Making Money with Social Media

Making Money with Social Media

Do blogs and tweets help a company’s bottom line? One startup thinks it has the answer.

By Erika Jonietz
Tuesday, December 29, 2009

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?

Social costs: The Spredfast dashboard lets users track the reach and efficacy of integrated social media campaigns, including blog posts, Facebook updates, tweets, and Flickr streams.

Credit: Social Agency

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.


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