Why Livefyre's CEO is calling for a social media management rethink

Founder of now Adobe-owned user-generated content management tool calls for not only consolidation, but a rethink of how brands manage their social business needs

Social content and media management must become less of a channel exercise and more about an organisation’s ability to publish, engage and measure social business in a unified way.

That’s the view at least of Livefyre founder and chief, Jordan Kretchmer, who was in Sydney for the recent Adobe Digital Marketing Symposium and presented on how social can be utilised through the customer lifecycle journey and across paid, owned and earned activities. Adobe acquired Livefyre in May.

While his primary focus was articulating how Adobe is pulling Livefyre’s user-generated content capabilities into its Marketing and Creative Cloud platforms, Kretchmer also argued for social media platforms to be repackaged and consolidated around customer-led activity, rather than channel delivery, in order to better serve the organisations using them.

It’s a story that isn’t just restricted to social media management. In fact, Kretchmer’s views reflect the need for modern marketers – and the tools that support them – to transcend traditional channel-based approaches in favour of content- and engagement-led orchestration.

Equally, his call for the mass proliferation of social content and management tools to not only be consolidated, but integrated with other capabilities in the marketer’s tech arsenal, is indicative of the need for these tools to be connected if brands are to ever reach the holy grail of seamless customer engagement.

During a press lunch, Kretchmer admitted Adobe’s social story has become “convoluted” as its tech capabilities have gained sophistication. In addition, he noted that much like most other technologies available to help organisations better manage and personalise customer interactions digitally, social media platforms have been historically activity specific.

To illustrate the point, Kretchmer highlighted Forrester’s current way of breaking down the social media technology landscape into four parts: Social listening, reach, depth and relationships.

“The problem is that Livefyre was named a leader in social depth last year, but every other company in that category is a company we have never competed against before,” Kretchmer said. “It’s clearly a misnomer. Something is awry, and it’s the exact same anomaly in every category.”

A key reason is the rapid rise of vendors launching and expanding their feature sets to fill the growing needs of marketers and customer service teams around content delivery, measurement and automation, he said.

“New social platforms came out, new user behaviours started emerging, so we started building more things and adopting features from other areas,” he said. “But this layout [of listening, reach, depth and relationship] no longer works.”

At the same time, brands have ended up with six or seven pieces of software to deliver on their social business, Kretchmer continued, which often don’t talk to each other or integrate with the same datasets and databases. Even in the case of Adobe’s offering, he pointed out clients need to buy three different products to cover off the majority of their social management needs.

“For example, social measurement became a thing so a bunch of companies sprung up to do that,” he said. “What other area of marketing do you buy that many marketing technology platforms? It’s crazy.

“When you look at what has to happen here, brands will buy a solution to get content on their own media sites, then another solution to engage their customers in support or CRM, and other solutions to manage them on their own sites.”

So what should the social media landscape look like? For Kretchmer, it comes down to being able to pull together social content, publishing, engagement and measurement into one place and platform.

“We need to rethink the whole thing to be channel agnostic,” he said. “I should be able to discover, create and organise content from anywhere – for example, to grab a piece of content created by my ad agency in Creative Cloud, and use that in Instagram. It should be in the same place.

“It’s a unified content story, with unified real-time access. Anytime I see a piece of content I like, I should be able to link a button and publish it anywhere because I can see all the endpoints I have access to. That could be email ads and banner campaigns, or my Facebook page.”

What that starts to enable is the idea of true campaign orchestration, Kretchmer said.

“That can only happen when you remove the channel specificity from the picture and you unify on solutions that are holistic in their ability to be deliver on each of those pillars: Content, publish, engagement and measure,” he claimed.

“That’s how we’re viewing how the social media market is progressing and how we’re thinking about approaching it with solutions that make more sense for the market and customer. It’s about simplifying things. It’s experience-led social, not social by channel.”

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