The biggest complaint I’ve had with social media management systems (SMMS) is that few if any are focusing on small businesses. While I certainly understand the small business market isn’t ripe with big fish, there’s lots of little fish to fill that net and doing it right can wield incredible profits.
One company that has been focusing on small and medium businesses in the digital marketing space for a while now, and doing it successfully, is Constant Contact. Known primarily for email marketing, the Massachusetts-based company also has event management and survey products. While it’s not been known as a social media management solution, that all changes a bit today.
Constant Contact unveiled its Social Campaigns product today, adding elements of social media management to its product line. While the effort’s marketing and talking points makes it sound a lot bigger than it really is, Social Campaigns essentially puts Facebook campaign management using custom tabs, call-to-action forms and even decent analytics in the hands of businesses at a reasonable price point. Along with its acquisition of NutshellMail last year, which gave CC customers a light social media monitoring mechanism, the company can now boast a few elements of the SMMS DNA.
The lines between technology providers is quickly blurring. An email marketing company is now becoming an answer for Facebook marketing and management. Don’t expect this trend to slow down anytime soon. As we’ve discussed before, the digital marketing management space is becoming a features race.
I tried Social Campaigns and quickly found the Facebook Campaign Management tool to be very similar to CC’s email too. There were a few nice templates to choose from, the editing and customizing was intuitive and simple and in about five minutes I had a Facebook Tab to promote Exploring Social Media. With a bit more effort, I could have easily customized the tabs to include email sign up forms, “Like” Gates to force folks to like the page before getting the good content and such.
The tool has templates and use cases set up to help businesses promote products, offer downloadable or printable content, promote an event or fundraiser, offer a “buy now” deal or throw out a coupon. Campaigns can run for any length of time and rotate in and out with one another as well. Even a small business can figure out how to set up a coupon that runs one week, a featured product campaign to run the next, then have an event promotion kick in the week following.
And agencies or businesses with multiple products or Facebook pages will like it because you can run campaigns on any number of Facebook pages from one account. You’re only limited to one live campaign per page.
Like CC’s email marketing pricing, costs will depend on how many “Like”s you have on Facebook. But that pricing scales well for small- and medium-sized businesses.
The tool is supposed, to, “Empower small business to get results form social media marketing,” said Mark Schmulen, CC’s General Manager of Social Media and co-founder of NutshellMail. “It lets them build a professional, good looking presence on Facebook and run results driven campaigns designed to get more likes, engage their audience and share the business’s message with their friends.”
And as an added value (not to mention great lead generator), CC is offering free, live support of the product, even to anyone on the 60-day free trial. They’re trying to help bridge the gap. And for that, I applaud them.
No, this doesn’t necessarily make Constant Contact a social media management system. But it sure gets them closer to it and should serve as a continuance of the signal to the SMMS marketplace that other technology providers are inching in on your territory. Pretty soon, someone will have all our SMMS requirements accounted for nicely. I just hope the small businesses don’t get left behind in that race. With Constant Contact, it seems they may not.
- 96% Of Small Businesses Are On Facebook: Report (allfacebook.com)
- 86% of small businesses find Facebook effective (infographic) (zdnet.com)
- Facebook is the Social Media Tool of Choice for Small Businesses (blogworld.com)