Tools of the New Trade

In regards to higher education, many universities can amass hundreds upon hundreds of various social media accounts. Boston College for example has approximately 80 departments all leveraging 1-9 social media platforms.Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 12.48.08 PM Social media management tools make it possible to organize messaging and gauge better engagement opportunities. As a business, management tools are predominantly paid for services and are essential to large-scale use of social media platforms.Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 12.55.43 PM.pngHootsuite is among the many social media management tools which organizations utilize. Reportedly, there are 10 million Hootsuite users. I have tried Hootsuite and I found the tool to be quite useful in procuring social media campaigns. For the trial version I was allotted a set number of social media accounts to mange. My goal was to gather data from a niche market using Survey Monkey. I joined medium to large sized affinity groups of my target audience. By using Hootsuite, I was able to pin point exactly the time and frequency of my surveying. I formalized a greeting, kindly asking respondents to take a minute to fill out the survey. I even asked friends to post the link on Twitter and Facebook. Within a few weeks we had reached our goal of respondents. My frequency rate was 7 times per day, 6 days per week. It was a simple call and response messaging plan that was highly targeted. The only premise for selecting time of day was to merely space out the redundant messaging evenly to increase the probability of first time impressions. We reached our goal for respondents fairly quickly. As a simple test of consistent messaging, social media management tools proved to be useful and provided a convenient advantage. Strategizing scheduled posts to maximize engagement requires a thorough understanding of ones audience in terms of their attention patterns. Most social media management tools provide this insight through analytics. Attributes such as retweet counts, follower counts and ‘mentions’. Various platforms also integrate with other analytics tools such as Google Analytics as well as enabling the management of ads and campaigns. The management and analytics component of social media is increasingly more relevant. Twitter now provides functionality for scheduled tweets as far as one year in advance.Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 12.58.45 PM With more tools becoming readily available it is fair to assume that more and more aspiring social media influencers will adopt these new methods of mass promotion. In lieu of the Paris attacks, there has been a discrepancy concerning the inherent functionality within management platforms. Martin Beck (a contributing writer for ‘Marketing Land’) concludes that many tools still lack the functionality to disengage all scheduled tweets. Beck goes on to elude that in the event of a pervasive news story it would be more convenient for management platforms to offer a ‘global emergency stop button’ which would halt all campaigning/scheduled messages across the entire dashboard, as opposed to pulling up individual posts and deleting them one by one. Buffer (social media management platform) said in response to Beck’s argument that the company is “Hoping to be able to offer some sort of easy ‘pause’ button soon.” As the functionality continues to evolve so will the methods of use. I for one feel I’m at a disadvantage if I’m not utilizing a social media manager. It is, after all, a case-by-case scenario that is dependent upon its respective strategy. I believe these tools offer a broader perspective and develop a more strategic voice. Social media management has without a doubt, become a full time job with a lot of overtime hours. Do you recommend using social media management tools for everyday social media users? Have you used them in the past and if so, what are some of the aspects within social media management tools that you find appealing?

7 comments

  1. Interesting topic choice and one I haven’t had a lot of personal experience with so I enjoyed your account. I think social media management tools offer a great service to companies with so many accounts, but I also wonder if these companies need so many accounts. I often times find myself searching through multiple twitter accounts to figure out which is the right one to tag in my post to get a response from a company and this clearly isn’t what those companies want to happen. I’m also curious how authentic automated posts come across as. For your purposes, I think trying to acquire survey respondents with automated messaging probably works fine, but I can see most brands being outed for disingenuous responses and we have seen examples of this with companies such as Target. I think the technology will get to place where companies have more personalized control and look forward to seeing how brands use it!

  2. I agree with Matt in that it will be difficult to keep a genuine presence on social media if a lot of the information you push out is automated. However, I think these types of tools are very useful for young companies such as start-ups because they may not have the know-how or resources to properly collect data on their social media presence. Data analytics should be involved right from the beginning so there is constant feedback from the customer base flowing into the business. I think we will be seeing a lot more companies aggregating the social media presence across platforms and I also think the social media platforms will be consolidated in the future. Like any industry that is new and comes into a more mature state, the larger platforms will gobble up the smaller ones. That is if this ever-changing and adapting industry ever matures!

  3. Interesting thoughts! I have never used a social media management system, but the analytical capabilities are impressive. It’s amazing that Twitter allows scheduled tweets for up to a year in advance. Although we talk a lot about real-time marketing, long-term planning for social media can be extremely effective as well. Holidays, important events, and company milestones can all have targeted posts well in advance, allowing the social media manager to focus more on real-time happenings.

    A “pause” button seems like a smart development. A company’s reputation can take a huge hit if they post something insensitive. All of this discussion about analytics makes me wonder if the content or the analytical data is more important?

  4. Lots of info in this post! All of these tools offer great strategic planning options which can definitely be beneficial in allowing the social media managers to have time to focus on current events and real-time marketing, as opposed to wasting time drafting a generic holiday post. Also am curious about the automated posts because I see huge pros and huge cons for these, while they similarly allot more time to social media managers, this time could be misassigned if the automated posts come across to consumers as inauthentic and vapid. I think that these platforms and tools will likely continue to be fleshed out and made more dynamic as research into social media and its effectiveness in business strategies continues.

  5. I definitely love the idea of platforms like Hootsuite. I’m actually surprised that this topic hasn’t been mentioned more in blog posts or presentations as it is definitely becoming essential for marketers in this field. My dad has been trying to convince me to use it forever, but I’m simply not yet important enough to need to use a social media management system for my personal platforms yet. When we learned about Boston College social media, it was interesting to hear about BC Football had to change some of their marketing campaigns after Doug Flutie’s parents passed. It is definitely a major concern about how marketing campaigns like this could backfire in the event of a tragedy. I imagine it is going to take marketers a while to trust platforms like Hootsuite because they do not want to clean up the mess that would occur after an offense mistake.

  6. This is a great post. It’s a little complex but hopefully I grasped it well enough! I like how you touched on the fact that these social media management tools help with “strategy”. With firms leveraging different accounts, they’re realizing they have to be on multiple platforms. Tools like the ones mentioned above help them organize what they’re doing and implement a particular strategy. If you are able to leverage analytics and data across platforms, rather than just one platform, it can be very beneficial to the firm. Great idea!

  7. A semester or two ago, I tried doing Hootsuite training as part of the class. It wasn’t that well received, but I agree that these enterprise tools are definitely the future of social media for companies and- perhaps – for everyone.

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