In a sign of how fast the industry is moving, even before the final report was released, Awareness had made a major move to shift their platform and allow for a much broader range of marketing and engagement activities on their platform. This brings a lot of relevance to a strong platform for corporate marketers.
Two-Way Communication and Aggregation
The overarching change that Awareness has released is integrating engagement into the platform. Previously, Awareness focused on a traditional campaign approach to marketing. Since social media content refuses to follow the traditional marketing campaign format, it made it tough for early adopters to look at their platform. Awareness was good at broadcasting, but didn’t give you a chance to listen or have a conversation with your audience.
Now, Awareness allows two-way communication, in a traditional “inbox” style aggregated format. That means all your network updates from multiple channels come together to be managed in one place. That makes it much easier to account for a comprehensive understanding of pending conversations.
Why It’s Important:
As more SMMPs move toward an inbox-style aggregation interface, it will become increasingly important to bubble the most important or pressing conversations up to the top. Time-based aggregation does little to help marketers cope with the volume.
Look for more SMMP vendors to take on the role of curator, filter, and prioritizer. As semantic understanding gets better, and influence is tracked more accurately, SMMPs will begin to sort and prioritize messages, meaning that each time you log in to the system, you will see the most important new posts – not the newest.
Cadmus is already doing this for Twitter. Look for SMMPs to integrate this type of functionality either through partnership or acquisition. In fact, Awareness takes the first step (as others already have) by automatically tagging sentiment for new social posts.
Foursquare and WordPress Integrations
The new release of Awareness also integrates two important social platforms. The WordPress platform allows marketers to give read/write access to corporate blogs without requiring content creators to log in to yet another system. It also pulls in WordPress comments, allowing you to review blog comments easily, just as you do Tweets and Facebook Status Updates. That’s a smart UI decision.
The Foursquare integration is also significant. Despite marketers not having a clear sense of what to do with geolocation services, there is still a need to participate and experiment. Short of having a mid-5- or 6-figure budget to create a content partnership with Foursquare, Awareness has found a great integration.
Through using Foursquare’s API, Awareness allows marketers to leave “tips” at thousands of locations simultaneously – so all of your retail locations can get the same Foursquare tip, and give everyone on Foursquare a coupon or special offer.
Strategically, this is a big step forward for Foursquare. Limiting special and offers to only the Mayor does not effectively leverage the platform, but assigning employees at each location to update Foursquare individually is a recipe for disaster. It also allows marketers to swap out tips and offers as needed, to stay in line with overall campaign goals.
The Long Tail of Social Networks
One concern for all SMMPs is how many networks to support. Each integration takes real engineering resources, not just in the short term, but over the entire product lifespan. APIs change. Functionality breaks. New features become important (see Facebook’s Like button for a recent example).
Product managers at SMMPs have to thread a difficult needle right now as they make decisions about how fast to integrate the next upcoming channel. Awareness has placed a big bet that Foursquare will continue to be relevant. And, over the next 12-24 months, this seems a safe bet. Foursquare is actively finding a monetization model, and still iterating on its core product. That means it looks well-placed to stay relevant to geolocation services.
Additionally, these tacit endorsements by third-part integrators confirm that Foursquare is a service worth supporting. So, this development from Awareness actually helps Awareness shape the perception of the partners that it endorses.