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.
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.
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:
- ObjectiveMarketer helps manage posts, analytics, and customer-engagement programs across multiple channels and creates custom landing pages for social media assets.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.