Tuesday, December 22, 2009

7 Enterprise-Grade Social Media Platforms:

Stay In Touch With Staff, Customers and Clients From A Single Platform

Enterprise-grade social media platforms are available on a subscription basis, you can buy the software and service, or you can use OSS platforms to create a social and professional media exchange around your business.

It’s easy, it’s fun and an AA can do it for you with today’s intuitive GUIs. Check them out.

1. KickApps

Don’t get too excited. This is a paid service, but they do offer a 30-day trial so give it a shot to see if it works for you.

You can create your own social and/or professional network, or social site. It’s easy to invite everybody on your contacts list to sign in. Keep the network open, but monitor for trolls and malcontents. You manage posts and threads.

There’s robust networking software, making it easy for members to reach and shake hands, digitally speaking. There’s also all the security features of your own social media site to block unwanted followers and other routine stuff, meaning it’s low maintenance.

It’s fast. Set up your network in 60 minutes. Really. Send automated invites, post the general rules (keep them simple) and monitor for haters.

Also includes pretty decent audio, photo and video sharing capabilities so your members can express their inner selves.

Great for small business to keep in contact with vendors and sub-contractors, and it’s a great way for family members to stay in touch. The monthly fee isn’t a budget buster AND it’s your sandbox.

2. Igloo

A powerful networking tool and ideal for NFPs who drive for increased fund raising opportunities, health care organizations eager to interact with policy holders on a one-on-one basis, government agencies use Igloo as a time saving CRM, automating responses to FAQs, easily posting news and building a true community at the local level.

Commercial ventures use Igloo to engage employees at a different level. It’s a great tool for making improvements to operations based on suggestions from the people doing the job.

Create a social or professional network and social media site. Then, invite all your friends. Leave security open and encourage posts. Monitor well. Delete spam.

3. Ramius

Ramius is a mash-up of a virtual office suite and social/professional platform. Designed more for small to mid-sized companies, Ramius delivers CMR, increased inter-team productivity through on-line collaboration, improves company morale by encouraging your team to post recommendations without fear of speaking truth in the face of authority.

This is a great, real-time data gathering tool for any growing business. Tried it with one client who sends me emails abut how great Ramius is.

4. iHype

So new, it’s still in beta but I didn’t have any problems navigating the site.

The interface divides those who land on the homepage down one of three paths: Advertisers, Results and Bloggers/Publishers, which in the web world usually means affiliate marketers, of which there are millions.

iHype claims to : Build Buzz, Generate Traffic and Improve SEO. How? By using what it calls an “Army of On-Line Publishers,” like Facebook, Plurk, Zimbio and other sites that draw from the masses, all looking for a little more web exposure.

I look at it this way. If you’re just launching, or testing a soft launch, sign up for a test run with a marketing machine like iHype and track results. How much traffic is iHype delivering and what’s your CPA?

Do the math and decide. For niche, web-based companies, iHype offers more opportunities than for companies reaching a broad-based demographic, like 16- to 24-year-olds. That’s a few billion people who are kind of blasé about anything that smacks of a sell.

5. RightNow

A very popular platform with small business owners because it does a bunch of stuff from one place. From the site’s home page:

  • Support Communities
  • Innovation Communities
  • Cloud Monitoring (off-site computing)
  • Social Experience Design
  • Integrates with RightNow Engage and RightNow CX

Definitely skewed to the business world, the Right Now suite is a GREAT tool for building a community of previous customers – the people who convert site visitors better than any copy writer ever could.

6. On-Line Innovations Communication

Is the perfect choice for web site owners on tight budgets. This is a robust, OSS social media platform that delivers a lot of features.

Using OIC, you can:

Publish blogs and on-line journals, though do remember, this is a 3rd-party blogging client, which I’ve addressed previously. Publish your audio podcasts and A/V webcasts free. Develop dynamic Twitter results for use on your blog or web site home page – only tweets related to the topicality of your site.

And of course. OIC simplifies posting chores with a selection of links you create for posting to sites by topic or group. You choose. It’s a great way to stay in touch with customers, clients and your vendors and subs. In other words, it’s also a pretty decent CMS with a social side built in. Kinda cool. And I love FREE.

7. Jive

Jive is having an impact on enterprise, customizable social media platforms, in part because Jive offers endless customization, a totally intuitive interface and, oh yeah, the basics are free – and most of us will only use the basics so go for it.

Jive is totally business-oriented, so it’s ideal for building a community of clients, customers, remote-site workers and office staff working in small and mid-sized companies.

With open social media sites like LinkedIn and Naymz, BrightKite and Ning, anyone can create a presence. The seven platforms above place social media at your fingertips – from controlling access to employees to simplifying posts to remote site employees around the world.

If you’re a small or mid-sized company, take control of social media and use it to your best advantage. While some of these services charge a subscription fee, there are no budget busters. And the OSS, enterprise-grade social media platforms do most of what you need them to do.

Take control of your in-house media exchanges. Gather input from employees. Conduct on-line collaborations easily and stay in touch with your customer base through a special site designed just for them.

Enterprise social media. Get on board today.

No comments: