Facebook management applications Shoutlet, Vitrue release updates

As more brands turn to third-party social media management tools, companies like Shoutlet and Vitrue continue to add new features and integrate more services into their applications. Both companies released significant product updates in the past week making them worth another look for marketers who might be interested in tools for publishing, monitoring, analytics and app development.

Shoutlet
Social marketing software provider Shoutlet announced several additions to its platform today to help marketers schedule posts, launch applications and maintain customer profiles.

Many social media management tools allow companies to schedule posts for a day and time in the future, but Shoutlet’s new “Social Switchboard” feature lets marketers schedule posts to go live after a designated trigger. For example, the app could push out a new post to fans once a contest receives 500 entries or the page reaches a million Likes. Triggers can also be set to launch new Facebook tabs or deliver coupons.

With its new “Social Canvas” feature, Shoutlet lets users design page tab applications with drag-and-drop templates instead of coding. This latest version of the software also includes additional CRM functionality. “Social Profiles” gathers information on user preferences, interests and frequency of engagement based on interactions consumers had with Shoutlet applications and publicly listed information online.

Vitrue
Vitrue expanded its analytics integration and introduced new metrics to help marketers understand their audience and performance last week.

Vitrue now integrates with Adobe Omniture, Webtrends, Google Analytics and Coremetrics to show marketers how their social media efforts work across the web and where new fans are coming from. Vitrue has added a “Top Engaged Users” feature for companies to see the top 10 most active users on their Facebook pages. This is helpful for page managers to understand the audience their content is most resonating with and to let the company know who its hand-raisers are. The product also now incorporates Facebook’s new Insights, such as negative fan feedback and more metrics for individual posts.

Zendesk Brings Facebook into its Help Desk Application

Help desk software provider Zendesk has added Facebook integration to its cloud-based platform. Posts and comments to a company Facebook page now enter the system as tickets that can be routed to the appropriate customer service agent.

Most companies are still trying to determine who should be involved in managing their Facebook pages. With uses for marketing, PR and customer service among others, it can be difficult to decide who should be in charge and how different departments and agencies should work together. Several SaaS companies are looking to address these issues with social media management platforms.

Zendesk aims to streamline customer support across the web with a ticket system that allows users to keep track of customer communications and automate some aspects of the process. The application already integrates with Twitter and CRM solutions like Salesforce.com, in addition to bringing email and website feedback into a single platform.

Since being founded in 2007, Zendesk has gained more than 10,000 customers, including Adobe, MSNBC, Sony, OpenTable and Groupon.

New Facebook Platform Industry Hires: Kontagent, Nanigans, Syncapse, Vitrue and Wildfire

Facebook platform industry hires this week included several account and sales executives, some engineers and a VP of corporate strategy at Syncapse. If your company is hiring new people or making a notable promotion, please let us know. Email mail (at) insidefacebook (dot) com, and we’ll get it into next week’s post. Also, please note that information about most new hires, below, comes directly from company updates from LinkedIn.

Looking for new opportunities? Check out the Inside Network Job Board, which shows the latest openings at leading companies in the industry.

Here’s this week’s list of hires:

Kontagent

  • Jason Lee, Solutions Engineer - formerly a Product and Marketing Manager at Hooked Media Group.
  • Joey Robert, Software Developer – previously worked as a software development intern at Sauce Labs.
  • Jamie Wong, Web Developer – previously worked a similar job at The Working Group.

Nanigans

  • Brad Goldberg, Ad Operations – previously worked as an Account Director at FreeCause Inc.

Syncapse

  • Kai Ly, Controller - formerly a Senior Financial Analyst at Virgin Mobile Canada.
  • Michael Rusca, Web Developer - formerly the Director and Lead Developer at Verdant Industries Ltd.
  • Martin Suter, SVP Alliances and Corporate Strategy - formerly the founder of IPLicensing.net and VP of Business Development at BelAir Networks.

Vitrue

  • Mike Stiles, Writer/Producer – formerly a screenwriter at High Rise Productions, LLC.

Wildfire

  • Amanda Monteith, Account Executive – formerly a sales representative at Nordstrom.
  • Vincent Ng, Strategist – previously a Sales Associate at Wildfire.

Facebook Roundup: White House, Twitter, MySpace, SeeClickFix, Shoutlet, Soccer and More

White House Spokesman Not Headed to Facebook – Although there was widespread speculation that former White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs was being courted by Facebook, The New York Post reports that an interview didn’t favor him. There was also speculation that Gibbs planted the story to boost his image. [Image Via Pete Souza]

Twitter to Offer Pages Similar to Facebook – Marketing Magazine reported this week that Twitter is set to offer branded Pages similar to what Facebook offers. The idea is to allow brands a space to deliver their own content and cultivate more Twitter followers.

Sean Parker Pushed Back Against “The Social Network” – The New York Times reported this week that the first president of Facebook, Sean Parker, used a public relations firm, ID, to undermine the credibility of “The Social Network” during the Oscars race earlier this year.

MySpace SVP Joines Tagged – TechCrunch reported that MySpace’s SVP of Customer Care Tish Whitcraft left the social network to join another, Tagged, as chief customer officer this week.

Marin Software Raises $16M - Marin Software raised $16 million in Series E funding from a variety of investors this week, bringing the company’s total to $51 million. Marin Software creates search engine management software for agencies and advertisers, according to TechCrunch.

SeeClickFix Launches on Facebook Platform – SeeClickFix launched an application on the Facebook platform this week, reported TechCrunch. The service helps people flag issues for officials to tend to.

Shoutlet Updates Management Platform - Shoutlet released an update to its platform this week, Shoutlet 4.0. The new version adds CRM functionality to YouTube and Twitter, in addition to Facebook. It also includes contest functionality, HTML5 compatibility and more.

Vanity Fair’s Facebook Revolution Slideshow - Vanity Fair created a slideshow of Egyptian protesters that used Facebook widely during the recent change in leadership in that country.

Argentine Footballer Gains 7M Fans in 7 Hours – Argentine football (soccer) star Leo Messi just started his Facebook Page Wednesday; 7 hours later he had 7 million Likes, reported Mashable. The sudden growth was likely due to a Facebook merging the various unofficial Pages and community Pages users had created for the athlete before he made his own.

Collect Surveys and Facebook User Info With Techlightenment’s Social Research Platform

Techlightenment has launched a new market research tool called the Social Research Platform that lets brands distribute surveys and collect info about Facebook users and their friends who opt-in via extended permissions. Clients can either license the survey technology for placement on their Facebook Page or website, or pay per respondent. Techlightenment can guarantee up to 10,000 respondents in single day through its partnership with Adknowledge, which offers social gamers virtual currency for answering, and can acquire specific audiences via its Ads API tool Alchemy.

By using Social Research Platform brands can attain demographic, interest, and opinion data cheaper and faster than through other mediums. The research could be used to help brands decide what products to release, to determine preferences on ad creative or copy, or to market test games, film trailers, commercials or other types of media.

Mailing out paper surveys can take a long time, focus groups can be expensive, and attaining respondents to online questionnaires can be difficult. Users don’t always accurately represent themselves in manually completed surveys, either because they forget things, purposefully answer incorrectly, or only provide the minimum required info. Facebook’s interactive nature and the way its users can grant third-parties permission to access their data about their identity and behavior means the site holds enormous potential for improving quality of market research.

Social Research Platform clients can create highly customized, rich media surveys that allow users to register their opinions through various answer formats on text questions, photos, videos, audio, or even game play. When users finish, they can opt-in to giving the tool access to pull their Facebook profile information in a Facebook-compliant way. Profile info is then layered over a user’s answers, and clients can track all the data in real-time through the Social Research Platform dashboard.

This allows clients to breakdown responses to see, for example, how certain genders, age groups, people who Like a certain Page, or people with more than 500 friends answered. Learning that women over 40 who live in the Midwest have the most positive impression of a product could help a company structure its marketing plan, or seeing that none of the five prototypes for its new product are preferred to its old model by users from New York could help it avoid a failed launch.

Ankur Shah, co-founder of Techlightenment, which was recently acquired by credit and marketing services giant Experian, tells us that in many cases clients want to attain the most responses as quickly as possible. Clients with millions of Likes or a large email list can attain this volume on their own by licensing the survey product and adding it to their Pages as a tab application and embedding it on their websites. To offer high volume to less established clients, Techlightenment partner Adknowledge places the survey in the offer walls of popular social games. Respondents receive proprietary in-game currency, though not Facebook Credits, in exchange for their data.

If clients only want data about a specific demographic, such as users who went to a certain college, who live in a certain city, or who Like a certain Page, Techlightenment can target Facebook ads promoting the survey to that audience.

Shah tells us that Social Research Platform is just phase one of his company’s plans to do with its social customer relationship management technology. The tool could be repurposed to give aggregate profiles of the audiences of fan Pages, similar to what the recently released LikeAudience by the Cambridge University Psychometrics Centre offers. Brands looking for granular market insight at one tenth of the cost and many times the speed of traditional research methods should inquire with Techlightenment.

Salesforce Buys Social Media Monitor Radian6 to Bring Brand Mentions Into CRM

Industry leading social media monitoring company Radian6 has been acquired by customer relationship management, customer service, and sales enterprise cloud computing giant Salesforce. Radian6′s technology for culling brand mentions from data streams including public Facebook user status updates, Page updates and wall posts will be integrated into Salesforce’s offering.

Radian6 will continue to operate independently, and customers won’t experience any stoppage of service. The acquisition for $326 million in cash and stock will help Salesforce upsell Radian6 clients, who include Microsoft, Comcast, and Pepsi, to packages where brand mentions can be efficiently linked to customer profiles. Radian6 will be able to more rapidly iterate on its products thanks to Salesforce’s immense resources.

Radian6 taps into the Facebook Graph API, allowing it to pull any updates of users with “everyone” privacy settings, as well as mentions on Page updates and user posts to Page wall posts walls that are always public. It can also track Likes to Open Graph websites. Radian6 can’t access any user content with restricted privacy settings, or comments on Page wall posts.

Brands popular amongst more Facebook-savvy users who’ve engaged the site’s privacy controls may therefore be missing a lot of their mentions. However, when the public Facebook data is combined with monitoring of Twitter, YouTube, blogs and more , it can produce a rough aggregate impression of a brand. Radian6′s Engagement Console, released last year, allows clients to tag specific mentions and assign employees to respond.

As more of the world adopted social media, Salesforce needed access to Radian6′s data to help its clients identify potential sales targets or brewing customer service problems. In the summer of 2009, the two companies began an integration allowing social data to be transferred from to the other. Salesforce already has its own Facebook monitoring tool within its Service Cloud product, as well as the Faceconnector app for pulling personal Facebook info into CRM. Still, it seems the integration with Radian6 was so popular and core to Salesforce’s business that it decided to acquire the company.

Social media monitoring and CRM is an important of successful Facebook brand marketing, as Pages need to know what kind of content will resonate with their fans in Page updates and ads. Now brands looking for monitoring services to improve their marketing will be one step away from Salesforce’s cloud app hosting, sales, service, and communication products.

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