Social Tools Summit Recap

Social Tools Summit Recap

As many of you may know, I attended the Social Media Tools Summit on May 12th, if not, check out my earlier blog post. I was excited to attend this event as I am a pretty big social media nerd and clients are constantly asking me about the tools that are out there and the value that they bring. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to attend, as here at 3BL Media, we know that CSR and sustainability stories are destined for social media greatness - imagine that splendor with the RIGHT tool(s) in place!

The battle of the best tool is a struggle regardless of what role you play in a company — sales, marketing, creative, project management, etc. There are always a few standouts, classics that have stood the test of time, and the new kid on the block trying to differentiate itself. Social media tools are really no different.

The only exception I might declare (I’m probably biased and exaggerating a bit here) is that there seems to be thousands of options already in the social media tools marketplace and thousands more coming to market every day. This led me to attend the inaugural Social Media Tools Summit in Boston, hosted by Brian Mahoney and Neal Schaffer. (Don't miss this tweet by @NealSchaffer.)

No matter what industry category us social media professionals find ourselves in, we share many of the same pain points regarding the tools that are meant to support us. Four of these pain points were recurring themes at the Social Tools Summit. While these gave me relief in the sense that I am not alone, it also exposed a deep frustration that the proverbial tires are spinning in the mud.  Social media is no longer new to the business world, yet it cannot seem to scale the wall into full adulthood. There were absolutely MANY more pain points shared during this all-day summit, but these four stood out:

  • APIs - The leading social networks (not to name names) are constantly yo-yoing us (and the tool developers) with their APIs (how they integrate with 3rd party tools or custom development) – including what access is available and how metrics are calculated amongst others. What’s available today could be GONE without a trace tomorrow with no sign of returning (Hint: access to LinkedIn and Facebook Groups)
  • Lack of complete functionality. Not one of these tools seems to do it all, and one claims to do it all, be skeptical. The time old saying “It’s too good to be true,” seems to hold its ground. Run away.
  • LinkedIn. What else is there to say? This was a room FULL of B2B professionals and the pure mention of LinkedIn resulted in scowled faces.
  • Budgets. Where one tool’s functionality knocks your socks off, the price tag is sobering and can be hard to get the C-suite to sign off without a trial or pilot program. This results in the painstaking task of trying to find the right combination of tools, functionality and price point.

Sound familiar? I’m sure none of these items are news to anyone working in social media. Whether you’re a Fortune 500 or a small winery, these are things are part of our shared experience as social media professionals. (The only conference that it is encouraged for attendees to NOT look at speakers: tweet by @AbbsonLive.)

What can we do? Band together and pitch a fit. As social media professionals, we have to prove ourselves day in and day out more than most others on the team. And, budgets are small. We need these tools and networks to be held accountable to the same standards that we are and help make our jobs more efficient not more difficult.  Get these networks and tools to give us what we need, want and deserve. Social media is never going to be taken seriously if this progress cannot be made.

While my brain is still digesting all of the information from the Summit, be sure to check back as I will have MANY more things to share from my day in Boston. As I mentioned earlier in this post; at 3BL Media, we know that CSR and sustainability stories are destined for social media greatness. In my posts that follow, I'll share insights into some of the top tools to help with curating content, dashboards, reporting, influencer outreach and MORE! (Great parting shot from @MJRomeriDDC.)

Interested in this event? There will be a West Coast event in the fall of 2015. Details still to come but check their website for announcements of dates and locations: You can even check out tweets from this event by following #SocialTools15