Context Optional Ties Together Analytics, Apps and Content Management In New Facebook Tool

Context Optional, a social marketing most known for its apps and brand fanpage management, has expanded and integrated its services with the launch of its Social Marketing Suite (SMS), the San Francisco-based company announced Monday. The Suite, a more sophisticated kind of content management system for brand presence on Facebook, offers a dashboard to access publishing, comment moderation, applications, and analytics tools.

"Brands that have taken social seriously need to find more efficient ways to stay involved in consumer conversations while keeping pages interesting and free of profanity," said Kevin Barenblat, cofounder and CEO, Context Optional.

The SMS features tools that enable the user to create and schedule Facebook posts, moderate comments and brand-page conversations for profanity and inappropriate content, build and launch a number of popular preloaded applications (and add new custom apps to the mix), as well as analyze page traffic and engagement.

The integration of analytics tools are a key part of the equation, with constant feedback creating ever more effective Facebook presences, Barenblat tells Online Media Daily.

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Many brands, even those that have made commitments to the platforms, have struggled with exactly how to approach social media. Although most agree, it is becoming an increasingly valuable part of the media mix, and the field of companies specializing in offering comprehensive management is becoming crowded with Atlanta-based Vitrue among Context Optional's notable competitors in the specialist field.

More than a dozen global brands and agencies have licensed Context Optional's Social Marketing Suite including Fortune 500 companies in the retail, technology, entertainment and financial services sectors.

A recent Forrester Research study found that 59% of online consumers are active on social networks at least one a month.

A study by Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business published last week found that Facebook fanpages could be an effective means of increasing sales and driving customer loyalty -- at least among a small subset of consumers. The results of the study, conducted over a three-month period using Houston-based chain restaurant Desert Gallery as a test subject and based on surveys of more than 1,700 respondents, found that fans made 36 percent more visits to the stores, spent 33 percent more there, and had a 41 percent greater psychological loyalty toward Desert Gallery.

"The fact that only about 5 percent of the firm's 13,000 customers became Facebook fans within three months indicates that Facebook fanpages may work best as niche marketing programs targeted to customers who regularly use Facebook," said Utpal Dholakia, associate professor of management at Rice and one of the leaders of the study.

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