With Facebook Pages and Twitter feeds becoming standard marketing tools for more and more brands, agencies have come under growing pressure to keep up with clients' social media demands.
To help meet that challenge, Buddy Media is extending its tools for creating, managing and tracking social campaigns on Facebook and Twitter to Madison Avenue. The company's platform promises a single source for managing brands' social media presence without the need to know FBML or any other programming language to set up and run social marketing efforts.
For Facebook, that means using the software to easily create and maintain interactive fan pages aimed at driving user interaction through a range of customizable apps for adding quizzes, polls, YouTube videos, slideshows and HTML, among other features to pages. The system also enables users to publish content directly to a page's Wall and to extend a brand's Facebook presence to other sites via Facebook Connect.
On Twitter, it allows agencies to manage multiple client accounts, track volume and frequency of click-through rates of links posted, and monitor social metrics such as sentiment, share of voice and market share. The platform will soon add functionality for MySpace and other social networks as well. Buddy Media CEO Mike Lazerow likened the platform to a "WordPress or TypePad" for brand pages. "Agencies are starting to figure out they have to do social media and this platform is specifically a social marketing platform for agencies," he said.
Lazerow added that agencies would benefit from technologies the startup has developed over the last two years to run campaigns on Facebook and other social properties for 100 clients including Anheuser Busch, FedEx and Microsoft.
In a brief demo, he showed how a basic Facebook brand page with video, a Twitter feed, HTML and a polling app could be assembled in a matter of minutes rather than hours. Already on board as charter agencies that plan to license the Buddy Media Platform are Publicis Groupe's VivaKi unit, Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, and Kirschenbaum, Bond, Senecal & Partners.
"This platform makes it fast, easy and cheap, frankly, for agencies and brands to develop, maintain and optimize a social media presence," said Jeff Flemings, senior vice resident and global head, social, at VivaKi. "Automation in this category is still lagging and hasn't caught up with what brands need."
Shiv Singh, vice president and global social media lead at Publicis' Razorfish, emphasized the importance of having a flexible system for marketing via social networks. "The Buddy Media platform allows us to really quickly change and edit a Facebook page based on the response we're getting to a particular app," he said.
In that sense, it turns pages into test beds for what marketing approaches work best in social media. And clients can share access to the system with agencies to help streamline the approval process. Lazerow said Buddy Media has another 50 apps in the pipeline for building out Facebook pages, with a mapping tool the next to be added.