Altimeter have just released a new report authored by Jeremiah Owyang looking into Social Media Management Systems:

A Social Media Management System (SMMS) is a software tool that uses business rules and approved employees and partners to manage multiple social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. This system contains features such as governance, workflow, intelligence, and integration capabilities across the enterprise. The success of these tools is dependent upon a business-led strategy, defined processes, trained staff, and ability to measure efforts.

These tools are quickly becoming indispensible to brands. Robin Grant of agency We Are Social said, “When you’ve got multiple people involved, both on the brand and agency side, you especially need a tool to manage the conversation.”

As you can tell from the quote above, we contributed to the research, and were lucky enough to have access to a preview copy of the report. Here are the key take outs...

Altimeter created five classifications of SMMS vendor:

Social Media Management Systems: Five Use Cases

And then mapped 27 vendors' capabilities against those classifications:

Social Media Management Systems: Vendor Ranking

But ultimately they conclude:

Despite claims, there is no one perfect SMMS vendor.
We see rapid growth in the market, yet no single solution stands out as able to satisfy all needs of mature buyers. Additionally, we found some over-arching market concerns, including lack of vendor differentiation. Key trends buyers should be wary of include:

A. Market over-saturated and confusing due to funding and low barriers to entry

  • Freemium business models spur uncontrolled adoption
  • Funding from investors overinflates growth
  • Commodity technology results in market look-alikes

B. Vendors lack full capabilities to satisfy enterprise-class buyers:

  • Buyers frustrated with lack of monitoring and analytics capabilities
  • Relying on APIs from third party social networks is a risk
  • Technology is not enough: Agencies fill the gap, serving brands

With which we would concur - having worked with over 10 of the vendors surveyed and also worked with many of our clients to help them select vendors, unfortunately there is no one right answer for the varying needs of different organisations.

I'd liken this market to the social media monitoring space a couple of years ago - vendors are still at an early stage of product development and the market is yet to shake itself out with no clear leaders emerging as yet.

As Altimeter recommend, and as Forrester also recommended in their report on this space last year, brands should seek the help of specialist agencies such as We Are Social to help them navigate this landscape and pick the right solution for them, which will often be a combination of two or three vendors' platforms.

For those wanting to read the full report, we're delighted to be able to share it with you below: