Small businesses don't have to look too far to find social media marketing tools, many of them powerful and full-featured. But like any tool, they can prove ineffectual in the hands of a novice or non-expert.
IntellaSphere, a small business online marketing specialist, today announced the availability of its Digital Marketing Control Center, a cloud-based online marketing and multi-channel content publishing platform. The difference in this case is that the software provides automated marketing guidance to help improve the effectiveness of a small business's marketing efforts.
The company built the product to address "a broad-based problem that affects every company," IntellaSphere CEO Bruce Worrall, told Small Business Computing. That is, the "proliferation of all these various channels" competing for a small business marketer's attention, each with its own nuances and engagement models.
What works on Facebook, doesn't necessarily work for Twitter. An effective tweet looks very different from good blog post, Twitter's 140-character limit notwithstanding. Without spending untold hours researching social marketing tactics, most small business owners are at a loss on how to properly engage with prospective customers online. Frankly, a lot of businesses are "kind of flailing at it," Worrall said.
IntellaSphere consolidates the leading social networks and blog platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr, into single dashboard that displays helpful pointers. "We provide the marketing tools, tracking, and guidance," said Worrall.
IntellaSphere's Digital Marketing Control Center, a small business social media marketing platform.
The Control Center greets you with a well-organized Web-based interface that is intuitive to navigate. Admittedly, options and menu items abound, but the fledgling social media marketer is never left flailing.
Guided Social Engagement
"The North Star for us is marketing guidance, informing the client base in an automated [manner]," Worrall said of his company's approach to helping small businesses grow their customer base. That philosophy is apparent in IntellaSphere's new Digital Marketing Control Center.
After setting up a few social and blogging network accounts, IntellaSphere populates the dashboard with posts and updates. Small business marketers can then call up the built-in editor to tweet or author a Facebook or blog post directly in the software's interface.
IntellaSphere's publishing tools are handy, but the real draw is the platform's analytics and guidance modules.
In the analytics area, you can track your company's "influence, buzz, and reputation," Worrall said. During an online demonstration, he showed how small business marketers can measure the effectiveness and reach of their efforts by exploring informative graphs. They can opt for a high level view, or drill deeper into the data for more insights.
When those efforts fall short or could use a boost, IntellaSphere offers recommendations. Instead of canned, generic advice, the platform offers pointers "from experts in the social media field," Worrall assured. As small business marketers increase their use of IntellaSphere and the platform's analytics capabilities grow, its recommendations will get "better and better [and] get very prescriptive," he added.
Metrics that Matter
Businesses can also take stock of their critical engagements. Important metrics include "top performing content, widgets, mentions and retweets, and top influencers," said Worral. It also supports Google Analytics, allowing marketers to determine which content topics attract visitors and spark more engagement.
Other features include customer relationship management (CRM) integration to create target lists of influencers. Small business marketers can also tie business reviews to coupons or other offers, encouraging feedback from customers. Similarly, a companion mobile application allows small businesses to send their customers money-saving offers at the point of sale or during a service call by capturing an email or phone number.
Worral said that Digital Marketing Control Center is akin to an airplane's navigational aids, capturing vital information and helping guide small businesses safely to more fruitful customer relationships. It lets them "see the results of those actions and improve," he said.
IntellaSphere's Digital Marketing Control Center is available now. Prices start at $9.95 per month for the single-user Starter plan. Businesses can test the software with a 30-day free trial.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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