How to Choose a Social Media Management and Monitoring Solution
You want to monitor results for any activity you invest resources in. As far as activity analysis and presence management for Social Media go, there are specialised tools, useful and practical, helping us measure our digital presence and get a real image of people’s perception of our company.
What I have learned from the beginning, while looking for a solution to match our needs, is that no solution is perfect. Each supplier promises to deliver exactly what you need at that moment. Sadly, because of the fast rate at which the social media landscape is changing, it’s very hard to rank the suppliers for this niche. There are always new solutions coming out or old solutions being modified in order to satisfy client needs or cope with a change brought on by the social media platform operators.
I would advise you to identify your specific needs in order to find a tool that corresponds with them. Here are a few recommendations that should help you find an SMMS solution:
Analyse your users realistically
Adopting an SMMS solution is essential if you want to add value. If the tool is too complicated for the users, it does not matter how many features it has. Better to choose a simpler solution with a smaller number of features if the users are not necessarily focused, from a training point of view, on Social Media.
Understand technological limitations
You should understand the type of load the solution can take. If you have hundreds of accounts with hundreds of users, does the SMMS solution still keep its optimal functioning parameters? Send questions to the sales department and get answers before you order. Ask for case studies for clients similar to yourself, so you can see directly how the solution behaved within parameters similar to your own.
Content publishing and dialogue with the public
Create a sketch of workflows for processes such as content publishing, content acquirement from multiple sources, content monitoring after publishing and answers towards the public. Sadly, most of these solutions do not have a free trial period, which means that you can only see shortcomings when it is too late. It is essential to see if the SMMS solution you have chosen corresponds with the workflow you have created or if at least offers an alternative to what you are already doing.
Features, features, features
Think about the functionalities you need for the social platforms you are active on and ask ahead of time if they are available in this SMMS solution. For example, you cannot tag a page in a status update using a tool. From what I have read (please tell me if I am wrong) no social media management solution offers this functionality. It is however a good idea to start making a list of functionalities, in order to set internal expectations accordingly and keep a way out if you choose to abandon a tool and opt for another solution. Another problem I have faced has to do with YouTube. Even though you can easily program the posting of a video, there is no possibility to access the embed code before it is displayed on YouTube.com. I need the code for an article I have programmed to be published at a certain time. Thus I have discovered that even though there is a YouTube upload feature, it does not solve the problem entirely.
Who do you call in case you have problems?
Just like for any new service, you should try to find a guarantee that once you have become their customer, there is a customer representative available to be your contact and help you with technical issues. This customer representative can make it easier for you to gain knowledge about the use of the solution, as well as solve billing issues, extra options etc. Because I work in the respective company, I have knowledge that the supplier of the SMMS solution does not have, so our feedback must be gathered by the supplier and it should be transformed into plans and timelines to extend the solution and its functionalities.
I have already said that no supplier is perfect and you will still have to make certain compromises regarding functionalities for any solution you choose. Make sure that when you ask for offers from suppliers, you know what your requirements are so that you can see how their offers match up with your needs.
I have chosen SproutSocial, which for the moment serves our social media needs very well.
For those of you who have not chosen a solution yet, happy “shopping”!
For the other ones, can you tell me what solution you are looking for and what the (pre)selection procedure is?