How Are You Using Social Marketing Management Tools?

Back in April I published a report called Take Control of Your Social Marketing, which looks at the emerging market of social marketing management tools.  In it, I identified three groups of these tools: the social publishing platforms, the social promotion builders, and the platforms that focus on both. 

In the two brief months since that report came out, the volume of questions I get about the topic has skyrocketed.  I can’t say this is surprising, as our own research is showing that many marketers are reaching a level of social marketing maturity at which tools like these can greatly increase the efficiency and success of their programs. There’s also been a lot of press coverage of the moves, changes, and announcements coming out of the vendors in this space, which has undoubtedly raised the profiles of these companies with marketers. 

  • In January, Vitrue, a company that falls into the “concentrating on both” category and which wasn’t able to participate in the original report, announced the closing of a $17 million series C financing round.
  • In February, Syncapse Corp.  made its own financing announcement -- an investment commitment of $25 million.
  • In March, SocialWare announced a partnership with LinkedIn that brings its regulatory compliance expertise and tools to the professionals’ social network.
  • In April, Shoutlet released its 4.0 product, which includes more contest tools and HTML5 features. WildFire Interactive also released a new tool set that adds social publishing capabilities to its platform.
  • In May, BuddyMedia acquired Spinback, a move that adds social commerce to its platform. And ContextOptional was the target of an acquisition, brought into the fold of Efficient Frontier.

I don’t expect the pace of change and improvement in this space to slow down any time soon, which begs the question -- if you’re a marketer using these tools, how are they working out for you?  If you’ve got thoughts you’re willing to share, head to the comments below and tell us:

  • What aspects of the platform are turning out to be the most valuable for your organization?
  • Have these tools made your social programs more efficient?  More measurable?  More successful?
  • Do you have needs that are not yet being met by the existing tools?

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Comments

Shoutlet

We've been using the Shoutlet platform to run our Social Media in Europe since the middle of last year (2010) and it's become an invaluable and integral tool for us.

It allows us to create content at an administrative level and push down to the country accounts for translation and local implementation. This functionality would also benefit agencies who look after many brands. Its features and tools are dynamic and their development is fast-paced. They've been great at understanding our needs and structuring their development plans accordingly. Shoutlet has help keep our Social Media communications streamlined, efficient and, most importantly for our brands, has help keep comms consistent.

A few features which we use the most and which are really helping keep us ahead of the curve are:

- Facebook tabs: allowing us to design content and push it out as a tab in Facebook
- Contest platform: allowing us to create our own contests, distribute across all our online channels and collect data for future eCRM efforts
- Shop n Share: a very nifty tool which allows use to pull in products from our website and create an eCommerce portal on our Facebook pages. Other brands pay a fortune to have their shops on their Facebook pages and yet we're able to use Shoutlet to create it. It's worth getting a license for this feature alone!

Everything's measurable which is great and I really believe that the success of our social media initiatives has been a direct result of using the Shoutlet platform.

Socialware

We're using Socialware Compass to enable our financial advisors to create profiles and interact with clients and prospects on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Since the tool is compliance-oriented, it has made it efficient and effective for us to use to enable social media use in a compliant manner in a highly regulated industry. Our rep-advisors are thrilled to be able to leverage social media to enhance their practices and are starting to experience positive results in that regard.

Socialware is also beta-testing a product called Voices, which enables advisors to distribute compliant content through LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and with that provides outstanding metrics.

The combination of these two tools has made Socialware an excellent social media management platform. Surely, there is additional functionality that we desire related to other social networks, team management and the like, but Socialware has been very receptive to our and their other customers' requests and we suspect our functional wish-list will be addressed fairly quickly.

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