Smart marketing these days revolves around personalized consumer engagement, especially as audiences become increasingly mobile. Creating the best engagement strategies, though, depends on being able to monitor the impact you’re already making. It can be daunting to find the right engagement monitoring platform for your unique needs, with a huge range of software available – but it’s not impossible. Here are a few considerations to help make the decision process easier.
Look for a platform within your budget.
Before browsing any product options, first decide what you can handle financially. If you’re running multiple engagement campaigns, for instance, or managing high interaction levels on a regular basis, you may want to invest in a more complex platform. For smaller businesses with just one or a few campaigns, on the other hand, or businesses just starting out, there are also plenty of basic, lower-cost (or free) options out there. Many of these, like Klout, monitor engagement across channels, which helps identify the most effective networks for you. Some social media channels also include their own free monitoring tools, like Twitter Analytics or Facebook Insights.
Look for capabilities that align with your goals.
Social media management platforms can do some amazing things, but each type of software – and each version of that software – includes its own unique set of capabilities. The best kind of engagement monitoring tool depends on exactly what you want to accomplish by using it, and how you plan to measure your progress.
- Listening. Do you need to know who’s talking where about your brand, your competitors, and your industry (including keywords)?
- Interaction. Do you need to better coordinate online responses, conversations, or customer service?
- Analytics. Are you looking for real numbers to help determine whether your engagement efforts are paying off?
- Influence. Do you need to better segment audiences who are intensely interested in and passionate about certain topics?
It’s also important to consider how much functionality you’ll need, not just the type. For instance, will multiple employees or managers need to access the software? Will any shared workspace be required? Will you be dealing with more than one engagement channel or network at the same time?
Get down to brass tacks.
Once you’ve decided what kind of software you need, it’s time to play out your options and find one with a comfortable fit. Many social engagement monitoring platforms, like Hootsuite or Social Mention, are entirely free, or offer free versions of their paid software. That makes it easy: set up a new account and try things out. Even for higher-budget platforms, though, don’t be afraid to ask about demos or trial periods. And as you test out different platforms, consider usability. Does everyone who will be using the software understand how the interface works? Are metrics and processes easy to find, customize, and interpret? What kind of training or support does the company offer?
The bottom line: there are countless options out there, but choosing the right engagement monitoring platform doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Take the time to find software that meshes smoothly with your business needs, goals, and structure, and your investment will pay off in the long run.