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Eight Tools to Help You Manage Social Media Content Overload

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To promote their businesses, marketers have rushed to embrace Facebook, Twitter, blogs, customer ratings and reviews, and other social media platforms—inviting consumers to comment on their products and services across the Web.

But now that marketers have those social programs in place, they are facing an unexpected consequence: content overload. The posts, comments, tweets, videos, and other content your customers are creating about your product and services may feel like a tsunami.

Managing the flow of user-generated content (UGC)—as well as finding practical ways to participate as a brand marketer in those customer conversations and integrating customer feedback into your larger marketing programs—is challenging. Many marketers feel overwhelmed by how to moderate the flow of UGC and respond to it.

The good news is that several social media content-management systems (CMSes) are available that allow marketers to not only manage the distribution and placement of the online content about their brands but also analyze and leverage that content to build their businesses.

Such tools allow brands to manage both reactive (user-generated) and proactive (advertiser-created) social media content, and get a high-level look at how the viewing, creation, and sharing of that content affects branding and sales.


Just as media-planning and media-buying tools such as Atlas and DART created the dramatic increases in scale for paid search and display advertising, today's emerging "social CMS" tools are making social media a more measurable and effective advertising channel.

Before I give you an overview of the best social CMS tools on the market, let's investigate exactly what those tools offer.

Features

Social CMS tools are in-the-cloud offerings that make it easier, faster, and more efficient to publish all types of content into various social-networking and social-media sites.

Most offer one integrated platform to manage content, editorial calendars, contributors, and publishing workflow, as well as analytics tools to gather data from social networks about the clicks, views, and sharing of the content you push out.

Benefits

The real benefit of social CMS tools comes in the structure, speed, and scale they bring to the often-intensive task of social media content management. That usually entails planning, writing, reviewing, scheduling, publishing, monitoring, and responding to both reactive and proactive content across your own sites and multiple social networks, such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr.

Moreover, social CMS tools not only facilitate the planning, workflow, and publishing of original content on social networks but also allow users to collect and derive reporting and analytics data from those third-party sites.

Finding out who interacted with your content on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube; whether they created content or shared it; and which of your content was most popular among certain demographics is valuable data.

Finally, social CMS tools offer a centralized, all-in-one platform that everyone involved in your social media efforts can access.

Marketers, community and brand managers, PR and communications team members, customer-support leads, and others can log in to social CMSes to manage and analyze their "part" of the social media program.

Some platforms offer sophisticated workflow features, allowing team members to assign permissions and action items, and collaborate on content creation.

Top Social CMS Tools

Social CMS tools are still in their infancy, but a few leaders have emerged from the pack. If you are managing numerous branded social-community properties, programs, or campaigns, or you are a marketing or communications agency tasked with driving those types of programs or campaigns for your clients, check out these early leaders in social CMS tools:

  1. ObjectiveMarketer helps manage posts, analytics, and customer-engagement programs across multiple channels and creates custom landing pages for social media assets.
  2. BuddyMedia extends advertising campaigns into the social media space, helps manage content across multiple platforms, and provides real-time social media analytics to large-scale community marketers and their agency partners.
  3. Vitrue links multiple Facebook communities, manages accounts, and provides reporting and analytics tools as well as a suite of applications that allow brands to better manage, moderate, schedule, and automatically publish across Facebook and Twitter.

    Vitrue has also garnered a fair amount of online press recently as a result of its Facebook Fan and Twitter Follower valuation estimators, which have prompted many digital-marketer tweets and retweets hungry for data points regarding estimated valuation and return on investment of social-engagement programs.
  4. Ripple6 helps companies implement their business strategy in social media with social-networking software that offers content management and real-time insights, all in one social hub.
  5. Spredfast helps companies manage and schedule social media campaigns via one software dashboard across multiple social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Flickr, and various blogging platforms. It also gathers data to help measure the activity, reach, and engagement levels resulting from earned-media programs.
  6. TubeMogul allows users to upload and distribute video to the top video and social-networking sites, such as Vimeo, Crackle, Revver, Dailymotion, and YouTube, while vastly simplifying the task of tracking video-views data, ratings, and other key statistics—all of which are warehoused and exportable in the upper-tier paid version of the service.
  7. CoTweet is the leader in Twitter workflow, editorial calendar management, and tweet scheduling. It enables community-engagement teams to easily manage multiple Twitter accounts by offering rich, collaborative workflow, such as tweet assignments, notes, scheduling, and on-duty status. Other features are co-tagging, Twitter search, and integrated reporting and measurement.
  8. HootSuite is another text-publishing tool that allows teams to manage multiple accounts and offers features such as the ability to assign and schedule tweets. HootSuite also offers analytics features, including graphs that show traction of tweets and URLs, as well as larger trending information. It works across various other social networks, including Facebook, WordPress, LinkedIn, etc.

Dig a little more deeply into some of those emerging and established software tools for social content and online-community management, and assess which free or paid options might be the best fit for your programs.

High-volume community managers, especially, stand poised to tame the beast of social media content management with those emerging solutions.

Now that you've invested the time to build large, vibrant communities on the Web, don't just let them take on a life of their own; consider participating, publishing, and measuring the results with greater efficiency with those innovative social-CMS software solutions.


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Clay McDaniel is principal and cofounder of social-media marketing agency Spring Creek Group (www.springcreekgroup.com).

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Comments

  • by Meg@Syncapse Tue Sep 7, 2010 via web

    Hi Clay,

    Great points about the need for Social CMS tools that allow community managers to increase efficiency. To add to your list, SocialTALK is an enterprise-level social media management platform for brand marketers and agencies. SocialTALK is one of the few tools with advanced workflow and governance features, combined with the ability to identify influencers and participate in conversations from within the CMS tool.

    Happy to answer any questions about SocialTALK :)

    Meg@Syncapse
    http://www.syncapse.com
    http://www.socialtalk.com

  • by Joe Ciarallo Tue Sep 7, 2010 via web

    Hi Clay,

    Thanks for including Buddy Media. From my days as a reporter, I know how hard these lists can be to compile, and to really track who offers what and how it will help brands and agencies. Nice work!

    Joe

  • by Zack Pike Tue Sep 7, 2010 via web

    Clay - Great article. I really enjoy hearing about new tools to help make social media management easier... The only problem we have now is that there are too many tools out there. ;-)

    I've used HootSuite for my own social media for a long time and recently implemented it at a Fortune 200 company. We'll see how it goes long-term but so far it's been a big time and effort savings.

    There are a few in your list I hadn't heard of so I'll be sure to check them out.

    Zack Pike

  • by James Young Tue Sep 7, 2010 via web

    Hi Clay,

    Thanks so much for including Spredfast in the list. I feel like you've really understood some of the pain points we aim to solve for marketers. If you ever have product feedback for us re: how Spredfast can meet these needs better, please let me know.

    James@spredfast.com

  • by Amita Paul Tue Sep 7, 2010 via web

    Clay - Thank you for publishing this list. It puts across some of the best solutions out there for social media content management / analytics and marketing.

    Look forward to more resources from you in future!
    amita@objectivemarketer.com

  • by Scott Markman Tue Sep 7, 2010 via web

    Clay,

    Thanks for mentioning Ripple6. Please let us know if you have any questions.

    Scott
    scottm@ripple6.com

  • by L. de la Cruz Wed Sep 8, 2010 via web

    These tools can really help, but the team utilizing them makes the difference. Here at Media Logic, we offer our clients Zeitgeist and Coffee (http://www.mlinc.com/products/zeitgeist/), a solution that encompasses all aspects of social media marketing, from the initial landscape sweep to conversation monitoring, managing, and posting.

  • by Nick Fri Sep 10, 2010 via web

    All the companies on this are great, but I would have loved to see some description of the different niches they serve. Engage121 for instance was designed specifically for nationally branded organizations with an independent, local sales force such as franchises and insurance agencies.

    In a marketplace with over 150 different social CMS providers, I think niche specialization is going to become increasingly important and valuable.

    Feel free to ping me with questions...

    Nick
    nperold@engage121.com
    @engage121
    @nperold

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