If you're a large organization, there are typically six critical aspects of enterprise software that you always need:
- Account Hierarchies – perhaps the most requested feature of any enterprise platform is the ability to build account hierarchies within the solution. So, a parent company can publish on behalf of a brand or franchise beneath them, access their data, assist in deploying and managing multiple accounts, and controlling access.
- Approval Processes – enterprise organizations typically have layers of approval to deal with legal, regulatory, and internal collaboration sequences. A social media update, for example, may move from an associate to a graphic designer, to a manager, to legal, back to an editor, through to a publisher. Performing these hand-offs through email or spreadsheets can get out of control
- Compliance, Security, Logs, and Backups – In highly regulated or public companies, security is paramount so platforms are typically required to undergo third-party auditing processes, and have internal archival and backups on activity within the system.
- Single Sign-On (SSO) – Companies want internal control of the applications that they log into so logging into the platform is typically managed through the IT department or their office platform.
- Access Controls – Roles and permissions are critical to enterprise software to ensure that someone can not bypass approved processes or perform actions that they are not authorized to.
- Services Level Agreements (SLA) – In a global setting, up-time is critical so agreed upon SLA are typically required to sign a contract with any enterprise platform. As well, maintenance and downtime are publicly disclosed to ensure they don't interfere with operations.
- Multi-Language Support – We live in a global economy, so the ability to support multiple languages within the platform's user interface as well as to publish in multiple languages is critical. Unfortunately, right-to-left languages are often an afterthought as platforms scale and then it's difficult to go back and re-engineer the solution.
- Multi-Time Zone – You might be surprised at how young companies don't take time zones into consideration when publishing communications. Aside from setting each user's time zone internal to the platform, can you schedule your targeted communications to the time zone of the destination target? Many companies have account-wide time zone settings rather than incorporating time zones throughout.
- Integrations – Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and productized integrations to other systems are critical for automation, data access, and real-time reporting.
- Insurance – We live in a litigious world, so the requirement that a platform has ample insurance to cover any lawsuits is also a must within enterprise software platforms. Perhaps the platform was hacked and lawsuits ensue from end customers… your provider may be liable to cover the expenses.
Enteprise Social Media Platforms
Each of the above needs to be incorporated into your social media platform if you're an enterprise company. Social Media Platforms typically have the following features:
- Process Management – The ability to trigger sequences from one group of users within the system to another is essential. Each user has their own roles and permissions that limit their capabilities. Examples:
- Your brand is mentioned online (with or without being tagged). Can the request be routed to sales if it's a prospect inquiry? To customer support if it's a client issue? To marketing if it's a media request?
- You have a campaign schedule that incorporates social publishing with defined deadlines. Does your social media platform trigger and queue work that's moving through your content team, to your graphics or video team, to your legal or managing team, through to approval and scheduling?
- Scheduling and Calendars – At the corporate and subaccount level, can you easily filter and observe your social media calendar and assign tasks?
- Social Listening and Sentiment Analysis – At the corporate and subaccount level, can you deploy social listening campaigns for people, products, and industry along with sentiment analysis? Can you immediately route requests internally to alert the appropriate team to respond? Can you report on sentiment over time to ensure you're maintaining a good relationship with your customers?
- Integrations – Can you work within a central platform to communicate, message, and publish through each social media channel and account that you're managing at the corporate or subaccount level? Can you pull data back to your customer support or customer relationship system if there are requests? Can you push sales inquiries to a system to help identify prospects and connect the dots between campaigns and sales nurturing?
- Journey Integrations – Are you able to enable omnichannel customer journey triggers and events with your contact's social media activity as a contributing element?
- Machine Learning – Utilization of AI to gain deeper insights on the overall brand, conversations online, engagement to specific messages (keywords, imagery), and likelihood for acquisition, upsell, or retention.
- Reporting and Dashboards – For all of the activity, can you create robust reports at a corporate and subaccount level that can be filtered easily, segmented, and then compared to activity across campaigns, seasons, or specific time periods?
These features are in addition to your typical social media features that enable automation, optimization, scheduling, and calendaring of your social media efforts.
Salesforce Social Studio
Salesforce Social Studio provides all the features needed for Enterprise Social Media Management, including:
- Administration – managing users and access across Salesforce products.
- Publish – the ability to schedule and publish across multiple accounts and channels.
- Engage – the ability to moderate and join conversations, then process the workflows into service or sales.
- Analyze – monitor and listen to owned accounts and gain insight across social media on keywords and sentiment.
- Artificial Intelligence – Salesforce Einstein can be used to automatically classify images by characteristics to gain deeper insights on engagement.
What's the Best Enterprise Social Media Platform?
Not all social media platforms are created with every feature you see listed above. I've always encouraged my clients to go through a sequence of steps when investing in marketing technology that often doesn't include the popularity of the platform, its awards, or its recognition by third-party firms.
- Start with Your Goals – what are you trying to achieve with the social media platform? Understand the problem, its impact on your organization, and the value that a great solution would provide. That can incorporate savings on internal automation, better decision-making with real-time data, or increased retention thanks to a better customer experience.
- Determine Your Resources – what are the internal resources (people, budget, and timeline) that you have to move to the new platform. Do you have a culture of adoption? Do you have a team that can undergo the stress of learning and moving to a new system?
- Identify Current Processes – audit your internal teams from management through to your customer-facing personnel on the social media processes that you currently have in place. Understand where the frustration is as well as the appreciation for the current platforms and processes. This will ensure that you select a solution that will improve the organization's efforts rather than hurting them. This can be made into a distinct checklist in evaluating your next social media platform.
- Evaluate Your Vendors – Compare your resources and processes to each vendor and ensure that it meets all of the existing capabilities you need. There may be some processes that require a workaround during implementation or migration… but try to identify how you'll execute each process in great detail to mitigate the risk of adoption.
- Measure the Opportunity – If you're investing in different platform, they'll typically have new features that provide an opportunity to improve your return on technology investment.
Moving your enterprise social media efforts to a new platform can be an incredibly rewarding investment in your company's digital sales and marketing efforts. Choose wisely… and don't hesitate to work with a consultant or analyst who is familiar with the industry and can help you evaluate and select your next vendor.