What I want in a social media management tool.
Have you ever wanted something that doesn’t exist? Or, maybe what you want does exist, but you just don’t know about it, and you don’t have enough time to figure it out? Well, that’s how I feel about social network management tools – they all have something to offer, but <huge sigh> they are never precisely what I need.
So, I’m going to outline my needs and my hope is that someone will:
- contact me and say they have this very thing, or…
- contact me and say they are in the process of building this very thing, or…
- build it for me because its such a great idea, or…
- happily shell out some funds and ask me to build it for them.
However it happens, I think I’m on to something, so go ahead and run with it if you like.
My caveat is that I haven’t done an exhaustive search of these systems, but I have sat through a few demos and while I liked what I saw, it was never “enough.” And, there aren’t even enough hours in the day to get up to speed on everything that’s available. That’s why I need someone to come to me. Am I being too demanding? I don’t think so… Oh, but did I also mention, I don’t want to pay a huge amount for this system? Not that I expect it to be free, but I also am not thinking about shelling out six figures for this system, no matter how great it is…ok, well convince me, but I’m thinking…#not.
So, here’s what I want: I want a social media system that allows me to take care of the front, middle and back end of my complex social media program in one application. Just what do I mean by complex? Well, any corporation that has multiple brands, complicated regulatory environment (think pharma, financial services), numerous end users and business units and numerous social platforms.
Front End (Content Gathering/Creation/Organizing/Approvals/Scheduling):
- I need a content management tool and calendaring system that allows me to plan out all of my content in a visual calendar format, organizing and tagging it by category, business unit or whatever grouping.
- I need to be able to share this calendar with my organization and receive feedback on it.
- I need to have multiple calendars for different programs and brands.
- In terms of publishing, I don’t want to be restricted by site or platform, so make it compatible with more than the big five – no I’m not talking about the animals you hope to see on safari! I’m talking about Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, and LinkedIn…and blogs, actually make that more than five.
- I need to be able to send out requests for content and receive requests for content from my system to all the end users in my internal (and external/agency) networks. There might be A LOT of them, so I need a robust tool for this.
- An HTML email would be nice, with a link to our site where the end users can have their own area to enter their content ideas.
- If all the end users could access the system with their own credentials, they could plan out ideas and leave messages for me. I won’t go into the details of the UI here, but I have a few ideas…call me.
- I need a way to take all these content ideas and sort and prioritize them for publishing.
- I also need the ability to take this high level calendar and send it out for approval or comments, or just as an FYI – as in here’s what’s coming up. Did I mention, it would be nice if it were automated?
- Then, I need to take all the content ideas and create the specific tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube entries, etc. that pertain to this content, with associated time frames and frequencies (including any variations in specific language to make it interesting, and across multiple accounts/user names/handles). Perhaps I could drag and drop them onto my calendar(s) (hint, hint).
- And, I need to be able to assign all of the work of creating the tweets and posts to, potentially, a variety of different people, internally or externally to the organization.
- Also, once the content is created, I want to send it for approval to my internal peeps (call ‘em what you like but you might need some content to be approved by a review board, legal, compliance, risk, or PR team (if you’re not already in that department) and sign off on the content with some sort of documentation/electronic “paper” trail so that in case the proverbial sh*t hits the fan, we’ve got our butts covered. I might need more than one approval, and who approves it might be different each time, so I need some customization here. I have used systems like these before, but they are not tailored for use in social media.
- I want these tweets and posts to be slotted into the appropriate calendars and broadcast to my networks on schedule; but ultimately, I want control – I would like some email notification about what will be broadcast each week or each day, so that if I need to change anything I can take action.
Middle (Community Management/Monitoring/Response Triaging and Assignment)
- Once the posts are made, then I need the ability to be notified by email in a digest format at my preferred interval a day with any network updates…by this I mean a summary email that shows some stats about what’s been happening, and the specific responses that are being picked up on our networks – i.e., direct @ replies, Facebook wall posts, etc. Anything that would require action from us, I would like to know about. That doesn’t mean everything being said, everywhere. That would be a problem, but on the main spaces, yes. I need this because I’m busy and not sitting at my desk all day waiting for comments to roll in.
- For each person who interacts with my brand, I’d like to get the stats on them in real time – who are they? how influential are they? Maybe this tool will assign a priority on them based on how many followers/fans/readers they have on their Twitter/Facebook or blog?
- And, if it’s not too much to ask, can I have all of this integrated with my CRM system? So I would be able to get a sense of who’s a customer/who isn’t and what kind of relationship I have with them. (ok, I’ll admit that this might push the cost up some…)
- And, to be honest, I want to know what people are saying about my competitors too. I know, I’m demanding, but if something happens with a competitor, I really can’t wait for an aggregate listening report can I? By that time, the opportunity might be over.
- I want the ability to include the monitoring of specific sites in this email, beyond those where I’m actively posting like my own community, Twitter or Facebook. And, I do mean specific because I wouldn’t want a “river” of news with every possible mention of my brand in THIS report. The CAPS on THIS hopefully implies that I would like this on some other report. Are you with me?
- When I go to this application, I need to be able immediately scan all the posts and determine which ones require response…ok this does exist with some tools…and I’m happy for that. So, let’s continue…
- I need to be able to assign the response to individual people. Yes, yes, I know that exists…but I need to be able to assign different levels of reply – some people may reply directly to the consumers on behalf of the company, but some may not. For those who will not be replying, I need to be able to forward the post/tweet and append my own comments/request. Maybe I’m looking for the answer to this question, or a specific link, whatever. I need to get a response and then I need to take that response and craft the channel-appropriate message. I may even need approvals on that message, so it needs to go through the system. In other words, I need a messaging system within my app, that’s tied to the specific posts/tweets being made and to my approval system.
- And, of course, I need to track all of this activity, including who’s doing the replying…just in case .
- I’m sure there are other things in this category…but let’s move on.
The back end is about reporting. There are definitely tools that do this…although maybe they don’t do it all in one.
- I’d like to have a comprehensive dashboard of all my activity across all my sites, including the click throughs of all my content/links and an analysis of how my tweets are doing (retweets, click throughs, what percentage of posts we responded to, etc.)
- I’d like to see new followers, lost followers and other follower information, especially a longitudinal view of my progress so I can easily demonstrate the growth of networks.
- I’d like to see a more granular level of detail on my dashboard organized by business unit or other grouping – who’s using social media the most and who’s the most successful in their efforts might be interesting information and help with campaign analysis. I also want to know what is working and not working.
- I’d like to see a set of platform-specific or contextual information for each platform that I’m using.
- I’d like a set of “pretty” automated reports to be generated and sent to the distribution of my choosing with the appropriate level of detail for each user group. I want to set specific time frames for my reports.
- And, I want to be able to add in my own commentary to the graphs, or to the report in general before blasting it out to my users (the list of which, ideally, would be easily manageable in this system).
- And, I’d like the opportunity to choose – html or email with attachment.
- Ok, this next one is pretty good idea – so pay attention I’d like to be able to select some data to go into an overall scorecard that sums up our progress. It’s a composite score that is customized potentially to my organization’s needs and looked at from different angles. In utopia, I’d have access to everyone else’s scores and be able to look at how I’m doing compared to other companies in general, or in my industry. This would be a great way to justify to senior management that you need more funding or resources, or to prove that you are doing well, relative to the competition.
- I’d like to be able to plug in some financials and estimate the value of all this activity, in general and at the program/campaign/group level (let’s work that out later). In other words, what’s my ROI?
- Even though I’m mostly focusing on our interactions with consumers, I’d still like a comprehensive listening report of all the tweets/posts about my company and, if I choose, about my competitors, with stats on what percentage were replied to etc.
- Lastly, I would like each user in my system to have their own customized dashboard – maybe I have a blog style commentary that provides a glimpse into what’s going on the networks in real time, RSS, and email at their preferred frequency. Maybe a desktop widget with a follower count and graph of our activity. Something that keeps it top of mind and gets them to contribute to the process. Make sense?
I’m sure I’m leaving out a whole bunch of requirements, so feel free to contribute and help build out the requirements for the ultimate social media management tool.