The social media management solutions landscape is vast and fractured. Altimeter Group identifies over 150 social media monitoring solutions and over 30 specifically defined Social Media Management Systems. The vastness of the options makes it hard for brand-side marketers to determine what platforms and tools they should be using.

Exacerbating the problem is that even among the 30 tools Altimeter identifies as Social Media Management Solutions, none of them do the same thing. And there’s no clear definition of what social media management solutions should do. Some of the 30, like WildfireApp, provide a very narrow sliver of functionality (network-specific engagement tools). I wonder if these should even be classified as SMMS at all. But I’ll leave the classification up to other analysts.

Mindmap by Mare Kuliasz on Shutterstock.comIn an effort to help bring some clarity to you brand marketers, I’ve put some thought into what a social media management solution should provide. Look at these entries and see which you would like to have when selecting an SMMS vendor. Then ask the vendors vying for your business if they do all of what you want in a solution.

The 8 Functions of Social Media Management Solutions

Monitoring

Often referred to as listening, social media monitoring is now a core function in many tools. While the monitoring platforms can be categorized separately, you can’t have true social media management without monitoring first. This is why many SMMS solutions have tapped into partnerships and integrations with existing monitoring platforms — they have to have it. The bottom line is that if your SMMS vendor doesn’t have a feature that allows you to search the web for mentions of your brand, product or service, they’re an incomplete solution. You’ll need to add a Radian6, Sysomos, uberVu, Visible Technologies or similar to their platform.

Publishing

Whether it’s running your company blogs or posts to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more, managing social media almost implies publishing content to multiple places. Too many vendors in this space are singularly focused on one platform or another. If they aren’t platform agnostic, make sure your audience is on the platform on which they focus. Publishing systems can be basic, but also feature rich, including things like editorial calendar functionality, content libraries and sharing across departments or brands and the like. Most brands I talk to prefer blog management be integrated here. While I’ve not seen a robust integration, platforms like Awareness and Spredfast do have blog publishing tied into their systems.

Engagement

Publishing’s more social cousin, engagement implies these systems need to make it easy for you to respond, interact, comment and share with the networks you’re connected to in efficient and effective ways. But it can also break down to providing applications or tools that facilitate engagement (ala WildfireApp) as well. This is a critical piece of functionality that almost needs to be platform agnostic. If your SMMS vendor doesn’t provide you with the ability to publish to at least Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, there are potentially better solutions out there, provided your audience or activities include those three major networks. And do note that Google+ functionality isn’t yet possible, but will be soon, meaning the companies providing this service will need to include it as a Big Four Network tie-in.

Organizational Management

There’s no management going on if your internal team can’t be organized around your content, brands, outposts and the like. Social Media Management Solutions should provide at least internal work flow functionality, allowing you to assign internal team members tasks, but perhaps also governance and controls to ensure certain employees or stakeholders can access only the social outposts and publishing channels in their responsibility set. (Think franchisee’s running local pages while corporate still maintains control over the national brand with input to local activations.)

Lead & Conversion Tracking

While this might fit under the larger umbrella of Measurement (see below), Lead and Conversion Tracking is important for SMMS vendors to provide if for no other reason than to remind us that there must be a business outcome from our social activities or we’re not going to be allowed to participate in social much longer. Whatever your current lead tracking system is, your SMMS provider should plug into it and delineate where your new social leads are coming from.

Measurement

This category can be broken down into as many parts as the Social Media Management Solutions landscape itself. By definition, SMMS providers can really only be expected to provide measures and analytics from social activity. But customers don’t want separate measurement systems any more than they want separate management tools. Strong SMMS vendors will tie website analytics, eCommerce/Lead Generation metrics and social metrics together in a unified dashboard or report for you. Mind you, not many do all this yet, but they will. Especially if we keep asking for it.

Customer Relationship Management

From simple audit trails of how many times and in what context you have communicated with your company’s Facebook fans or Twitter followers to more robust CRM integration where your customer database is infused with social contact information and connectivity, CRM will continue to be the next big thing in this space. The technology is available to allow us to deliver messages to each individual customer in a customized, relevant fashion according to their own preferences of time, space, network and more. The SMMS platforms that provide the more fully functioning version of CRM will win big in this space as we move more to a true Age of Relevancy in marketing.

Social Advertising Management

If Social Media Management Solution providers allow your company to manage its Facebook Page or LinkedIn Company Page, they ought to also allow you to manage your advertising on those platforms in their interface as well. In fact, tying the two together — mining the interests of your own Fans to know more about your audience to then target others like them — shouldn’t be that big of a leap.

But What CAN They Be?

Now let’s think about how the Social Media Management Solutions landscape can change to become more complete and holistic. Why don’t we as consumers push the SMMS vendors to do what we all want them to do, but perhaps haven’t articulated it well: Build a tool where we can manage all our digital marketing in one place.

Add these categories of what the vendors should provide and let’s create a category of Digital Marketing Management Solutions:

Email Marketing

Why isn’t the original social network tied into SMMS more consistently? Email is still the most effective of the digital marketing channels and will continue to be for some time. How can we not make an email a part of the “messages we send through social channels?” Just doesn’t make sense the SMMS providers haven’t figured this out yet. Sure, email marketing and a vast industry of providers existed long before SMMS became a functional need. But if the Social Media Management Solution providers don’t think major email marketing players are adding social media management solutions for their customers (ExactTarget acquired Co-Tweet two years ago), they’ve got their head in the sand.

Search Engine Optimization (Internal and External) Management

Whether its Raven Tools, SEOMoz or several of an array of other SEO metrics and recommendation systems out there, brands who want to be social also need to be search-friendly. No social media management solutions provider really taps into search and SEO management for either on-page/on-site or linkbuilding practices yet. Even if they just added a link building suggestion tool around their blog content managed within the system, they’d have something many other tools do not. As search and social become more intimately intertwined, SMMS providers will have to add SEO functionality to stay ahead of the curve.

Search Engine Marketing Management (Paid)

If you’re going to add tools to help people better implement on-site SEO and link-building, you may as well turn that intelligence into research for pay-per-click implementation and/or management as well. As SMMS providers add social advertising management to their arsenals, adding PPC management shouldn’t be too far behind. The only really good implementation of this I’ve seen in a management tool was with a neat soup-to-nuts website management tool called Kutenda that shifted its focus to marketing delivery rather than software.

Website & eCommerce Management

The social media management solutions providers are going to choke on this one a bit. None of them are content management systems in the traditional sense and none probably want to be. But customer demand drives markets and customers simply want one place to manage their digital marketing. If that’s going to happen, then there has to be a CMS for the website, blog and even e-commerce portal included in the tool. We may be a ways off from this, but it’s going to be a request of customers. That mean’s someone somewhere will make it happen.

Mobile Marketing Management

If anything is red-hot right now in digital it’s mobile marketing. As companies implement campaigns and solutions around the mobile space, they need to be managing their mobile website, landing pages, campaigns and executions. And they’re not going to want to manage it outside of their digital comfort zone. While Sendible does offer SMS and mobile messaging management integrated into a uniform platform, few other SMMS providers do. Sendible is also a British company focused on the UK market, to my understanding. None of the providers, including Sendible, integrate a full mobile management solution yet. My guess is they won’t for another year or two and then will be more apt to acquire the likes of 44Doors or similar platforms to bake in integration.

Point-Of-Sale Integration

I wrote about RedEApp a few weeks ago which got me thinking more about true digital marketing integration. Imagine having a mobile or social network notification when your dry cleaning comes off the line rather than just getting a time it will be done by at a minimum. Imagine full POS integration with a pizza store so you see when your pizza leaves the store and where the driver is, etc. Flip it around and bake in Location Based Services into your SMMS solution so when a customer checks in, your community manager knows and delivers a deal while they’re still in the store. All this is possible and tying true and traditional customer order data into the social media management solutions make them all the more able to deliver better messaging at more relevant times and locations.

What Do You Think?

Those are my thoughts on what Social Media Management Solutions providers should be giving us. None hit the eight primary functionalities to date, but many are trying. We’ll soon see functionality like social advertising management coming to the feature set, but that’s obviously just the tip of the iceberg.

It should be noted that the one company that hits on a lot of these cylinders is HubSpot. But their All-In-One marketing platform is largely focused on small businesses and isn’t generally categorized in the enterprise software category, even if it can certainly serve that purpose.

What do you think the SMMS providers are missing? Did I leave anything out? What else could they add to our pie-in-the-sky list of functional areas that I didn’t cover? Add your thoughts to the comments so we can build a better wish list for them all.

The comments are yours.

IMAGE: Mindmap by Mare Kuliasz on Shutterstock.com

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog and signature Explore events. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://flavors.me/40deuce 40deuce

    Great thoughts here, Jason!
    Despite the fact that I work for one of these social media solutions (Sysomos), the one thing I always tell people is to determine what you need first, then look for a tool that helps you to do that. I usually hope that the answer is our tool, but if it’s not I fully understand. People need to do what’s right for them and their business.
    That said though, I also love reading things like this because it lets us know what our audience is looking for their tool to do. No one can give us better input than the people who actually use our tool. We’re always trying to update new features and make existing features better based on what we hear from customers and the general public. This was great to see. I was also hoping there’d be more comments that I could learn from, but I’ll keep checking back here to see what your readers think and are saying.

    Cheers,
    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Sheldon. I’ve always enjoyed working with you guys at Sysomos because you all seem to get that not every customer has to be your customer. Glad we could provide some fodder for you guys to think about for down the road. Keep up the good work, bro. You guys do a great job.

      • John

         Great article to build SM understanding. I am exploring what is exact difference between Social Media Tools Vs Social Media Management Tools.

        What are must to have features and functionality in Social Media Management Tools for NGOs to select.

        Also do we have any best Social Media Management Tools for free.

        • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

          Hey John. Great questions. I don’t know that there’s technology requirements that are specific to NGOs other than archiving data. In most cases, these tools are going to have archiving ability. But I know that two in particular — SocialVolt.com and HearsaySocial.com — both specialize in financial and/or regulated industries with special permission structures, archiving and the like. Check them out.

          And for free … the most robust free tools I’ve seen are Viralheat.com (which has a limited free offering) and then the free versions of like HootSuite and others. None of the free (other than Viralheat) are going to be very robust in their functionality. And Viralheat is somewhat limited in terms of accounts, volume of searches, etc.

          Hope that helps.

  • http://flavors.me/40deuce 40deuce

    Great thoughts here, Jason!
    Despite the fact that I work for one of these social media solutions (Sysomos), the one thing I always tell people is to determine what you need first, then look for a tool that helps you to do that. I usually hope that the answer is our tool, but if it’s not I fully understand. People need to do what’s right for them and their business.
    That said though, I also love reading things like this because it lets us know what our audience is looking for their tool to do. No one can give us better input than the people who actually use our tool. We’re always trying to update new features and make existing features better based on what we hear from customers and the general public. This was great to see. I was also hoping there’d be more comments that I could learn from, but I’ll keep checking back here to see what your readers think and are saying.

    Cheers,
    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Sheldon. I’ve always enjoyed working with you guys at Sysomos because you all seem to get that not every customer has to be your customer. Glad we could provide some fodder for you guys to think about for down the road. Keep up the good work, bro. You guys do a great job.

  • http://twitter.com/tombrownjr Tom Brown

    Great post to start a much needed conversation. I read Owyang’s months ago in my search for best SMMS for my (and my client’s) needs. At the moment, I have settled on HootSuite due to just basic needs now. And they seem to be continually trying to improve. But I know I will be needing a more robust solution within the next few weeks/months.

    Part of a wish list would be some sort of review matrix using the 8 functions you highlight with the top 30 or more SMMS platforms. I look forward to watching this thread.

  • http://twitter.com/tombrownjr Tom Brown

    Great post to start a much needed conversation. I read Owyang’s months ago in my search for best SMMS for my (and my client’s) needs. At the moment, I have settled on HootSuite due to just basic needs now. And they seem to be continually trying to improve. But I know I will be needing a more robust solution within the next few weeks/months.

    Part of a wish list would be some sort of review matrix using the 8 functions you highlight with the top 30 or more SMMS platforms. I look forward to watching this thread.  Thanks Jason.

  • http://twitter.com/neicolec Neicole Crepeau

    Great idea, but I see two issues: price and usability. You

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      I just think an encompassing system can be developed that fits everyone’s price range. I’m either crazy … or an entrepreneur. Heh.

  • http://twitter.com/neicolec Neicole Crepeau

    Great idea, but I see two issues: price and usability. You’re
    asking for an all-encompassing system, everything from website creation to
    Twitter, measurement to posting. That’s going to be an expensive system,
    enterprise-level and probably at the top price point in that category. 

    Second,
    as a UX person, I can tell you it’s hard to be everything to everyone and do everything
    well. The more you try to implement functionality to cover all scenarios and
    areas, the harder it is to get a great design for each scenario. When you’re asking for the interoperability you’ve outlined above, it’s even more challenging as it reduces the ability to keep the design simple. Areas will
    almost certainly be subpar, giving competitors who do that piece well an
    advantage.

    I don’t know. When you combine the likely lower-usability
    for some tasks with the high price-point, I’m not sure it would make sense for
    the SMMS businesses to bite off that much. And I’m not entirely sure it would end
    up serving enough customers’ needs well enough.

  • http://twitter.com/neicolec Neicole Crepeau

    Great idea, but I see two issues: price and usability. You’re
    asking for an all-encompassing system, everything from website creation to
    Twitter, measurement to posting. That’s going to be an expensive system,
    enterprise-level and probably at the top price point in that category. 

    Second,
    as a UX person, I can tell you it’s hard to be everything to everyone and do everything
    well. The more you try to implement functionality to cover all scenarios and
    areas, the harder it is to get a great design for each scenario. When you’re asking for the interoperability you’ve outlined above, it’s even more challenging as it reduces the ability to keep the design simple. Areas will
    almost certainly be subpar, giving competitors who do that piece well an
    advantage.

    I don’t know. When you combine the likely lower-usability
    for some tasks with the high price-point, I’m not sure it would make sense for
    the SMMS businesses to bite off that much. And I’m not entirely sure it would end
    up serving enough customers’ needs well enough.

  • http://twitter.com/neicolec Neicole Crepeau

    Great idea, but I see two issues: price and usability. You’re
    asking for an all-encompassing system, everything from website creation to
    Twitter, measurement to posting. That’s going to be an expensive system,
    enterprise-level and probably at the top price point in that category. 

    Second,
    as a UX person, I can tell you it’s hard to be everything to everyone and do everything
    well. The more you try to implement functionality to cover all scenarios and
    areas, the harder it is to get a great design for each scenario. When you’re asking for the interoperability you’ve outlined above, it’s even more challenging as it reduces the ability to keep the design simple. Areas will
    almost certainly be subpar, giving competitors who do that piece well an
    advantage.

    I don’t know. When you combine the likely lower-usability
    for some tasks with the high price-point, I’m not sure it would make sense for
    the SMMS businesses to bite off that much. And I’m not entirely sure it would end
    up serving enough customers’ needs well enough.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      I just think an encompassing system can be developed that fits everyone’s price range. I’m either crazy … or an entrepreneur. Heh.

  • http://www.shoutlet.com Jason Weaver

    Thanks for writing this post, Jason. The SMMS vendor landscape is saturated and ever-changing, and for marketers trying to decide on a solution it can get difficult to navigate. Here at Shoutlet, we advise companies choosing an SMMS the same way Sheldon described: Realistically pinpoint what you need and then vet vendors based on those criteria. (We wrote a white paper on how to choose an SMMS, too: http://info.shoutlet.com/Social-Media-Management-Systems-Making-an-Informed-Decision.html)

    Like social media itself, the vendor landscape is beginning to move into a new age. Many marketers have grown beyond the beginner

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Great points, Jason. Thanks for chiming in here. You’re right … no one will do it all well. The future will be fun to watch.

  • http://www.shoutlet.com Jason Weaver

    Thanks for writing this post, Jason. The SMMS vendor landscape is saturated and ever-changing, and for marketers trying to decide on a solution it can get difficult to navigate. Here at Shoutlet, we advise companies choosing an SMMS the same way Sheldon described: Realistically pinpoint what you need and then vet vendors based on those criteria. (We wrote a white paper on how to choose an SMMS, too: http://info.shoutlet.com/Social-Media-Management-Systems-Making-an-Informed-Decision.html)

    Like social media itself, the vendor landscape is beginning to move into a new age. Many marketers have grown beyond the beginner’s stage into a more advanced level of social media management. That means different things for different companies, and finding the platform that most closely matches your needs is key. At Shoutlet, we’ve created an enterprise social management system that we feel combines the most important features required to effectively create, manage, and measure a brand’s social communication at this stage of the game in one dashboard.

    Having said that, this space is highly fluid. In the near-term, I see platform integrations of all kinds (through partnerships and APIs) as one of the next logical steps to closing the loop and providing marketers with a pieced-together end-to-end full digital solution, like you describe. The various types of platforms (monitoring, e-commerce, advertising, etc.) can’t exist in silos forever. But no company will be able to build one system that does all digital management flawlessly (not just social media management). Vendors will evolve to bring marketers what they need and anticipate what management features will be required. The future of social business is also the future of the SMMS vendor market.

    Jason Weaver, Shoutlet CEO

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Great points, Jason. Thanks for chiming in here. You’re right … no one will do it all well. The future will be fun to watch.

  • Kevin Magee

    Thanks Jason, good review of all the things that get talked about when you use those letters….SMMS (can we come up with a BETTER acronym, please?!). What SMMS means for the big brand is different than the small business owner, different for the agency with 100′s of global clients, different for the retailer with brick and mortar locations. They need different things on a scale that meets their strategic reach, yet what they share is the need to connect with their customer, to know who he/she is, and how to serve THOSE specific needs.

    Enterprise customers, large global companies, are scrambling to do what the local small business have always been good at: connecting and developing relationships.

    Enterprises have to scale, manage the workflow, respond to thousands of comments and be relevant locally (when local can mean Europe vs Asia, not just Louisville vs. Raleigh). That’s a challenging landscape for big brands to navigate and where we see distinctive SMMS differentiation. Brands and agencies rely on scalable platforms to centralize their marketing efforts with localized content that can be moderated efficiently- and that narrows the SMMS vendor field considerably.

    The functionality integration continues as you correctly predict, and there may never be one tool for everything under the SMMS umbrella. Small and large businesses need partners that are building to their future needs in social just like every other key requirement in the organization- and that’s the cool thing, social has become key. Who would have thought that just 5 years ago! Thanks for the thoughts….

    Kevin Magee
    Expion

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      All great points, Kevin. I think the biggest frustration is the enterprise, scalable issues you refer to are the concern of less than five percent of the businesses out there. The rest are left to hunt and peck. Seems to me the little guy might ought to have a shot at the toolsets, too. SMMS shouldn’t just be for the big brands and big players. Unfortunately, most SMMS providers are focused on enterprise clients because that’s where the money is … big fish, big payoff. Lots of little fish out there that need it too. I wonder who’s going to swoop in and make a lot of money with the small deals?

      • http://twitter.com/kevinpmagee Kevin

        Jason- the advantage for the small to medium businesses is they get that functionality-for example, our client with 20 locations has available the same features that our largest clients have. They may not need the sophistication of workflow management so they wouldn’t enable it; yet they access the same robust analytics and moderation that global brands do. Features controlled at the user level deliver the functionality the smaller business owner needs to be effective- so as features integrate, he benefits as well. Rather than an either/or situation the enterprise improvements bring value to our smaller clients. We like the smaller fish very much!

  • Kevin Magee

    Thanks Jason, good review of all the things that get talked about when you use those letters….SMMS (can we come up with a BETTER acronym, please?!). What SMMS means for the big brand is different than the small business owner, different for the agency with 100′s of global clients, different for the retailer with brick and mortar locations. They need different things on a scale that meets their strategic reach, yet what they share is the need to connect with their customer, to know who he/she is, and how to serve THOSE specific needs.

    Enterprise customers, large global companies, are scrambling to do what the local small business have always been good at: connecting and developing relationships.

    Enterprises have to scale, manage the workflow, respond to thousands of comments and be relevant locally (when local can mean Europe vs Asia, not just Louisville vs. Raleigh). That’s a challenging landscape for big brands to navigate and where we see distinctive SMMS differentiation. Brands and agencies rely on scalable platforms to centralize their marketing efforts with localized content that can be moderated efficiently- and that narrows the SMMS vendor field considerably.

    The functionality integration continues as you correctly predict, and there may never be one tool for everything under the SMMS umbrella. Small and large businesses need partners that are building to their future needs in social just like every other key requirement in the organization- and that’s the cool thing, social has become key. Who would have thought that just 5 years ago! Thanks for the thoughts….

    Kevin Magee
    Expion

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      All great points, Kevin. I think the biggest frustration is the enterprise, scalable issues you refer to are the concern of less than five percent of the businesses out there. The rest are left to hunt and peck. Seems to me the little guy might ought to have a shot at the toolsets, too. SMMS shouldn’t just be for the big brands and big players. Unfortunately, most SMMS providers are focused on enterprise clients because that’s where the money is … big fish, big payoff. Lots of little fish out there that need it too. I wonder who’s going to swoop in and make a lot of money with the small deals? 

      • http://twitter.com/kevinpmagee Kevin

        Jason- the advantage for the small to medium businesses is they get that functionality-for example, our client with 20 locations has available the same features that our largest clients have. They may not need the sophistication of workflow management so they wouldn’t enable it; yet they access the same robust analytics and moderation that global brands do. Features controlled at the user level deliver the functionality the smaller business owner needs to be effective- so as features integrate, he benefits as well. Rather than an either/or situation the enterprise improvements bring value to our smaller clients. We like the smaller fish very much! 

        Kevin

  • http://communitas.tumblr.com/ tobymurdock

    hey jason–

    i really like this. it’s like a roadmap for us! :-)

    the space is changing really quickly, and no one i don’t think is putting together the end-to-end vision that you describe

    we’ve come a long way we first connected a while ago (when you made this:

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Email away, Toby. Glad to spark some thought.

      • http://communitas.tumblr.com/ tobymurdock

        thanks Jason. i’ll be in touch

  • http://communitas.tumblr.com/ tobymurdock

    hey jason–

    i really like this. it’s like a roadmap for us! :-)

    the space is changing really quickly, and no one i don’t think is putting together the end-to-end vision that you describe

    we’ve come a long way we first connected a while ago (when you made this: http://www.netbase.com/pdf/netbase_11_tools.pdf). i’ve been thinking a lot about the issues that you’ve raised above and am putting together an infographic that tries to put it all together. 

    would love your feedback on it. could i send you an email on it? 

    –toby (kapost.com) 

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Email away, Toby. Glad to spark some thought.

      • http://communitas.tumblr.com/ tobymurdock

        thanks Jason. i’ll be in touch

  • http://www.jenmaguire.tumblr.com Jennifer Maguire Coughlin

    Anyone who is serious about social media management should read this story. Thanks for posting, Jason.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for saying so Jennifer!

  • http://www.jenmaguire.tumblr.com Jennifer Maguire Coughlin

    Anyone who is serious about social media management should read this story. Thanks for posting, Jason.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for saying so Jennifer!

  • http://raventools.com Jon Henshaw

    What a great writeup! There are several things in your list that we’re trying to tackle with Raven. The difficulty of course is having some or all of them, and also being good at them. For us it’s being strategic with our development resources. Our roadmap feels a lot like putting a puzzle together…with several items in your article representing things that would make up our own finished puzzle. For example, we’ll be releasing a new real-time social media stream soon, which will compliment our link management tools. We also have elements of some of the other things you listed, but they’re far from being mature implementations. So much to think about, and you stated it so concisely. Thanks for writing this.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for commenting, Jon. Love what Raven does and am excited to hear you’re still iterating. Will be fun to see what your new features bring to the table!

  • http://raventools.com Jon Henshaw

    What a great writeup! There are several things in your list that we’re trying to tackle with Raven. The difficulty of course is having some or all of them, and also being good at them. For us it’s being strategic with our development resources. Our roadmap feels a lot like putting a puzzle together…with several items in your article representing things that would make up our own finished puzzle. For example, we’ll be releasing a new real-time social media stream soon, which will compliment our link management tools. We also have elements of some of the other things you listed, but they’re far from being mature implementations. So much to think about, and you stated it so concisely. Thanks for writing this.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for commenting, Jon. Love what Raven does and am excited to hear you’re still iterating. Will be fun to see what your new features bring to the table!

  • http://twitter.com/danortegaPR Daniel Ortega

    Thank you for this great post! This is maybe one the most valuable posts that I have ever read. I look forward to sharing this with my network and peers.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks Daniel. We like being useful. ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/danortegaPR Daniel Ortega

    Thank you for this great post! This is maybe one the most valuable posts that I have ever read. I look forward to sharing this with my network and peers.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks Daniel. We like being useful. ;-)

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  • http://www.i95dev.com Henry Louis

    It is very interesting post. The way that you have explained about the functions of social media management solutions is really very impressive. Thanks for sharing this post.

  • http://www.i95dev.com Henry Louis

    It is very interesting post. The way that you have explained about the functions of social media management solutions is really very impressive. Thanks for sharing this post.

  • http://www.contentequalsmoney.com Serena

    I’ve never thought of e-mail communications as being equivalent to a “social network,” but this is a valid perspective!  Thanks for the insight; good, thorough article.

  • http://www.contentequalsmoney.com Serena

    I’ve never thought of e-mail communications as being equivalent to a “social network,” but this is a valid perspective!  Thanks for the insight; good, thorough article.

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  • Anonymous

    Hi Jason, thanks for this thoughtful article. Kudos to HubSpot for serving the small and entry-level business as well as being scalable. Small fish can grow into big fish.  FiltrBox was a GREAT SMMS. Jive bought them and threw all the small fish out of the pond. Really too bad a version of FiltrBox did not remain accessible to small business.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for the response Julie. You’re right about FlitrBox but that’s the game in the software business … find someone big enough to buy you and then hope they don’t screw with your customers. Often times they do, however, because there’s just better long-term profitability focusing on enterprise customers with big budgets. There’s a void out there for the small budget person. Hopefully someone will come along soon and fix it.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Jason, thanks for this thoughtful article. Kudos to HubSpot for serving the small and entry-level business as well as being scalable. Small fish can grow into big fish.  FiltrBox was a GREAT SMMS. Jive bought them and threw all the small fish out of the pond. Really too bad a version of FiltrBox did not remain accessible to small business.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for the response Julie. You’re right about FlitrBox but that’s the game in the software business … find someone big enough to buy you and then hope they don’t screw with your customers. Often times they do, however, because there’s just better long-term profitability focusing on enterprise customers with big budgets. There’s a void out there for the small budget person. Hopefully someone will come along soon and fix it.

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  • http://www.mactonweb.com/ Web design London

    Thanks for writing this post, Jason. The SMMS vendor landscape is saturated and ever-changing, and for marketers trying to decide on a solution it can get difficult to navigate. Here at Shoutlet, we advise companies choosing an SMMS the same way Sheldon described: Realistically pinpoint what you need and then vet vendors based on those criteria.

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  • http://twitter.com/socmedia365 Richard Brasser

    Jason – As always, a very well thought out piece. It is going to take leaders like you asking the hard question to get the industry to mature and develop true differentiation for the various kinds of buyers. I can tell you as the CEO of The Targeted Group (our Targeted ESP received two of the highest ratings in the Altimeter report), that the confusion in the market place is just as frustrating to us vendors as it is for the consumers.

    The term SMMS is so broad and it covers a super wide range of solutions. These solutions vary wildly in their mission and reason for being. It makes me cringe when I hear someone compare something  like Hootsuite to Radian 6 for brand monitoring. They have totally different feature-sets, serve entirely different markets and are priced very differently. What we need is a clear matrix that differentiates a buyers needs, budget, scale, etc. Maybe you could create that? : )

    I totally agree with you that each platform needs to offer a more complete set of tools so that brand marketers don’t have to rely on many different platforms. However, we also have to stay true to the capabilities that we as vendors are great at. For example, our Targeted ESP platform is specifically designed to help large companies manage very large distributed networks of reps, franchisees, agents, etc. We do that job better than anyone. But if you are a corporate marketing team of three people that are trying to manage your 6 or 7 corporate channels, we shouldn’t be your first choice.

    Long story short, I think what will continue to help the industry is to have groups like Altimeter develop use cases and reports, have people like you add to and further refine the differentiation of needs, and have the vendors improve how we explain what exact customers we serve and why we exist.

    We have to remember that our SMMS industry is very young and we are all feeling the growing pains. My company have been around for 11 years and I can remember the same exact process happening with “new media” all the way up to “community platforms.” Thank you for continuing to kick us in the right direction.

    Richard Brasser
    @richardbrasser:twitter
    The Targeted Group

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