by March 3, 2011 0 comments



Today, the number of users on many of the popular social networking sites exceeds the population of so many nations. This presents as a potential business opportunity for organizations to reach out to their target audience. Oranizations are therefore devising marketing campaigns specifically for various social networking platforms. The challenge is to be able to manage your presence across multiple social networking platforms. That’s where social media management tools come in handy. These act as a single touch point for most social networking sites. From a single console, an individual or a business can use and monitor their presence over multiple platforms. We tried out some of the popular social media management platforms and presented here are our findings on their usability, pros, cons, and effectiveness.

Hootsuite

This is a web based tool which can be identified as a social network… networker. Hootsuite is not just a Twitter client; it is a social media management tool which can be used to monitor and manage your social media presence on multiple platforms through a single management console.

Different social networks can be added as streams and they appear as tabs. The other beautiful feature of Hootsuite is the ability of the management module to interact with multiple networks from a single client. A user can add multiple social networks onto the deck and then post on them simultaneously. Like for example, a single status update on Hootsuite can be posted as a tweet on to your Twitter account, as a status update on to your Facebook account and similarly on LinkedIn as well. The suite can also be used through the Net enabled smartphone as well. There is a mobile app available for different platforms like iPhone, BlackBerry and Android. The user can schedule a message as well. This basically means that he can delegate a date and time and save a particular message which will go online at the designated time. This can be a boon for businesses as the desired info can go out, as and when required, without the physical presence of an admin at the time.




The user also has an option of creating RSS feeds of the info required. The PRO version of the suite can be used for team collaboration as well. Users can be added which can be directly contacted and communicated. This can be really helpful as file sharing is also enabled through this. Because of the availability of people on mobile, users on the move can also be contacted and files and important data shared with them using this very suite. This free Web-based Twitter management tool allows you to manage multiple accounts while also offering several must-have features including URL shortening, statistics, and tweet scheduling.

Bottomline: A feature rich and easy to use single touch point tool to manage presence on multiple social networking platforms.

Gist

Gist can be best described as a social media CRM. Gist provides people and businesses a way to connect customers/partners/leads with their feeds and to be able to follow up with them. Outlook, Gmail, IMAP Email systems, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Facebook, Twitter, and even CSV imports are some of the connections that can be integrated using Gist.

Finding and integrating one’s contacts is very easy and helpful. One can easily find contacts and Web info of contacts by just typing their name in the search box. When looking at a contact, it shows a ‘What’s New’ box in the left column under their contact details. On the right side, it shows the results of a Google Search for the contact name. Once the Gmail account is integrated, Gist is able to display information exchanges that have been done with contacts in the list. Email exchanges, calendar items are some of the information that Gist is able to pull out of the Gmail account.




A look at an individual contact and Gist displays recent correspondence, and even called out links shared in those emails. It is very easy to monitor what contacts have been saying and doing in social media space which can be extremely important in case of managing a brand image online.

A Dossier is a link on each contact, click it, and it gathers a summary of recent activities where the contact is featured or mentioned. Sections for one of my contacts included, News About Contact, Posts & Tweets from Contact, Emails between you and Contact, and lastly Links and Attachment.

Amongst the major advantages listed above, there are a couple of flaws with Gist which more or less restrict the interest in Gist to be used as a complete social media management tool for the organisation. The first and most important is that Gist doesn’t offer scheduling. This might turn out to be a glaring omission from what is otherwise a fantastic product as there is no way to track a follow up. The second is that some other services let you do research across social media by typing in keywords. This isn’t as critical as one can use free tools like Social Mention (socialmention.com).

Bottomline: The utility and effectiveness of this tool is being limited due to lack of a scheduler and keywords research. That kept aside, it’s a nice tool to have.

Wildfire

An online marketing tool focused on creating interactive promotions on Facebook and Twitter. Wildfire app assists companies and brands in easily building and launching social media marketing campaigns.

Taking advantage of their easy-to-use design tools, campaigns, in a plethora of formats like quizzes, contests, coupons, virtual gifts and more, can be initiated in moments and simultaneously publish this social media marketing campaign on Facebook Fan Pages, Twitter and your website.




Wildfire has more recently included a Social Media Monitor. This tool lets you compare the social performance of different websites, companies or brands on Facebook and Twitter.

The tool can be used to compare the performance of upto 3 accounts on Twitter or Facebook in a graphical form which helps instantaneously decipher the better performer amongst the competition. This is critical as companies and brands are constantly monitoring their brand image across a network like Twitter.

Click on the image to enlarge

Similar results can be generated for Facebook fan pages as well. Social Media Monitor is also shareable – any specific analysis or page can be tweeted, “liked,” or shared with friends. You can set up weekly alerts for brands you’re tracking, and add or subtract different brands to your analysis in order to compare their growth against new contenders. Finally, you can embed these graphs onto your website also but this does nothing more than provide bragging rights to the winner.

Bottomline: An effective tool to create and mange promotions for a brand on Facebook and Twitter. The social media monitor adds that very important element of monitoring performance across these brands. Overall an extremely effective and useful tool.

SocialOomph

SocialOomph is a free Twitter tool that lets you set your tweets to be sent at specific time intervals, track keywords, automatically send welcome direct messages (DMs) to new followers, purge your direct messages thereby eliminating the need for performing repetitive tasks and more.

Everyone receives professional membership automatically to check it out. If the member does not like the professional membership at the end of the trial period it will automatically revert back to the free membership. If the professional membership is preferred, then the member can continue to access it at a price of $29.97 per month. Free members get access to a Tweet scheduler, they can automatically follow the Twitter members that follow them, and they can automatically send direct messages to their new followers.




Members can shorten URLs using bit.ly. The professional membership offers the ability to find friends with keywords and it gives the ability to find the most influential followers so that you can optimize your networking. The professional membership offers automatic spam controls and the capability to mute tweeters you don’t want to hear from. They also have the option of both bulk uploading and bulk scheduling of tweets, and the program allows members to use their own Twitter bots.

SocialOomph has the most flexibility in scheduling tweets, allowing you to schedule either by a specific time, or by so many minutes, hours, days, or weeks ahead. With the professional account, you can also bulk upload tweets for easy scheduling. Once you have tweets in the system, you can also distribute them over specific day and time ranges. The pro account also lets you mash up and schedule tweets from various RSS feeds. It also allows you to manage multiple Twitter accounts in one place. This is useful because you can manage all your accounts, integrate timelines, forward DMs to others, mute annoying tweets and hide read tweets. SocialOomph allows you to bulk upload your updates. You can create Excel lists of your updates and then upload them that way, rather than one by one. SocialOomph also works for Facebook fans to automate messages and save time for Internet marketers.

The Pro subscription for SocialOomph unveils the Blog Update. As you link your Twitter account, for this you will link one of your blogs i.e Blogger or WordPress. It also provides an option of scheduling the blog.

Bottomline: Blogs, Facebook and Twitter are well managed through SocialOomph. There are paid features you can avail to get that extra zing.

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