Social Relationship Platforms (SRPs) like Sprinklr, Sprefast, and Hootsuite save marketers time and help them more effectively manage their branded Facebook pages and Twitter accounts -- but most marketers still don't use these valuable tools.
We recently analyzed the Facebook posts made by 5,000 large brand pages and found that two-thirds post exclusively through Facebook's native tools. That's right: 67% of the biggest brands we could find didn't make a single Facebook post through a third-party vendor during the six week window we studied.
Twitter marketers are more likely than Facebook marketers to use SRPs -- but not by much. We looked at almost 3,000 large Twitter accounts and found that about half post natively 50% of the time or more.
Even when marketers do hire social relationship platforms, they often do most of their posting natively. This was true on both the social networks we studied, but it's especially pronounced on Twitter. In fact, most SRPs find the majority of their clients do at least 50% of their Twitter posting natively.
Today we released an update to our Forrester Wave™ on social relationship platforms. Forrester defines social relationship platforms as technologies that help marketers publish organic posts to social networks as well as monitor and respond to customer posts on social networks.
We identified the 11 most significant vendors in the category — Adobe, Expion, Falcon Social, Hootsuite, Oracle, Percolate, Salesforce, Shoutlet, Spredfast, Sprinklr, and Sprout Social— and researched them, analyzed them, and scored them on 41 criteria. Clients can find the full report, including some very detailed product reviews and scores, here.
One of the things we looked for in our evaluation was vendors’ ability to automate key SRP functions. We know — automation remains a dirty word in social media. No brand wants to repeat the automation-driven mistakes of Coca-Cola or Bank of America. But marketers say one of their top social challenges is hiring and training enough qualified staff. In this environment, the greatest value that social relationship platforms can offer their clients is lightening their workload.
Recently the New York Times called Google Plus a ‘ghost town,’ and most marketers agree. I understand why. Even if you believe Google’s own user count (many don’t), Google Plus has only one-quarter as many global users as Facebook. Nielsen says that while Facebook users spend more than six hours per month on site, Plus users spend only seven minutes per month on site. Put simply, Google Plus isn’t the Facebook killer some hoped it would be.
But that doesn’t mean marketers should ignore Plus. Far from it: I believe every marketer should use Google Plus.
First, Google Plus has more users than you think. Yes, it pales in comparison to Facebook — but so do most other social sites. Rather than trust Google’s own user data, we decided to run our own survey. We asked more than 60,000 US online adults which social sites they used — and 22% told us they visited Google Plus each month. That’s the same number who told us they use Twitter, and more than told us they use LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Instagram. That means you can build a real follower base on Google Plus: On average, top brands have collected 90% as many fans on Plus as on Twitter. (In fact, the brands we studied have more followers on Google Plus than on YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram combined.)