It’s not uncommon for businesses today to use social networks – namely, Twitter and Facebook – as a platform for engaging with customers and managing customer relationships. This development has given rise to an increasing number of social media solutions and dashboards, each promising to streamline all tasks and bring a new level of ease in customer engagement.
Let’s take a look at the best of these solutions and their features.
MediaFunnel is a social media suite for businesses and enterprises, with a host of features designed to make Twitter and Facebook accounts easier to manage. One of these distinguishing features is Multiple User Roles, or the ability to assign Administrator, Publisher, and Contributor roles and grant various levels of permission to review or publish tweets and Facebook posts (for greater editorial control and efficiency).
Apart from monitoring Twitter and Facebook for mentions and tracking the performance of links via Bit.ly and BudURL, MediaFunnel also enables you to create content for future use (or future publication), schedule tweets, and assign tweets to other team members for follow up.
Other features include:
- Multiple Social Media Channel Support, for publishing tweets and Facebook posts across multiple accounts or profiles, all at once
- Time Release Tweeting and Posting + Scheduling (for scheduling of posts)
- Tweet and Post Assignment, for assigning inquiry follow-up, responses, and issue handling to other MediaFunnel users; the Assign functionality allows you to select a MediaFunnel user / team member to answer a tweet, and to send this person an E-mail that notifies them that they
- need to take action.
- Brand Monitor, for saving and tracking mentions, searches, and specific keywords
- Bit.ly, Salesforce.com, Twilio SMS, and ZenDesk integration
From the Pricing page: “MediaFunnel costs only $1.00 per User/Channel per month. You’ll need to pay for the number of users you add to MediaFunnel or the number of social media channels you connect to, whichever is greater. For example, if you involve 20 employees in creating social media content, and you have two Twitter accounts and three Facebook Pages, your cost is $20 per month, since the number of users is the higher number.”
MarketMeSuite, a social media marketing dashboard for businesses, stands out for its account management tools and a unique feature by which you can brand your tweets. (For example, tweets can be customized to say that they were posted via “YourWebsite.com” or “YourBrand” instead of via “Twitter” or “MarketMeSuite.com”.)
Available as a downloadable desktop application with data stored in the cloud (for multiple user access), MarketMeSuite also features ZenDesk integration, allowing you to turn tweets into customer support ticket (“twicket”). Customer issues found on Twitter can also be organized into Dotted Tweets, which enables you to assign tweets to other team members and MarketMeSuite users – and make sure that each twicket is solved.
MarketMeSuite also offers the ability to:
- Schedule posts to Twitter and Facebook (schedule up to one year in advance)
- Schedule posts using mobile devices – iPhone, Android, Blackberry – with Google Calendar integration
- Automate tweeting of RSS feeds
- Post content across various accounts (Twitter, Facebook Profile, Facebook Pages) with one click
- Source local users via location targeting or target users by language
- Automatically follow / unfollow using an intelligent algorithm
MarketMeSuite gives the ability to add an unlimited number of Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as an unlimited number of team members. Pricing is fixed at $5.99 a month; you can also sign up for a year for $34.99.
Seesmic is a suite of social media management freeware for businesses and individuals, available on the Web as an online tool, across mobile platforms (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone 7), and as a desktop application. The browser-based Seesmic (Seesmic for Web) offers support for multiple Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Salesforce Chatter, Foursquare, and Google Buzz accounts by default. The Seesmic mobile products, meanwhile, natively support multiple social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Ping.fm.
Seesmic Desktop, however, is perhaps the most unique Seesmic product, since it offers a plugin architecture that allows you to select services from the Seesmic Marketplace according to your needs. This includes CRM (customer relationship management) plugins such as:
- ZenDesk: for viewing, updating, and managing customer support tickets
- 6DGREE: for customer service capabilities, workflow management, and dialog and conversation tracking from within Seesmic Desktop
With 6DGREE for Seesmic Desktop, you can review conversations according to priority or outstanding status, then assign these to service agents or team members. It supports companies with multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts, too. Because the plugin records your status and file notes, you also gain access to a full history of conversations between your brand and your customers.
Other features of Seesmic include:
- Ability to simultaneously manage user accounts for multiple social networks
- Ability to post content across various accounts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a few others)
- Integration with third parties in several categories: social networking, entertainment, utilities, news, shopping, business, and finance
- Support for Formspring, Klout, Ning, Google Reader, Gowalla, Visibli Analytics, BrandWatch, etc.
CoTweet, another social media solution, focuses on customer engagement and is designed to help companies manage, track, and analyze real-time conversations about their brands on Twitter and Facebook. Instead of serving as a desktop client, it is accessed through a Web browser.
CoTweet is available in two versions: Standard (free) andEnterprise(premium). Both offer an advanced set of collaboration features, including:
- Message assignment
- Multiple user collaboration
- Search monitoring and E-mail notifications
- Multiple account publishing and scheduling
- Conversation history (30 days for Standard and unlimited for Enterprise)
- Bit.ly integration
CoTweet also has a unique OnDuty Status feature, which assigns responsibility to a team member for monitoring social streams at a certain time. The person on duty can then receive E-mail notifications containing the latest mentions of the brand in social media.
TheEnterpriseversion of CoTweet scales to support an unlimited number of users (both for
Facebook and Twitter), workgroups (with advanced roles and permissions), more analytics, advance scheduling capabilities, mobile apps, and third-party integrations (including Salesforce.com and TwitPic).