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I lead product marketing at Sprinklr.com
You might want to include Sprinkl in the social influencer category as well since our audience management is fairly sophisticated.
Disclosure: I work for Sprinklr :)
This is a bittersweet post because on one hand you want to say "nahhh, Frank's just in a negative mood today", but on the other hand you _know_ he makes a good point ;)
I tend to think that we let the audience/customers vote with their e-Feet. You will always have people polluting the channels and an overall high level of me-too and/or mediocrity. It's an opportunity for those first/unique/different content/conversation producers to shine.
Seems to me (no data, just constant observation) that we are still in one-way communication (push marketing) on digital channels for most brands out there -- some have made strides but mostly on the content front (moving towards being media houses really - coke, red bull, the usual suspects).
I believe overall, "our brands" will sometimes knock it out of the park, and sometimes crash miserably. At issue to me is which of those will benefit from the highest customer tolerance? Building that tolerance shielding is important and take a long time -- few places think of that IMHO.
You are so right it's not even funny. People bitch about this stuff but keep filling the coffers of these parasite companies. One gets what one pays for. There's masochism in the air (no pun intended <g>).
This is a really fascinating report - thanks for taking the time to piece it together! Seems that customer support is often the tip of the spear in the battle for better engagement - kind of natural if you ask me :)
IMHO this is akin to asking if a CM can be hired as a consultant (not an employee) or not. I'm on the fence on that one. I think Krissy hit a note there - when I put myself in a community member's shoes, I'd be a little put off knowing a given CM is just a hired gun. On the other hand, it's probably fine to do this if the intent is to eventually take over the task internally. Then the CM consultant is just greasing the rails to independence. As long as that's clearly explained to the public, then in my book that's a-ok.
"...but can anyone honestly really claim expertise in social media right now? Really truly?"