My twitter face is booked.

. June 26, 2017 . 0 Comments

Are you swimming in a sea of social media tools like Hootsuite, Twitter, Twaitter? So are we.

The emergent trends in social media management shift at least monthly. In the past year, start-ups have clamored to create software to manage and track social media performance. New technologies like SOS and Sendible have left some clunky sites in the dust. Allow us to rant about kids these days, explore a popular option (Sprout Social) and compare it to some of the newer, better options. 

My Twitter Face is Booked.

By Ethan Feerst
with additional reporting by Sara Jayne Crow

As a late-breaking baby boomer, I grew up with very start ‘micro’ computers before the terms PC, Apple, Intenet and eMail even existed (outside of ARPANET). Social media didn’t really emerge until I was much older, confused and stuffy. Oh you kids these days: I do admire you and your fluency in the new currency of communication. For me, Facebook is still a thing I do when I’m sitting with friends and actually speaking with them. There is also this new thing called Twitter, maybe you’ve heard of it? I tweet now and then. But for me, tweets happens when I actually dial my old fashioned rotary phone and speak to a friend voice to voice.

I still like pencils: a great technology that never crashes.

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But it is 2012 and this new thing called social media is here, ubiquitous as the smog I breathe in Los Angeles. So as not to be left behind with my horse and buggy, I recently found a way to get neck deep in the game. Media, marketing and new technologies continue their uber merge, and I find myself at the collision of all three with one of our new I.T. with IQ client projects.

The challenge? How do we handle posting and tracking across hundreds or thousands of different Facebook and Twitter accounts, all from onedesk, one master console, one platform?

Our client is a very charismatic and talented Pied Piper, to be sure, and he has created a community of individuals that are willing to share all the keys to their social media accounts. The endgame? His company builds their followers and helps to manage their content and posts. He helps build their careers. They collectively allow his company use of all their combined social channels for his messaging and branding. For the last 90 days, we have been running a beta test of this scenario with outputs to a combined 700,000 followers. It has been far from a perfect process, but absolute trial-by-fire in the new realm of Social Media Management (SMM) and related technologies.

“For the last 90 days, we have been running a beta test
of this scenario with outputs to a combined 700,000 followers. We started
in the well-known Sprout Social platform (www.sproutsocial.com).”

At first glance, Sprout seemed ideal for the task with its clean user interface and straightforward, intuitive and friendly ease-of-use. But if you’re trying to manage more than a handful of accounts, it falls short. In this case, we’re managing over 600 different Twitter and Facebook accounts. One of my most pressing challenges is that there is no way to sort, search, list, and select accounts by any basic criteria. Twitter only? Facebook only? Sort alphabetically?  Sprout is just not designed with this in mind. If you have a relative few accounts you want to handle, no more than 10 or 20—you might have a good ride in Sprout.

“Sprout’s biggest defect is sluggish performance,
the easiest and most pressing issue for them to address.”

From a reporting standpoint, Sprout also leaves me wanting more. For example, Sprout tracks new Twitter followers and new Facebook fans; and Sprout even tracks Facebook un-likes over a specific time period and across a specific group of accounts. But seeing new followers without clearly showing total followers and the correlating net gain or loss is no longer acceptable. The reports are pretty, but they dress up the story rather than letting us know the whole picture. We recently identified another wish-list feature. Consider, when there is a big jump or loss in total followers across a group, I may want to know the main source of the shift—sometimes one single account can throw off the total stats across a much larger group. The ability to chart and report changes across multiple accounts and automatically identify the top five accounts, or the five accounts with the biggest change would be more thoughtful, brilliant—and is already essential. This is a wish-list item, other platforms do not offer this specifically. But they are more programmable and customizable.

But Sprout’s biggest defect is sluggish performance, the easiest and most important feature for them to address. Even within its reporting limitations, Sprout could be much more effective—but we encounter too many stalls and bottlenecks; freezes and platform errors, as we navigate around Sprout and try to extract the information we want. Pulling even one report can take several minutes, and it’s clear that under-the-hood engineering and/or Sprout hosting is simply not nearly robust enough to keep pace.

On the other side of the SMM spectrum…

You will soon be hearing a lot more about Social Office Suite (SOS – www.SOS.me) The engineering and design of this platform is game changing and fundamental, in the realm of Intuit and Quickbooks, Microsoft and MS-Office, and yes– even Apple and the iOS.

I was recently given the opportunity to meet with David Leibner, the founder of SOS. My client and one of my colleagues were drop-jawed by the nimble and robust maneuvering that Leibner demonstrated with grace and ease. Most astonishing was his command of the entire Social Media realm within the context of fortune-1000 enterprise level Social Media needs. Leibner and his company have created an entirely new framework and vocabulary for approaching the challenges of managing your SM presence across hundreds or thousands of accounts. The engineering and design of this platform is game changing and fundamental, in the realm of Intuit and Quickbooks, Microsoft and MS-Office, and yes– even Apple and the iOS.

SOS features an intuitive layout: easy to grasp, manageable, customizable and ergonomic. Posting, tracking and developing marketing leads is straightforward. The enhanced post creator includes a standard WYSIWYG editor and allows for post queues on several different linked accounts at the same time—with photos and a URL-shortening option, which are rare for third party posting applications. Creating search columns relevant to potential future customers is an added bonus: it’s easy to track potential leads and maintain contact with them—what’s more, geo-targeting customers in organized searches is a possibility. The SOS features far surpass Sprout Social for ease of use in managing multiple accounts. And It’s a virtual pixelated wet dream for the UX Designer.

In our next post, I will review Sendible.com. The company is based out of London, and they offer a very powerful and promising SMM platform.

Category: The IT Therapist

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