Article first published as 6 Must-Have Capabilities for Any Good Enterprise Social Media Management Solution on Technorati.
In late 2011, Ashton Kutcher (the actor and first celebrity to hit 1 million followers on Twitter), walked past a television and saw that the longtime coach of the football team from Penn State University had been fired. As an alumnus of a rival school, and without full background on the story, he immediately tweeted about the firing.
His Tweet drew an onslaught of responses that he couldn’t manage, forcing him to shut down his Twitter account. Ultimately, Kutcher handed his account over to his management company.
Brands understand this challenge, too.
This type of social media crisis isn’t just an isolated Hollywood challenge. It’s one that illustrates the very problem facing any brand actively using social channels to communicate with their customers. Earlier in 2011, European airlineJet2 shut down its Twitter account because they couldn’t scale up their efforts.
PepsiCo Manager of Social Strategy and Execution, George Smith, wrote a memo to the company’s CEO stating that integrating social marketing into every corner of a business is crucial and needs simplicity in the face of overwhelming data streams. “That one page document for the CEO is the most important thing I’ve ever created at any job I’ve ever had,” he said.
At some point, social media becomes too much for one person to handle and you need to scaleyour approach and your team. However, it’s not just about resources. “You can’t just throw more people at the problem, it actually slows things down,” shared Marshall Sponder, author of the book Social Media Analytics, at an industry conference.
So how do you scale?
- First, commit to spread your brand listening and monitoring as deep within the organization as possible. That level of connection bodes well both for serving your customer, and serving your social needs.
- Next, select the right tool designed to handle social at a high level of scalability. Not all tools designed to help manage your social channels were developed to do the same thing.
Selecting the right tool for a scalable social media management solution requires a thoroughrequest for proposal (RFP) process. You must ask good questions upfront to get good answers in return. For the enterprise, your questions should reflect consensus among people in the organization and across business units, and at the same time, be direct about the scalability of a vendor’s solution.
Social media management platform provider Sprinklr offers six essential areas of consideration for an effective enterprise social tool RFP. Based on interviews and experience in working with the some of the world’s largest, social brands, these areas of consensus are:
1. Multichannel Management
According to Sprinklr, a platform that was built from the ground up to handle multiple channels is different from a Facebook tool that is adapted to help you manage Pinterest.
Meaning, to manage social at scale, your solution must be able to, in a single place, gather data from the primary social platforms –Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogs, Pinterest and other channels, as well as forums.
2. Cross-functional Capabilities
Sprinklr has found that mature organizations know that social is more than marketing. Too many still manage cross-functional issues by e-mail and Microsoft Excel. Therefore, the ability to coordinate, collaborate, and track communication in a single tool is essential to maintaining a singular voice to the customer. Done right, the social experience of the customer should appear singular to them, despite being generated from multiple disciplines within the organization.
As social tools continue to mainstream, your social solution will encounter more demands from customers and internal business units. It’s critical for an organization to develop a proactive program that gets ahead of future demands, by operating from a strategic planning position. Your social tool needs to help the enterprise for years to come. And a robust solution should be able to accommodate scalable social business programs across a dispersed set of customer engagement points across geographies, time zones, and languages.
Sprinklr has found it’s essential to have the ability to scale out to many countries and have an architecture than can handle, process, track and route tens or hundreds of thousands of messages in a day.
4. Social Governance
Large organizations have dozens to hundreds of products, and each can be regionalized spurring on the number of accounts, plus corporate level accounts, as well as campaign focused accounts created by agency partners. It is important for all these touch points to understand the best practices for engagement to remain consistent. What’s more, you want to be sure that all users are accessing the platform in a way that is equal to their level of permission and that everyone is using the proper digital assets such as copy, images, videos, logos, etc.
When you do a campaign rollout to 40 countries, for example, Sprinklr has found it’s critical that enterprises are able to ensure that global strategy is respected, while local teams are empowered.
5. Customized Reporting
Are we deploying social media correctly? Are we getting any ROI back for our efforts? Is social media bringing me new customer leads? Measuring the ROI of social can be difficult because social is still a relatively new medium and is constantly evolving, but you want to be able to answer these kinds of questions. So, it’s essential to place a high priority on measurements, to ensure you have a tool that can accommodate it.
Summarized by Sprinklr, with so many stakeholders, divisions, channels and functions, standard and pre-configured reports are not enough to get the job done.
6. Rapid Product Enhancement
The social space evolves at a remarkably rapid pace. New trends, tools, and websites are continually launched and popularized. Therefore, it’s essential that a social solution moves at the same pace as the industry to remain effective. Web strategist, Jeremiah Owyang wrote, “In the future, this technology set will mature to grow into a data company that will extend its scope beyond simple Facebook and Twitter and impact how marketers approach the market, product innovation, and supply chain.
As Spinklr explains, not only do enterprises need a platform that adds features at a pace that keeps up with the pace of social, but they also require one that has a process and methodology for developing and implementing client-specific requests. Large brands are unique, and those needs need to be met.
Using Sprinklr’s The 6 ‘Must Haves’ for Any Enterprise Social RFP”guidelines, your enterprise should be able to drill down to a social solution that accommodates some of the key elements of both your operations today, as well as tomorrow. But what’s important is that your organization evolves with the integration of a robust social tool. The right solution should serve to help streamline, enhance, and coordinate your business operations.