Social media management companies have yet to peak despite cuts: Experts

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Despite job cuts at two large social media management companies over the past few months, Hootsuite and TweetDeck won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, social media experts told B2B News Network.

B2B companies can rest easy about keeping their access to the valuable management tools that allow their teams to collaborate on social media efforts, despite layoffs at Hootsuite and Twitter late last year.

Hootsuite announced in December that it let go 20 employees in Vancouver, while Twitter (which owns TweetDeck) laid off 336 staff, totalling eight percent of its total workforce in October.

Still, these layoffs aren’t indicative that the companies – or social media – are in decline, said Martin Beck, a former social media reporter for Marketing Land and former social media editor for the Los Angeles Times. As one of the early adopters of Hootsuite and TweetDeck, Beck used both tools extensively personally and professionally.

“I don’t think we’ve seen anything that would indicate that the social media industry is contracting. As long as companies use social media, and need to streamline the process to make it more manageable, there will be demand for these management tools,” he said. “If a company has multiple social media accounts, it gives some control over something that can be a pretty unwieldy management task. Really, it’s a time saver and allows you to schedule things.

“Companies that rely on these tools can count on them for the foreseeable future.”

Like Beck, Bhupesh Shah doesn’t believe that the market for social media management platforms have peaked.

“In fact, there seem to be more and more entrants every year,” said Shah, professor in the School of Marketing and program coordinator of the Social Media Graduate Certificate Program at Seneca College.

“Hootsuite has been expanding outside of Canada,” said Shah, and he said this explains why there might be future layoffs in Vancouver. “There is a need to revisit the resources they have and the resources they need for success moving forward.”

Hootsuite has added more functionality, especially to bring in mobile marketing – like scheduling Instagram posts and integrating Hootsuite campaigns into Facebook’s page call-to-action features, he said. “This is a sign that they’re looking at the future and are aligning themselves with partners that can help their growth.”

Given that Hootsuite’s core is its social media management dashboard, Shah said he doesn’t think that any future changes will have any significant impact on current B2B users, “other than a potential attempt to make money off of the users of their free and Pro offering.

“As the user base grows, they will have greater demands on their system and technical support areas. They can invest more in this area and continue to utilize technology to provide basic support,” he said.

Twitter, on the other hand, could conceivably scale back on its development of TweetDeck, Shah predicted.

Once an independent application that worked on multiple platforms, including Android and iOS, TweetDeck used to allow Facebook integration until it was acquired by Twitter, and the move was made to focus on PC, Mac and web-based versions instead.

“Given how they handled that acquisition, and their current challenges, it is conceivable that development on TweetDeck might be reduced as they focus on Periscope, Vine or other areas of growth,” said Shah. Even so, TweetDeck likely isn’t going anywhere, but users who want to cover their bases can easily switch to another dashboard, he said.

“If businesses currently using Hootsuite or TweetDeck want to mitigate their risk or evaluate other social media dashboards, I would recommend they look at Sprout Social as well,” said Shah.

With new social media platforms making their debut – and outnumbering management platforms – Beck believes that the demand for management platforms is still there.

Of the social media management platforms themselves, there are half a dozen or more major efforts among acquisitions and consolidations, which also confirm Beck’s belief that there is a continued market for them. “The question is how much companies are willing to pay for them,” he said.

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Tracey Tong

Tracey Tong

Tracey Tong is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years in newspapers and communications. She is a former managing editor at Metro News and has contributed stories on business, politics, technology, science, healthcare and the arts to dozens of publications all over North America. The Burlington native currently makes her home in Ottawa. Find her on Twitter @TraceyTong
Tracey Tong

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