Best Social Media Management Dashboard for Digital Marketing Companies

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Over the past few months, the best social media management dashboards for digital marketing companies to choose from have exploded.  

In addition to early contenders like HootSuite and TweetDeck, dozens of new applications are designed to help teams manage multiple social networking accounts and measure the ROI of their efforts.  

If you are a digital marketing agency owner, this episode explains which social media engagement dashboards are the clear winners and what makes them much better.

White Horse emerging media manager Jamie Beckland, the lead author of a report that ranks ten social media management dashboard applications against each other in three categories, shares the inside scoop on the winners and explains which features marketers should be looking for when they evaluate enterprise-class software applications for social media engagement.

White Horse calls them social media management platforms and ranks them for their ability to integrate with social networks, offer practical rules and permission-based team management, and provide the best measurement capabilities.  If your business is social media communications, this is an episode you don’t want to miss.

Social Media Management Dashboard Insights

01:18  Social media management platforms are web-based tools accessible via the browser that let you manage your social networking engagement activities in a variety of popular and niche social networks in one consolidated tool, give teams a practical solution containing branded social networking accounts, and provide integrated tracking and analysis of interactions that ensue.

03:11 Social media management platforms offer social media monitoring to varying degrees of success. Still, currently, White Horse advises clients to keep social media monitoring activities separate to aggregate a more in-depth perspective of who’s saying what and where. While social media management platform vendors claim robust monitoring, the solutions are not as comprehensive as those from vendors specializing exclusively in social media monitoring.  Regarding monitoring, social media management platforms are weakest at tracking conversations on the blogosphere and in online forums.

04: 46 Social media management platforms make it easy to publish to a variety of social networks from one place, but they don’t capture and display all the social interaction that may ensue in the social network to which they’re published.  It’s a dynamic space that is changing, but currently, social media management platforms are better for talking than for listening.

05:44  The inability of social media management platforms to see and report back interactions that transpire inside native social networks is partly due to the capacity of the developers behind them but also because Facebook may block some of that activity from being captured by third-party applications.  Jamie Beckland calls these “growing pains for social media and corporate marketers in general.”

06:44  Jamie likens the rapid pace of innovation in the social media management space as the “Cambrian period,” where things are moving so quickly, with many new entrants promising to be all things to all people, and marketers need to be careful not to rely too heavily on social media management platforms at this early stage.  “You’re going to need still to use the native platform.  You want to be able to have an authentic conversation on Facebook; you need to understand what the rules of engagement are on Facebook,” says Jamie.  Having that first-person experience in the native social network where the conversations occur, rather than through a social media management platform, is critical.

07:35 Social media management platforms use two different presentation styles for their user interfaces.  One is the inbox style, which consolidates all your activities into one central stream, and the other is the channelization style, which displays the streams separately by social network so you can appreciate how their interaction differs from social network to social network. According to Jamie, the inbox presentation style requires the user to invest more attention in prioritizing messages. In contrast, the channel style provides a degree of segmentation that makes it easier to engage with many people.

11:23 In a new report, White Horse ranked social media management platforms in three categories: social site integration in terms of what they offer today and their roadmap for staying up to date with the social networks of tomorrow, team workflow management, and measurement analytics.

11: 48  HootSuite, Objective Marketer, Spredfast, and Sprinklr scored highest for social site integration with 4 out of 5, but no one scored a perfect five because no social media management platform currently integrates non-text based information such as podcasts as online video, posing significant engagement challenges. Some of the tools do use the metadata or text comments associated with YouTube videos to find and display that content. Still, until they consider the actual video content, either by tracking closed captioning or by introducing an audio-to-text translation solution, this will remain a handicap of social media management platforms.

14:51  Spredfast and Sprinklr ranked highest for team account management because they had the most sophisticated understanding of how marketing teams are structured and did the best job using analytics to help couples find those conversations most worthy of engagement at any moment in time.  These social media management platforms also do the best job integrating automated sentiment analysis and ranking, in which conversations come from the most influential online voices. Spredfast and Sprinklr also offer the ability to set up rules, from a content management system perspective, to provide team members with varying degrees of authority based on permission levels.

16:12  On the analytics side, the top-scoring social media management platforms were Argyle Social, HootSuite, Objective Marketer, and Sprinklr, primarily because they integrate with third-party social media measurement platforms like Google Analytics and Omniture SiteCatalyst.  Measurement is the basis of justifying social media marketing to the C suite, and those are the social media management platforms that do the best job tracking, incorporating, and delivering that data.  Argyle went live with Google Analytics support at the outset, integrating with Omniture and pulling conversion tracking data back into their platform.  Argyle tracks on a per-tweet and per-Facebook status update basis the monetary value of a particular social media message.  HootSuite and Objective Marketer integrate with Google Analytics and HootSuite does a good job building their analytics capabilities. Sprinklr ranked highly for their ability to perform custom integration with whatever measurement package the client requests. Jamie says Sprinklr has completed successfully for clients “a number of times.”

19:22 The White Horse social media management platform ranking study rates HootSuite, Spredfast, and Sprinklr highest but the final decision should be based on personal preference concerning how the application works, who within the organization will be using the tools because different business units have different needs and the management structure of the organization.  Suppose you have an extreme need to demonstrate ROI through conversion analytics tracking. In that case, that’s going to narrow down the field of choices considerably, so the choice should be made based on the objectives the marketer is trying to achieve.

22:30 End

Social media management vendor grid by G2

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