If you’ve missed the previous parts and would like to check them out, you can review what I wrote about Twitter apps, Facebook apps and games, URL shorteners and certain kinds of social platforms, and sites that help you tell a story, monitor your social analytics, and reach out to users willing to spread your message. For further reference, here’s a link to the amazing (and mind-boggling) infographic put up by Business Insider that shows no fewer than 28 different categories of social media marketing. Just in case you’re keeping score, I’ve covered nine of these in the previous articles, and hope to cover three more in this one.
So let’s discuss social marketing management. There are a TON of companies in this space. This category also includes social publishing platforms and social promotion platforms. Businesses offering these services include Shoutlet, Hootsuite, and Fanzila. Many of these are free services, at least at base; often, you can purchase an upgrade. Often, the free version will be enough to suit your needs. If you’re getting into social media marketing in a really big way, or if you run a large enterprise, the upgrade can be worth the relatively nominal investment. Hootsuite’s basic version offers some amazing functionality, for instance, and its Pro version is only about $10 a month.
They’re similar to stream platforms in that they let you schedule your posts in social media, but they have a lot more features. They let you engage across a lot more social networks, and include capabilities that make your life a lot easier. For example, Hootsuite has a built-in URL shortener.
Social marketing management suites often provide a dashboard-like interface through which you can publish to just about any social network on which you maintain a profile – that’s right, you can manage multiple social profiles with these suites, all from one place. You can also engage and interact with people commenting on your posts through the dashboard. Best of all, they include built-in analytics functions so you can monitor your social media campaigns and collect data to help you understand your ROI. You can even generate reports. A number of the professional SEOs I know who specialize in social media marketing use social marketing management dashboards; once you get to a certain point, it’s difficult to keep track of your campaigns otherwise.
Let’s move on now to the topic of social advertising platforms. These include companies such as GraphEffect, Nanigans, and Efficient Frontier, recently renamed to Multi-Channel Advertising Technology. As you would expect for anything with the word “advertising” in it, these companies provide software and services for which you’ll pay real money. They cater to organizations engaged in social media marketing on a large scale.
If social marketing management companies offer the dashboard on which you can manage your own social media campaigns, social advertising platforms offer the software and the people who know how to use it for you. To give you an idea, when Efficient Frontier was purchased by Adobe, it was described by Mashable as “a company best known for helping marketers negotiate advertising on Facebook and buy search advertising.” Social advertising platforms are used by marketers with large-scale needs.
Finally, let’s discuss social ad networks. Don’t confuse these with social advertising platforms. Social ad networks include companies like RadiumOne, LifeStreet Media, and Media6Degrees. These companies provide somewhat diverse services.
For example, LifeStreet Media makes an in-app advertising solution for mobile and Facebook apps. In other words, if you’ve made an app, LifeStream helps you get it to your target audience and improve the rate at which it’s downloaded. It also offers ads within apps. As you’d expect, this is a paid service.
That’s all I have room for today. Next week, we’ll take a look at some categories of social media marketing involved in the collection of social data, and how those can help you.