There is no set standard on how to classify social technologies. And analyst firms like Gartner or Forrester don’t do a good job helping B2B buyers make sense of the technologies that power social media.
Peer-to-peer software reviews sites like G2 and Trust Pilot provide detailed information based on customer reviews. In addition, they plot and rank software suppliers based on platform ad data from web sources and social networks. Below is an example of the G2 Grid® for Social Media Analytics, similar to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.
The challenge with these review sites is that they classify social technologies into more than one category, and some are classified incorrectly. Even though the space is converging, buyers need clarity on where their investments are going and what problems various social technologies will solve.
Remember that social technology is a dynamic category, continually evolving and reshaping. Therefore, keeping a pulse on what’s happening with social media technologies is critical.
Navigating the Social Media Marketing Software Maze: The Challenges Unraveled
Brands today have several challenges with identifying and implementing social media software. The most significant obstacles are cost, adoption, privacy, and security. Let’s delve into these issues to understand better the hurdles marketers face.
The first challenge is cost. Investing in social media marketing software might seem expensive for smaller brands and start-ups. There are various options, from budget-friendly tools to enterprise-grade software solutions, but finding the right fit can be challenging. Therefore, companies must carefully evaluate their needs, resources, and objectives.
Next is adoption. Introducing new social software requires a smooth onboarding process and employee training. Some platforms have steep learning curves; not every team member can adapt quickly. Ensuring everyone is on the same page and takes the software’s capabilities.
Privacy and security concerns have become a significant priority in recent years. With regulations like GDPR and CCPA in place, companies must be vigilant in safeguarding customer data. In addition, they must ensure their software complies with these regulations to avoid potential legal and financial ramifications. Unfortunately, navigating these complex requirements can be a minefield for marketers who don’t fully understand the social technology industry and how data is collected.
Marketers should constantly assess risk and be prepared for unforeseen challenges. For example, social media platforms can change policies, restrict data access, or introduce new features that impact software compatibility.
Navigating the Social Media Marketing Software Jungle: Best Practices
Crafting a well-thought-out content strategy is critical before considering which social media software platform to invest in. Imagine being an architect; nobody would start building a skyscraper without a blueprint, right? Similarly, having a solid plan guides the choice of software and ensures the selection of a platform that complements goals and objectives.
Once a decision is made on the right social software, it’s time to establish a content calendar and schedule posts. Automated social media marketing software tools like Buffer and Hootsuite can post to multiple channels simultaneously and have built-in algorithms to post at optimal times.
Analyzing content performance and conducting A/B testing across all channels offers a bird’s-eye view of what works and doesn’t. Most social media software platforms simplify this task by allowing simultaneous posting and comparison of results across multiple channels.
Next, connecting with the audience and establishing lasting relationships is essential to practicing social listening. Like a skilled detective, sharpening listening abilities and keeping tabs on discussions concerning the brand are crucial. Sprout Social proves helpful in tracking social media conversations and gaining insight into the audience’s interests.
Identifying influencers demands a keen eye and a systematic approach. Start by ranking them based on their topical authority, network size, and other factors relevant to the brand. It’s like drafting a sports team; the goal is to pick players that boost the team’s overall performance. Tools like BuzzSumo and Klear make this task a walk in the park, helping zero in on the right influencers.
Lastly, staying updated with industry trends and platform changes is essential. Picture being a captain navigating the ever-changing seas of the digital world; keeping a sharp eye on the horizon helps clear any obstacles. Subscribing to industry newsletters, following thought leaders, and attending webinars ensure staying one step ahead.
The Basics: Social Media Marketing Software
Picture this: social posting software that enables you to publish content on various social media channels without logging in and out of each one. It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Well, that’s precisely what social media marketing software is all about.
Rewind to the early days of social media, around 2008 and 2009, when only a handful of platforms published content directly to social media channels. Fast forward to today, and we see an explosion of options in the market. Brands like Hootsuite, Sprout Social (below), and Hubspot Marketing Hub have been early birds in this space, thus securing a firm grip on the market, especially for small businesses.
But wait, there’s more! Buffer, Agorapulse, and Later are also worth checking out. While they all have unique features to some extent, their core functions are similar.
Meanwhile, for the big players – the enterprise brands – Sprinklr, Khoros, and the Salesforce Marketing Cloud lead the pack. Over time and thanks to a series of acquisitions, software for social media has expanded its capabilities to include customer experience, content management, social listening, brand advocacy, influencer management, communities, and social care.
While Khoros provides various software solutions, they have become known for their best-in-class social media customer service software.
Not to be left behind, Falcon (acquired by Cision) and Meltwater offer similar features. But before you make a beeline for a social technology vendor, let’s take a step back and mull over the essentials:
- Governance: Can the software protect your company passwords and customer data? This aspect is crucial for large enterprise brands juggling multiple handles and global channels.
- Content & Editorial Approvals: Does the tool allow you to set up content approval processes? This feature is vital for streamlining content ideation, creation, approval, and publishing across teams.
- Escalation Workflows: This is a must-have for effective community management, customer care, and managing a PR crisis.
- Dashboards: A social media dashboard is a one-stop shop for performance metrics and analytics across all channels, offering different views and insights.
- Paid Media: Integrating paid media activation with comprehensive reporting can boost efficiency for digital campaigns and organic social media management.
So there you have it – a comprehensive rundown of social media marketing software options. Whichever you choose, rest assured that these tools can help streamline your social media management and improve your online presence.
The Lowdown on Social Media Listening Software
Social media listening software enables you to monitor and analyze conversations across news media, blogs, forums, and social media. Keep in mind that platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram put the brakes on the data these tools can access. So if a technology vendor claims otherwise, feel free to raise an eyebrow and ask questions.
The market for social media listening tools is chock-full of options. While I’ve written extensively about vendors I’ve worked with before, let me share a few key points. In my experience, software companies with a single-minded focus push the envelope and offer top-notch service. That’s why I’m not over heels for social media management platforms that strive to be jacks of all trades. It’s not that their products are terrible; it’s just that they aim to cover all bases for enterprise companies by monitoring every PESO channel, which means they may not excel in specific features.
In contrast, social listening vendors pour their energy, efforts, and development resources into refining insights and analyses for clients.
Forrester does shed some light on this area, although they dub it “AI-enabled Consumer Intelligence platforms.” However, my bone to pick with them is that they overlook several excellent vendors for various reasons.
Small businesses might want to check out Keyhole, Brand24, YouScan, Mentionlytics, and Mention. Unfortunately, most smaller social listening vendors have become commodities, lacking standout features or differentiation.
I’ve been keeping tabs on and curating all the social media monitoring tools I’ve used or reviewed. Top contenders include Infegy, Brandwatch, Netbase Quid, Synthesio, Pulsar Platform, and Talkwalker. Take, for example, Infegy, which boasts one of the most robust text analytics tools on the market.
It’s also crucial to consider the ethical aspects of social media technology concerning data and consumer privacy. As mentioned, some platforms limit access via their APIs, so be cautious of vendors claiming access to such data.
Decoding Audience Analysis Software
Audience analysis software helps you create audiences, break them down into smaller sub-groups, and scrutinize their media affinities and social media conversations.
I’ve assembled a list of top-notch audience analysis tools and software to save you some legwork. In past musings, I’ve explored the distinction between audience intelligence and social listening. To clarify, social listening offers insights into what the world says about a topic, brand, or competitor. Conversely, audience intelligence zeroes in on what a particular group says, focusing on audience segmentation.
Bigwigs in this domain include Audiense, Affinio, and Helixa, but don’t just take my word for it—do some digging. Brandwatch Audiences also deserve a closer look. Audiense, for instance, segments data based on shared affinities and other factors.
Influencer Marketing Software: The Rundown
Influencer marketing software helps you pinpoint influencers by topic, location, or channel. Most platforms also assist in managing programs and tracking influencer campaigns.
The consumer marketplace differs significantly from the B2B landscape. Consumer brands tend to steal the limelight with the campaigns they launch and manage. This is partly because newer social networks like TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram cater to younger audiences—millennials, Gen Z, and Gen Alpha—who fuel demand for all consumer products.
That’s why most innovation and efforts to develop new capabilities focus on these new channels. Leading influencer and social marketing software platforms include Tagger Media, CreatorIQ, Upfluence, Klear, Mavrck, and Captiv8.
These influencer software providers essentially offer similar features and services. However, Tagger Media stands out by developing what could be dubbed a social listening platform for the creator community. Their social intelligence engine, Signals, gives unique insights into creator community content, posts, and profile data. None of the creator platforms mentioned earlier can hold a candle to this offering.
B2B technology PR has a lone contender in this sphere: Onalytica.
Unlocking the Power of Text Analysis and Network Mapping
Text analysis technologies like Quid and Graphext have become essential in today’s data-driven marketing landscape. These powerful tools do more than merely monitor social media chatter; they delve deep into the meaning and context behind the conversations. By dissecting and interpreting vast amounts of text data, brands can uncover valuable insights that drive more effective marketing strategies.
Take Quid, for example. This cutting-edge platform enables marketers to analyze text data from various sources, including news articles, blog posts, and social media posts. By harnessing natural language processing and machine learning, Quid can identify trends, sentiments, and patterns within the data. This level of analysis goes beyond mere keyword tracking, allowing brands to grasp the essence of the conversations and make data-driven decisions based on nuanced understanding.
Graphext, another powerful text analysis tool, transforms unstructured text data into insightful visualizations. Graphext can reveal hidden connections and relationships within the data through interactive network graphs and clustering algorithms. By visualizing complex data sets, marketers can better comprehend the underlying narratives and detect emerging themes that could shape their marketing campaigns.
Complementing text analysis technologies, social network analysis tools like NodeXL offer a different perspective on the digital landscape. NodeXL allows marketers to map and analyze social networks, unveiling the intricate relationships connecting individuals and groups. By understanding network maps and group clustering, brands can identify influential voices and communities that hold sway over their target audiences.
Text analysis technologies and social network analysis tools are indispensable for contemporary marketers. Beyond surface-level social monitoring, these advanced solutions provide a deeper understanding of the digital sphere’s meaning, context, and relationships. With this wealth of knowledge at their fingertips, brands can craft more targeted and effective marketing strategies, resonating with their audiences in a more authentic and impactful manner.
What are the main challenges in selecting social media marketing software?
The primary challenges in choosing the right social media software include cost, adoption, privacy, security concerns, and adapting to ever-changing platform policies and features.
What should I consider before selecting social media marketing software?
Before selecting the software, start with a well-thought-out content strategy. This approach will guide your choice and ensure you pick a platform that aligns with your objectives and goals.
How can I make the most of my chosen social media software?
To maximize the benefits of your chosen software, create a content calendar, schedule posts, use automation and reporting, analyze data and content performance, engage with your audience, identify influencers, and stay updated with industry trends and platform changes.
What are the best social media marketing software options for small businesses and enterprise brands?
For small businesses, popular options include Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Hubspot Marketing Hub, Buffer, Agorapulse, and Later. Enterprise brands can consider Sprinklr, Khoros, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Falcon (acquired by Cision), and Meltwater.
What are the differences between social media software, audience analysis software, and influencer marketing software?
Social media listening software helps monitor and analyze conversations across various platforms. Audience analysis software focuses on creating and dissecting audiences based on their media affinities and social media conversations. Finally, influencer marketing software identifies influencers by topic, location, or channel and assists in managing programs and tracking influencer campaigns.
How can I ensure the chosen social media marketing software is secure and complies with privacy regulations?
When selecting social media software, consider its governance capabilities, including protecting company passwords and customer data. Also, check if the software complies with regulations like GDPR and CCPA to avoid potential legal and financial issues.