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Tools To Manage Hundreds Of Social Media Accounts

Sprinklr and Spredfast tools aim to serve big corporations that need multi-brand social media management.
Austin-based Spredfast started out in 2008 as a services organization working with agencies and brands, then launched its software-as-a-service platform at South by Southwest in 2010. "Our early customers tended to be agencies serving multiple clients, but in the back end of 2011 the switch flipped, and a lot of enterprises decided they needed to bring the operational side of [social media] inside the company," Rudden said.

Spredfast works primarily with marketing departments, although often marketing personnel become "accidental care agents," providing the first line of response to customer questions and complaints, Rudden said, or routing them to the appropriate customer service / customer care personnel. "Increasingly, someone in the care group will participate on a team with marketers."

Spredfast is also developing a version of its publishing and monitoring console "for simplified interactions out at the edge," targeted for release in July, Rudden said. A sample application would be for Whole Foods, a Spredfast customer, to provide the tool to its 350 store managers to help them "do social in an organized, hour-a-day way," he said. "The question is, if you have someone out at the edge of the enterprise who has an hour a day to do social, how do you make them really efficient?" Rather than taking the time to scan all potentially relevant posts, those people are more likely to want to only be alerted when something specifically requires a response from them, he said.

"Whole Foods isn't even our biggest customer--we have one that has us helping 1,500 users do social at 400 locations," Rudden said.

Such plans can also lead to a proliferation of social media accounts, but the trick is to do it in an organized way.

Social IQ Networks, which has created a tool for identifying, auditing, and monitoring all of a company's social accounts, said many of its scans routinely turn up more than 200 company or brand accounts--often including orphan accounts for which the password is unknown and the owner is not easily identified. "Most enterprises and brands have no idea they have that many accounts out there. The trouble is, there's no barrier to entry to creating another account," said Devin Redmond, co-founder and CEO.

Sprinklr's Thomas said one audit his firm conducted for a services firm "showed 4,800 social media properties with their name and logo on it around the world--I'm not sure they can identify even half of it." If the accounts are inactive, and there's nothing embarrassing or inappropriate posted to them, they can often be safely ignored, he said, "but at least you're aware of them." When the social posts pose a real problem, often the account owner can be tracked down "with a little detective work," or Sprinklr can use its connections with the social media services to get the account taken offline, he said.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard and facebook.com/thebyard

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