Building Community Online By Helping Others

We talk a lot here at Zen Media about how vital it is to develop meaningful relationships with your online audience, how the whole purpose of online marketing is really to create a community based on mutual support. How it’s all about giving selflessly – offering people free content that’s truly valuable, engaging them in real conversations without salesy undertones, and connecting with them in an authentic way.

Companies that understand this dynamic and incorporate it into their business strategy are getting it right.

One such company is Software Advice.

Software Advice is a company with generosity built right into their business model. Businesses who call them receive personalized, in-depth counseling as to which software would best fit their current needs – all for free.

And they’ve now come up with a new online tool that offers even more free assistance in choosing the right software for your company – the interactive Social App Map.

For those who don’t have the time for a phone conversation, the Social App Map allows them to determine which social business app fits their needs best, all in only about 60 seconds.

Software Advice’s editorial coordinator, Jamie Anderson, explained the reasoning behind this new tool’s development. “We developed the Social App Map because we noticed a larger industry issue of there being so many social business products on the market with little differentiation to help buyers understand which apps perform what. Our goal with this is to assist digital marketers, community managers and other social media professionals in identifying software that complements their social strategy.”

Their social CRM analyst, Ashley Verrill, agreed: “We decided to create this after many months of being frustrated with this market segment. While many software companies were using standard terms to categorize their systems (e.g. ‘social CRM’), the products they were selling offered completely different capabilities and aimed to accomplish different outcomes. I also spoke with software vendors that would use different terms to describe products that essentially did the same thing. What one software company would call an ‘integrated social marketing application,’ another would call ‘social media ROI tracking.’ It was…confusing. For everyone involved.”

Their new creation succeeds in its efforts to clear up the confusion. This list of 72 of the top social media business apps can be filtered according to desired features in five categories: Social Media Monitoring, Social Media Management,

Social Media Marketing/Advertising, Social CRM, and Social Communities Business Collaboration.

Each of these categories is further broken down into specific features. For example, under Social Media Monitoring, users can search for apps that provide streaming, keyword/mention filtering, analytics, social performance tracking, or any combination of the above.

Searching for software that fits your company’s needs has never been easier. Say, for instance, you are looking for an app that will provide analytics, social performance tracking, audience targeting, ad reporting, and all three features listed under Social Media Management: publishing, optimization, and engagement.

Any remaining confusion about definitions for these words can be cleared up in an instant simply by hovering over any term in the tool until a box giving a full explanation of each one appears.

Check your choices and your results are instantly revealed – the two perfect apps for you would be Expion or the Salesforce Exacttarget Marketing Cloud. Clicking on either one of those options leads you to a detailed overview of that software’s capabilities along with pricing information.

By organizing this data into a tool that uses a common lingo for each different social business app, Software Advice has made itself the go-to source for clear, concise information on all of these apps, and the ideal resource for making comparisons while searching for the right social software for your company. And in doing so, they’ve also shown their understanding of the most important principle of online marketing – building community by helping others.


She is the founder & CEO of Zen Media. She has been named the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by Forbes, Businessweek, and Inc have all recognized her as one of the Top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs in the field of marketing. Shama has built a global audience and is known for helping brands succeed in the digital age. She is a bestselling author, an international keynote speaker, and has been named one of LinkedIn’s Top 10 Voices in Marketing for four years in a row.



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