Saturday, March 16, 2013

5 Social Media Marketing Platforms Worth Your Immediate Attention

We’ve passed the point of organizations merely needing a presence on social networks; it’s not nearly enough to simply have a Twitter account or Facebook page – reaching your marketing goals requires true engagement, mobile compatibility, responsiveness, smarter campaigns, and actionable metrics. To optimize your online and mobile efforts, regardless of the size of your business, you’ll need to employ social media marketing platforms. There’s certainly no shortage of platforms at your disposal – the question is which provide the most value and best tailored fit for your needs. To make it simple, here are five social media marketing platforms that should be on your radar this year, depending on your organization’s size and goals:

North Social
North Social is for quickly creating coupons, contests, and sweepstakes and then publishing them across Facebook, Twitter, mobile, and the web. Its smart link technology detects a user’s browser and optimizes accordingly – so you can easily reach prospects on the web, phones and tablets at once. In 2011 North Social was acquired by Maryland based Vocus, which has added strength as well as new features like integrated email campaigns and SEO tools that can help amplify promotions and convert users into paying customers. Their large selection of low cost apps makes North Social solid choice for small and medium sized businesses, as well as design firms consultants and small agencies.

Sprout Social
Sprout Social is a social media management and listening platform most loved for its slick dashboard and messages view, which pulls in activity from all networks into one stream. The platform also offers a summary for each users’ social presence to identify meaningful connects that could convert into loyal customers. Other key features include workflow management, conversion history, and presentable, robust reporting. The price tag is ideal for medium sized business owners.

Moontoast offers a Social Activation Engine for social app templates and a Social Analytics Suite to optimize the ROI of each campaign. Because Moontoast focuses on building valuable relationships on social and incorporates revenue into analytics, it’s a strong tool for marketers to demonstrate the often-elusive ROI of social media.

Wildfire App
Wildfire provides social media marketing tools for pages, messages, ads, promotions, monitoring, and analytics. It isn’t the new kid on the kid on the block, (now owned by Google) and that’s a good thing for brands looking to explore Google +. Wildfire offers two types of products: a Promotion Builder and a Social Marketing Suite. It's win for brands with in house developers. Along with Vitrue (bought by Oracle) and Buddy Media / Marketing Cloud (bought by Salesforce), Wildfire is a great tool for large businesses looking to invest in more customized promotions.

Socialflow brings a big data solution to social media marketing. Their system looks at social data (over 1 Terrabyte per day) and then crunches the numbers in order to help brands time up their social posts to maximize their desired response. The old saying is that Timing is everything… well, with SocialFlow brands can use big data to optimize their publishing strategy and generate a more effective response from their social marketing investment. The cool part is that the process is highly automated which helps add a layer of artificial intelligence to your publishing frequency so that your social voice is well timed and well received. SocialFlow is best for brands with a larger than average social media presence.

I like all of these companies – but my personal favorite? North Social. Of course, they should be my favorite- they’re a client of my first company, Likeable Media. No matter what platform you choose, in 2013, the real focus in social media marketing should be on metrics, listening, and mobile. Make sure you’re using the right tools for the job. What are YOUR favorite social media listening, marketing and management platforms? Let me know in the comments below!

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