At the core of marketing is this simple concept; build strong customer relationships. The stronger you make these relationships the faster your brand and company will grow. Years ago, before the emergence of Social Media for business, delivering your marketing message was distributed through different channels such as newspapers, magazines, TV spots, etc. This worked great and was congruent with the times. Now with the emergence of Social Media like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Foursquare and a variety of others, marketers are shifting gears and seeing brands explode. It truly is amazing how the marketing environment shifts almost weekly as social sites update regularly, applications/tools are added, and new sites launch. Marketers have to be fully aware of the shifts in technology in order to deliver the best results for their brands.
The main dilemma that existed initially was that marketers had to access these tools separately on their respective domains. Talk about time consuming. I can’t even fathom the thought of having to do it that way again. Well luckily, people got smart and decided to create Social Media Management platforms that allow you to manage multiple Social Media sites in one place. Most platforms either function as a website or a desktop application. These allow marketers to save time, deliver a more concise message across multiple channels, and build a more interactive/loyal brand.
Being a marketer myself, I have tried almost every Social Media Management platform that exists today. It is critical for me to use the right tool to serve my needs. Although every marketer has different needs, I use the following to evaluate how useful a SMM platform is:
- Twitter integration
- Facebook integration
- Linkedin integration
- FourSqaure integration
- Android/Iphone Application
- Overall User Interface
- RSS Feed Integration
- Customizable Appearance
With that said, I will give you an overview of 4 Social Media Management tools to assist you with your Social Media marketing. The four that I have tested are Seesmic, HootSuite, Marketmesuite, and Tweetdeck.
Pros: Allows you to connect with Foursquare, Twitter, Salesforce Chatter, Google Reader, Google Buzz, Facebook, Linkedin, and Ping.fm. It also lets you add plugins, has a fully customizable design, a desktop application to download, pop up notifications so you are always informed, and predicts trending #tag topics on Twitter when writing tweets. I absolutely love the android app for updates and easy posting.
Cons: The main issue I have is that it doesn’t schedule tweets, provides no metrics to analyze efforts, and has no Blackberry app.
Summary: This is a good basic tool to use for the individual marketer who is communicated on a personal level. It may not be the best tool for someone who is performing marketing for a client/brand.
Pros: Allows you to connect with Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Ping.fm, WordPress, Myspace, Foursquare, Mixi, and add RSS feeds. It has a beautiful user interface, allows you to schedule messages, add multiple team members (pro membership $5.99/month) and provides you with metrics.
Cons: Only opens in web browser so it doesn’t have a desktop application, only has three theme options to choose from, and doesn’t auto detect commonly used #tags. Additionally, if you are looking to get the enterprise version for a large company it is RIDICULOUSLY expensive.
Summary: This is a great tool for companies that have multiple team members working on the same account or have the funds to purchase the upgraded memberships.
Pros: Allows you to connect with Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Ping.fm, Zen Desk, Bizo, and your bit.ly API. It also supports multiple users for free, can follow certain keywords, create and monitor campaigns, and supports RSS integration.
Cons: The main flaw is that it isn’t a smooth user interface. I find it very difficult to set up and navigate. It doesn’t have a mobile app, you can’t adjust the theme design, and no pop up notifications.
Summary: I think this has the potential and offers some unique features that aren’t offered by other platforms. However it needs some refinement.
Pros: Allows you to connect with Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Foursquare, Google Buzz, bit.ly API, and Y Frog. It has a highly customizable appearance, pop up notifications, and has an awesome desktop application that is downloadable. The most unique features are that it allows you to add your email client information so you receive updates directly to your inbox and you can filter certain people from seeing updates about certain topics.
Cons: A few short comings that need to be addressed are no # tag recognition, no RSS integration, no scheduling of updates, no team member additions, and no metrics provided.
Summary: This is obviously one of the oldest most tested Social Media Marketing platforms to exist. It is definitely a great tool for the everyday user but a business may find it more beneficial to exercise some other options.
Social media management tools will increase your efficiency. The key is to understand which tool best suites your needs and then go with that one. How