Enterprise Social Media Infrastructure Platforms 2013
Successfully integrating social media and site marketing data, tactics, and strategies has never been more important for digital marketers. The explosive growth of social media has given digital marketers an unprecedented opportunity to know more about their prospects’ and customers’ wants and needs. The challenge is to collect, manage and integrate the resulting data to increase brand engagement, customer loyalty, and sales on your owned digital properties. This report will help you decide whether or not you need an Enterprise Social Media Infrastructure Platform (ESMIP). The report includes developing market trends, recommended steps for choosing a platform, and profiles of eight leading vendors.
Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from “Enterprise Social Media Infrastructure Platforms 2013“. You can download the report here free.
The Benefits of Using ESMIPs
Using digital marketing to engage an increasingly web-savvy consumer audience has become complicated and difficult. Consumers expect a personally relevant and easy-to-use experience whether they are on their smartphone, laptop, or tablet. Investing in an ESMIP can provide the following benefits to help achieve these goals:
- Greater access to your site audience by:
- getting permission to contact audience members off-site, e.g. by e-mail; and
- capturing e-mail addresses of users who have given permission from social networks.
- The ability to present more relevant content, ads, and offers to your audience using data collected by social networks and shared with the permission of users (see Table 1.)
- The ability to offer on-site applications (i.e. social plugins and gamification features) that increase user loyalty and engagement with your brand by increasing the time spent on site.
Do You Need an ESMIP?
Deciding whether or not your company needs an enterprise-level social media infrastructure platform calls for the same evaluative steps involved in any software adoption, including a comprehensive self-assessment of your organization’s business needs, staff capabilities, management support, and financial resources. Use the following questions as a guideline to determine the answers.
- What are our business objectives? Decide if your goals are to acquire new customers, build current customer loyalty, increase on-site engagement, or collect and leverage customer insights (or some combination of all of these).
- How will we define success? What key performance indicators (KPIs) do you want to measure and what decisions will you be making based on social data that will affect both the site itself and social marketing activity? For example, do you want to measure increases in engagement (i.e. page views, social buttons clicked)? Or user influence and the number of referrals that come to your site based on user recommendations and sharing? You should set in advance your business goals for the ESMIP to be able to benchmark success later on. Without them, justifying the expense of the platform or digital marketing programs to C-suite executives will be difficult.
- Who will use the tool? Staffing is key to the successful adoption of any social media infrastructure platform. Staff costs must be included to understand total cost of ownership. Without the proper skilled people in place, the tool can end up becoming an expensive reservoir of untapped data with unfulfilled potential to increase revenue and improve user experiences.
- How much training will we need? Different platform vendors provide different levels of customer service – from self-serve to dedicated account managers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Know where you fall on the spectrum before interviewing potential partners.
- What level of data and data access do we need? The majority of ESMIPS include data standardization and a centralized database. Decide if you need a cloud-based solution or if you prefer to store your own data.
- What are all of the other systems we are currently using that should be integrated with social media infrastructure? Many marketers work with applications for email/marketing automation, ecommerce, CRM, search, video, and display advertising. Understand which of your existing application providers integrate with social media infrastructure platforms through APIs and if they offer seamless reporting and/or execution capabilities as a result.
- What are our reporting needs? What information do salespeople, customer support teams, and IT departments require to improve decision making? You want to know the specific holes in your current digital reporting that will be filled by the ESMIP, such as social user influence and interests. More importantly, you want to be sure that that extra data will drive better decisions and ultimately more customer engagement and revenue for your business.
- What is the total cost of ownership? ESMIP clients pay a monthly subscription price that will vary based on the number of properties using the system and the number of social profiles stored. Many of the platforms offer tiered pricing, which increases as you capture, integrate, and analyze more social data. Several ESMIPs offer a la carte modular pricing allowing you to purchase only the capabilities you plan to use.
Choosing an Enterprise Social Media Infrastructure Vendor
Once you have determined that an enterprise social media infrastructure platform makes sense for your business, spend time researching individual vendors and their capabilities. Make a list of all the social infrastructure capabilities you currently have (i.e., social login), those that you would like to have (i.e., gamification), and those that you can’t live without (i.e., social data standardization and centralized storage). This last category is critical, and will help you avoid making a costly mistake.
Questions To Ask Potential Vendors
- Do you support social login for multiple social networks and identify providers for authentication?
- How easy is it to customize the branding of our social login and sharing widgets to match our website? How do we do it? (i.e., WYSIWYG, Server or Client APIs)
- Is there a limit to how many data fields we can capture per user? Who defines these fields?
- Do you standardize social data?
- Do you offer SSO so my staff can stay logged in as they work across our multiple web properties and partners?
- Can we use our own custom URL shortener for links shared to social networks, e.g. bit.ly?
- Do you have a gamification tool? Can we customize it, or do you provide a standard package of widgets, behaviors, and rewards?
- What social user actions can we track, i.e., likes, tweets, reviews, comments?
- Do you have a gamification dashboard to define and manage user rewards? Can we automate delivery?
- What analytics and reports are included? Can we customize them?
- Do you support integration with outside analytics platforms such as Adobe Marketing Cloud or IBM Direct Marketing Optimization?
- What training is included in your price?
- Will we have a dedicated account contact for support? If not, please describe the support process.
- How long is the implementation process typically? Does the ESMIP natively serve the purpose or are we making it fit?
- Is there a per seat or team license?
Download “Enterprise Social Media Infrastructure Platforms 2013″ The 34-page PDF includes additional valuable information including:
- Updates on the current trends and issues in enterprise social media infrastructure, including social login and password fatigue, privacy and data security, and pricing.
- Profiles of 9 leading vendors.
- Analysis of the impact of recent acquisitions and funding activity.
- …and much more
- Table of Contents
- Section I: Scope and Methodology
- Section II: Enterprise Social Media Infrastructure Market Overview
- Section III: Trends Driving ESMIP Adoption
- Section IV: Enterprise Social Media Infrastructure Platform Capabilities
- Section V: Choosing an Enterprise Social Media Infrastructure Platform
- View complete Table of Contents
- Social Annex