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Choosing the Right Social Media Management System

Social media marketing has changed the nature of advertising completely as businesses now focus on engagement and conversation as the path to sales conversions. The rush to get into social media marketing has seen many companies quickly lose control over the coordination of all of their social media marketing commitments. This has, in turn, spawned the creation of a new software industry to manage all of these new sales networks, the Social Media Management Systems (SMMS).

In 2010 there were about ten new SMMS startups offering a suite of services that were designed to streamline all social media activities through one dashboard. Services like Hootsuite and TweetDeck that have been around since that time have tended to set the standards, while the prolific number of clones that these services have generated have given SMMS companies a poor reputation for not being able to deliver the services they advertise. The low start-up costs for SMMS vendors, and the ease with which it is possible to leverage the read and write APIs for social networks, has seen a boom in small SMMS dot com companies offering mostly Freemium services in a confusingly flooded market.

The main problem is that most, if not all, of these SMMS tools lack an analytical capability. Users are also finding that, though theses services are automated, the speed of services is not fast enough, leading many users to find that it is quicker to do social marketing tasks manually. Because the industry has spawned so many clones, and there is little to differentiate between them, it has become difficult for buyers to choose between SMMS services. This situation is further exacerbated because there may be a need to use a third-party analytical tool to measure the impact of all of that automatic social networking.

Almost two-thirds of businesses that are using social media marketing have adopted some level of SMMS to streamline their social media efforts, although the bulk of those users are probably only using the Freemiun packages and not taking full advantage of all of the premium features available. This means that these services probably work well for small to midsized businesses with minimal social media commitments, but for other companies that use social media, like Twitter, to drive a large percentage of their sales leads, even the premium packages from many SMMS services are not able to cope with the pressures that users put on them.

With the sheer amount of social media that many marketers are using, tools like these are going to grow in importance and if they are to succeed then they will need to evolve their sophistication at the same time. For most businesses, an account on one of the longer established SMMS sites will probably suffice for all of their social media marketing needs. Sites like Hootsuite, CoTweet, and TweetDeck have come to be known for their better reliability and service records. Many businesses still consider using internet marketing services like to manage all of their social media marketing as a more effective advertising method than SMMS is offering. In the end the best thing to do is to look carefully at what the internet community is saying about the SMMS at the time that you are looking for the service to suit your own needs. With so many new start-ups, any list of SMMS platforms will be superseded in short order by the latest trending sites. Perhaps the best SMMS choice is to develop a plan for your social media marketing that can be managed manually. After all, social media is about relationships, and making friends via a computer program may not be the best way to use social media to market your business.

A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation- Jeremiah Owyang, Altimeter 2012

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