveaways or use other methods to draw and engage fans? Consider utilizing a platform that allows you to easily create a contest to run where fans can simply enter their required information, enter, and share that they have just entered your contest across their social networks. Traditionally you have been driving people to a specific page on your website and asking them to enter there. Once they enter, you tell them thanks and have a nice day. You are missing an opportunity for that fan to share with his or her network that they have just entered a contest with your brand. After all you do want your brand or company seen by as many people don’t you?  With the right social media management platform, you can do this quite easily.

This is the part where the light bulb above your head should go off…

This is just one example on how using the correct social media tools can help you market and build your brand socially. Be sure you do the proper due diligence in evaluating these technology platforms and make certain they work WITH your goals and what you are looking to achieve.  Make this purchase an investment in your company and not an expense.

Follow Me: @AtlantaSnoop

Wrestlemania in Atlanta & The Social Media Smackdown

6 Apr

Wrestlemania Atlanta

Some people have a bucket list and on that list are items like sky diving, going to Italy, bungee jumping etc… One of those items for me is going to a Wrestlemania. It’s the mecca of all wrestling events.

Now mind you, I haven’t actually watched wrestling in a good 6 or 7 years so I am not up to speed on storylines or anything that is actually going on but there are definitely some names and faces that I recognize, shout out to The Rock, Triple H and the Undertaker for putting on a amazingly entertaining show but for the most part things have gone downhill since how I remember them.  Maybe I have just gotten old but needless to say, I had an amazing time to just being a part of something that held 71 thousand screaming fans. It was certainly an awesome evening of entertainment.

Wrestlemania Triple H

Love it or hate it, professional wrestling has been around long time and one of the things that I would certainly expect was for the WWE to be doing a much better job of presenting themselves via social media channels for their overly enthusiastic fan base to latch on to.

At the WWE’s disposal they have, to quote The Rock, “The Millions and Millions of the WWE’s fans” in the palm of their hands so why not give these fans something to share and spread to their respective networks?  There just is nothing that is very engaging across any of their properties.

With all of the superstars identities and social profiles that need to be maintained you would think that they would have a very sophisticated social media management system in place to handle all of these social media entry points. This would help them avoid any possible PR missteps and help to create a very engaging experience for fans.

Case in point – a few weeks ago, on air personality and play-by-play commentator Michael Cole tweeted a gay slur.

How on earth did this make it past the WWE executives and get published for over 35k followers to see? You see Michael Cole tweets “in character” which somehow, according to the WWE, provides some sort of rationale for the offensive slur he used. Now, if the WWE had a social media management system in place that tweet would of needed to be approved or disapproved. With the proper tools in place they could create a very strong infrastructure of social media messaging that never goes off point from the image that the WWE brand wishes to represent.

A WWE executive once told me that “their social media is their weekly television shows and that they don’t need to do anything further”. Wait, what? Your weekly television show is your social media? Somebody needs to redefine the role of “new media” or at the very least DEFINE social media for them.

The WWE, you’re a monster of a brand and much like your amazingly entertaining characters that lay the smack down every week, you truly could lay the smack down across social media if harnessed properly. After all why not mobilize those millions upon millions of fans to carry your message, which as a result would greatly expanding your merchandising sales efforts.

Or, maybe the WWE just doesn’t want to make more money? Either way I am a fan and it was a Wrestlemania to remember. Scratch that off my bucket list.

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