In retrospect, 2009 may be viewed as the year “social media” came of age: Facebook passed 350 million active users, Oprah made Twitter mainstream, and LinkedIn introduced a service to help recruiting agencies search the site for job candidates. But using microblogs, photoblogs, user-generated content, and even traditional blogs to interact with customers takes time and money, and some companies still question whether all that effort is doing them any good. So how does a company not only measure the results of its social media efforts but also effectively manage them?
Early in December, Social Agency, a five-person startup based in Austin, TX, launched a Web-based software package called Spredfast that helps companies manage their social media campaigns. The software not only measures audience size and engagement but also allows coordinated planning and automated posting across multiple social media platforms.
Specifically, the Web-based software counts how many people view a company’s Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr updates, as well as posts managed by several popular blogging platforms, such as Moveable Type, WordPress, Blogger, Lotus Live, and Drupal. It also measures how the audience is interacting with all this content–for instance, how much they are commenting on posts, clicking on links, or retweeting updates.
The goal, says Social Agency cofounder Scott McCaskill, is to let companies see “whether all the time put into doing those things is really helping build brand or product awareness, which kinds of content are most successful, what days and even times of day result in the most traffic or new followers/friends.”
A free version allows a company to manage a single identity or “voice” across each platform. Paid versions let companies coordinate multiple users and voices, and provide a longer data history. McCaskill says the software has had the most success with units of large companies and marketing agencies.