When Facebook announced that users could migrate their personal profiles into business pages many rejoiced. Migration will be especially useful for users who initially planned to use their profile to promote a small business, such as an event promotion company or consultancy, but eventually hit Facebook’s 5000 friend limit. It will also allow those promoting a business with a personal profile to begin using third-party Page applications that allow them to set up a Like-gated landing page, run contests, collect email addresses, and recreate functionality from websites.
That got me thinking about a quote I read last week.
“One of the most interesting shifts we’ve seen on the Web is that we’re moving a little bit from a world of [individual] search to finding what my friends are telling me about,” said Kevin Barenblat @barenblat, social media chief executive.
With the size of Facebook pages exploding it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to discover what friends are discussing. Now multiply that by 1000 for business owners that are trying to discover what their client base is discussing.
It is clear that there are going to be more and more users with pages expanding past the original 5000 friend limit. In my social media career I have managed client Facebook accounts with 5000+ fans. I can tell you from experience that it’s VERY time consuming. It made me feel like a one man wolf pack that was trying to communicate with thousands of followers. My Facebook wolf pack would grow by one and I wouldn’t even notice.
With this in mind here is a quick review of three social media firms with software solutions that help Facebook users manage dialogue.
- Virtue is a provider of social media publishing software offering a software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool to help businesses harness the marketing potential of social media. Anchored by its Vitrue Social Relationship Management (SRM) Platform, Vitrue works with marketers of all sizes to message, manage, measure and maximize interactions on Facebook.
- Lithium combines the power of online customer communities with the social web and traditional CRM business processes to inspire customers to innovate, promote, and support. Lithium’s platform allows users to monitor a brand, competitors and customers instantly and easily.
- Context Optional offers Social Marketing Suite . SMS is a social marketing software program that allows brands it’s partnered with to offer quizzes, videos, coupons and more within the Facebook stream, meaning you never have to leave your Facebook homepage, IM session or photo tagging to wander to another site.
I tested and researched all three social media solutions for Facebook and found Social Media Suite from @ContextOptional the best.
The work-flex tool that SMS offers made the difference. The feature exclusive to the suite is a combined moderation and work-flow tool. The integration allows corporate departments to work together so that the proper group responds to users on Facebook. The system makes sure a tech support rep responds to a post about, say, a defective iPhone, while messages about charitable giving would get a response from a member of the public affairs department. The software automatically removes posts with bad language and sends email alerts to brand managers when pre-defined keywords are used in posts.
The software also lets corporations and ad agencies build custom applications and publish branded content, contests and promotions across numerous Facebook pages. Brands can use analytic tools to track user engagement and sentiment and use that information to create and measure a campaign’s effectiveness and if necessary change it on the fly.
Context Optional co-founder and CEO Kevin Barenblat claims Faceook executives told him the company’s product is the only comprehensive enterprise social marketing tool on the Facebook platform after he demoed it for them recently.
Context Optional says more than a dozen global brands and agencies are already using the software, including a number of Fortune 500 companies. The San Francisco-based company was founded in 2006, raising an angel round in March 2006 from noted seed investor @dafrankel of Founders Collective. The company is already profitable, providing social marketing software and consulting services to brands like Intel and MTV.