How to select the best ORM tool – this is a question that one would be faced with in a digital agency or in the role of a digital marketer in a brand. Any social media strategy is incomplete without including an ORM tool and thus it is very important you find the apt fit for you.
So, what are the key components of an ORM tool and how many are there to select from in the market?
One of the key components of an ORM tool is listening to conversations across social media platforms, online forums, news etc. Then, there are other important attributes such as analytics, response management, customer/influencer identification, workflow, alerts & notifications etc.
Here is where it gets interesting! There are quite a few tools out there who claim to be ORM tools. As long as these tools satisfy partially even one of the above attributes, its par for the course. Hence there are a range of tools starting from free to cheap to very expensive ones.
I would largely group them into 3 broad categories – a. Free, b. Cheap and c. Expensive. Each of these serves a different purpose for a different audience. Once you figure which category of tool you need to invest in, the selection list narrows considerably.
The first two categories provide with only that much data that a person can get from individual platforms such as Twitter, and Facebook. There is clearly no additional data provided, hence the cost of the platform is very low.
The data volume provided will be restricted to only select platforms and profiles thereby severely limiting the ability of comprehensive listening.
This point brings us to the first parameter and often the only parameter adopted by agencies and brands for selecting the ORM tool i.e. the volume of data and the coverage of sources / platforms.
Pitfalls of just relying on data volume will mean that the client will not consider the points that follow in this document. Also, many times, vendors will significantly show higher volumes of data by displaying junk based on keywords i.e. there is no contextual listening or intelligent listening. It is important to watch out for this and look at the relevance of the data – particularly for tools that throw up significantly large volumes of data. That’s a double edged sword!
This undoubtedly is an important measure to separate men from boys. However, this cannot be the be-all and end-all of your evaluation. The evaluation should also focus on another point – i.e. what will we do with the tool or the use-case for the team!
To cite a few examples, if response management is the key use case for the team, select a tool with following features:
ability to respond within the tool,
ability to store FAQs / std response templates in the tool
in-built workflow to drive the response process through different teams with focus on TAT
Tag posts for replied, relevant, other custom defined categories
Similarly if analytics and reporting is the key use case, select a tool with following features:
Rich out-of-the-box reports – Sentiment, volume, engagement etc
Ability to slice and dice the reports on various parameters
Ability to customize the report template and generate the same for any period
Platform reports and cross-platform reports
If the requirement is for multiple use cases, then the focus of evaluation should be on enterprise tools with focus on a.) business processes and b.) automation. The focus on these two parameters is important for any Enterprise tool because enterprises will face severe challenges in the absence of these two.
a. Business process definition helps enterprises map their processes on the tool and which in turn improves compliance and value generated in deployment of the tool. It will also help to drive efficiency on one hand and business controls on the other. The examples of business control are approval mechanisms, authorization and access controls, etc
b. Automation will determine the ROI of the tool for the enterprises. This is true because higher the automation, greater is the extent of usage of the tool by the client. If there are many manual activities, clients will quickly revert to old ways of working and shun the tool. Automation drives usage! Also, automation in enterprise terms also means seamless integration across related systems to drive single view of customer and significantly higher levels of service and response.
Define your objective and select the tool best suited for the same. ORM is no longer optional, it is the aspect that defines your brand’s personality across platforms.