One of the biggest challenges of social media managers who oversee large consumer or enterprise brands is content manageability. It seems as if a new social network is born every day, and only a few days after it's introduced to the world a multitude of people push to figure out how businesses can benefit. With many companies taking the be everywhere for everyone approach to social networking, trying to keep it all in sync is a major feat.
Calling it lack of manageability might be too simple of a way to put it. Some of the intricate challenges are:
- Control: Who is posting what and where to whom?
- Security: Some companies have multiple users sharing the same passwords or admin rights.
- Tracking: Great, you posted on Twitter. Did anyone even read it?
- Redundancy: Not redundant content, but redundant work. Time loss due to multiple postings of the same data to multiple sites.
Awareness Inc., with its pedigree in branded communities, is unveiling at South By Southwest Interactive a new product called the Social Marketing Hub, which promises to help the heavily tasked social media manager with their multiple online presences. Will it help? I watched a demo today and I immediately saw all of the ways that this product could help streamline efforts and improve control. I am not one to boldly sing the praises of a solution -- and I'll reserve full hallelujah until I get a chance to try it firsthand -- but the concept of the Social Marketing Hub could be a game changer for managing social business content.
Companies that subscribe to Awareness' service for $2K per month have the ability to set up five social networking "channels." A channel is a direct link into a Twitter stream, a branded community, a Facebook page, a YouTube channel or a Flickr page, and is connected from the Social Marketing Hub to the services through varying methods of OAuth (other social networks are promised post-launch). Here are some of the features:
- One-click publishing across multiple social media channels
- Upload photos to Flickr, Facebook and your community
- Enter text and a link and send to Facebook and Twitter
- Upload videos to YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and your community
- Measurement tools and real-time updates
- Manage login credentials for all social media channels
My first reaction when seeing the demo for this product was to liken it to a more robust version of CoTweet, which currently only works with Twitter and allows multiple users under an admin that controls the security and can assign and monitor posts. However, what the Social Marketing Hub also offers is an approval process for managing content and some really "smart" update features (i.e. make edits to posted content and it will re-post according to each site's policies, it knows which sites can take which types of media, etc.).
Awareness already has some pretty good brands using the Social Marketing Hub, such as Kodak, Best Buy, USA Today, Kayak.com and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.
"Many brands, including ours, are realizing that focusing on only one social media channel to reach an audience isn't enough to get results desired. As channels are added, so are the complexities in measuring the impact you have on the marketplace" said John Bernier, manager, social and emerging media at Best Buy. "We're excited about the possibilities that the Social Marketing Hub brings to our ability to carefully measure all our social media activities from one central console."
One drawback I currently see to the Social Marketing Hub thus far is a lack of granularity with some updates. For example, if I want to upload photos or videos into specific albums on Facebook this still has to be done manually as the service currently only automatically posts them to the Facebook wall. The other is that it is cost-prohibitive to anyone except for very large brands or enterprises, whereas companies of all sizes that have multiple product lines or campaigns could also benefit from such a service. Perhaps a lighter version in the future?