Sprinklr and Spredfast tools aim to serve big corporations that need multi-brand social media management.
11 Management Systems That Can Help You Get A Handle On Social
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The only thing proliferating faster than social media management tools are the accounts, profiles, and pages big brands and major corporations have established on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.
An organization that has hundreds of social media accounts may well have too many--particularly in the absence of any coordinated scheme for tracking who has access to which accounts--and which accounts have access to specific resources like Facebook business pages. Particularly in the early days of social media enthusiasts establishing a brand presence, many accounts were established by a lone individual trying to make a point. Even when managed with more discipline, social accounts tend to proliferate because they are associated with different brands or marketing campaigns.
While social media management products make so many overlapping claims that they can sound like they all do the same things, only a handful of products target this kind of scalability. Sprinklr and Spredfast are a couple I've spoken with recently. A recent Altimeter Group publication, "Buyer's Guide: A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation," puts Sprinklr at the top end of its ranking of products with the most capability to serve large organizations, with Spredfast close behind.
The report also notes that no one product addresses every need. For example, Buddy Media's social media management platform is used by some very big brands because of the strength of its Facebook page management and Facebook applications, even if those organizations don't use Buddy for other aspects of their social media management strategy, such as publishing posts across multiple social media platforms. There are also other dimensions of scalability. Hearsay specializes in helping corporate organizations coordinate with field sales representatives or franchisees to distribute messages through social media, while monitoring or filtering those messages for compliance with corporate policy or industry regulations.
Where products like Sprinklr and Spredfast stand out is in their ability to coordinate social media publishing and customer response across large teams and many social media identities.
Altimeter gives higher marks to Sprinklr for "intense customer response" to social media comments and queries and rates Spredfast as the better "social broadcasting" platform, but both have strong scorecards in general. Other vendors at the high end of the scale include Alcatel-Lucent / Genesys, Comufy, Shoutlet, and Attensity.
At the other end are social media management platforms like HootSuite with a freemium business model that gets them a foot in the door with many small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and agencies. HootSuite recently added enhanced workflow for processes like reviewing and approving posts prior to publication as it tries to stake a claim to more enterprise business, but it's still viewed as more appropriate for departmental use than for managing all the social activity of a major corporation.
"We're doing what HootSuite does, but for very large companies," Sprinklr CEO Ragy Thomas said.
"When we come into an organization, invariably it's HootSuite and CoTweet we're replacing," agreed Jim Rudden, chief marketing officer at Spredfast.
Altimeter reports that 140 global corporate social media managers surveyed said they were tracking 178 social accounts on average, including about 30 on Facebook and 39 on Twitter, plus more across LinkedIn, YouTube, and Foursquare, as well as blogs, forums, and message boards. In the absence of an organized program for managing these identities, Altimeter warns a corporation can be stuck with the harder problem of social media "sanitation"--cleaning up messes after the fact.
Sprinklr claims to be working with "more than 100 globally recognized brands," although some of them are shy about being identified. However, you can see posts labeled "via Sprinklr" on the Dell Facebook page and Virgin America serves as a reference customer.
A social media manager at a national retailer, who asked not to be identified, said that Sprinklr is not the only social media management tool in his toolbox "but it's the most used" and likely to take over more functions as Sprinklr expands its functionality. "We depend on it pretty heavily for publishing and scheduling," he said, relying on the workflow provided by the tool to govern the retailer's social media presence. For this retailer, one reason social media management gets complicated is that, in addition to promoting its own brand, it deals with thousands of manufacturers who are constantly clamoring for the creation of social media promotions associated with their specific products, he said.
"We've designed it in a way that addresses the needs of today's large enterprises, which are managing hundreds if not thousands of Facebook pages--we have a customer right now where we're migrating 1,200 Facebook pages over," Sprinklr's Thomas said. In addition to having multiple brands, large organizations often have a country page for each market, he said. With the addition of its Social Application Suite, Sprinklr is also entering the Facebook application management segment of the market.
Sprinklr also overlaps with social media monitoring vendors, although it doesn't claim the breadth of coverage of specialists like Radian6. Instead, Sprinklr is specifically geared for capturing and following up on the reaction to a social media campaign, Thomas said. For example, with a single campaign, one client recently generated 130,000 conversations on social media over four days. "This firm has 60 community managers, but compared with 130,000 messages, 60 managers is no match," he said.
Reading all those messages would be impractical, but Sprinklr makes it more manageable by applying natural language processing techniques to identify the ones that really require a response, presenting them prioritized and color-coded by content and sentiment "to make the best use of the community manager's time," Thomas said.
Spredfast says a typical customer manages 15 brands, geographies, or groups within the platform, and that large brands typically manage 100 accounts--some, as many as 600. Rudden said that many of his customers use monitoring platforms from Radian6 or Crimson Hexagon "for a 10,000-foot view" of their business, but his company concentrates on being better at helping them manage "the day-to-day engagement on social networks."
Social is a Business ImperativeThe use of social media for a host of business purposes is rising. Indeed, social is quickly moving from cutting edge to business basic. Organizations that have so far ignored social - either because they thought it was a passing fad or just didnít have the resources to properly evaluate potential use cases and products - must start giving it serious consideration.
Social is a Business ImperativeSocial media is critical in the age of digital business. How can IT help? First, work with the marketing team to set up social networking programs on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, at minimum. Then work to put social media sentiment analytics in place to measure success.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.