The Social Media Management Systems (SMMS) space has had a busy summer. Salesforce buys Buddy Media, Adobe takes Context Optional, and Oracle pulls in Vitrue. That is a lot of competition to “own” the marketing stack. Cory Treffilietti had a good read on this over at MediaPost.
What about Facebook in all this? They won’t own the marketing stack, but they have a big impact on SMMS adoption and use. While the SMMS platforms have provided a lot of functionality that native Facebook didn’t provide, the gap has gotten a lot closer.
Here are the things that an SMMS platform typically provides for Facebook management and thoughts on how the gap has closed in today’s Facebook world:
Global/Geo Pages: This was one of those “killer features” that made a management platform compelling to global brands. That gap was largely closed when Facebook launched Global Pages. Global Pages do many things offered by an SMMS platform, as well as some things they generally don’t. For example, with Facebook’s Global Pages, the Local versions get their own Cover Photos, Photo Albums, Events, and featured applications. The bad news? Global Pages aren’t available to every brand yet. You need spend threshold on FB media, making this a big move for many but not all.
Publishing: Getting content into the fan’s News Feed is the most important thing a brand can do. Facebook’s capabilities for post scheduling, filters, and moderation continue to improve. Native Facebook also allows you to target posts by demographics, a feature few SMMS platforms offer. On the other side, SMMS platforms have advanced filters that can be a community manger’s best friend. Most SMMS platforms will be better at publishing and moderation, but the utility gap is less than it used to be.
Page Tab Applications: The short story is that in today’s Facebook world, it is all about optimizing the News Feed. 57% of Facebook’s monthly users are on mobile – they see your content in their News Feed not on your Page or on apps. If you deliver a Page application, it should be really compelling and that usually means custom development. This is still a clear SMMS advantage, but the apps and promotions themselves are less important today as spend shifts from fan acquisition to fan engagement.
Analytics and Reporting: SMMS platforms provide varying levels of analytics. The change here is that many brands are using the platform reporting as supplemental to creating customized reporting directly off of the Facebook Insights export. Advantage goes to the platform vendors, but again the gap narrows.
We work with brands that have millions of fans and run on the native Facebook interface, and we work with several of the major SMMS platform vendors on other pages.
Here are some considerations to evaluate whether an SMMS platform is a requirement. You definitely need one if:
1. You use the SMMS platform to manage across multiple social presences – Facebook, Twitter, G+, Linkedin, etc.
2. You have local country pages but at least 50% of the content they serve is global content across all Pages (not geo-targeted).
3. You don’t have regular moderation resources, including weekends. At least for now the SMMS platform filters will keep your Page cleaner than native Facebook.
4. You manage a defined content approval process that includes multiple review and approval levels across several teams.
5. You need prebuilt templates for applications that live across all Pages, and do not plan on extensive customized apps.
If you don’t slot readily into at least a couple of the above, the choice between native and platform has become a closer call.