As the business of social media continues to grow, social media tools – and the marketers who use them – are expanding their reach into nearly every social media network they can find. Thursday, HootSuite, one of the better-known social media management tools, added four additional social media networks to its library of social media channels.
Social Media Arms Race
The addition of the new networks gives HootSuite more ammunition in its ongoing battle with similar platforms like TweetDeck and Seesmic. But for Mark Holder, HootSuite’s director of integration programs, it’s not about some sort of arms race for social media channels, which he calls “apps.”
“I wouldn’t say that it’s about who has the most apps,” Holder told me. “Of course you need to have the core important apps in there — Twitter, Facebook and the like – but for us, it’s about helping our users better engage with social media for their business.”
Social Media Marketing Is Big Business
Social media marketing is no longer a trivial business. HootSuite has a reported 4+ million users who monitor and contribute to multiple social media services. Inbound marketing, which is the business-friendly term for using social media as a marketing tool, has become a standard element of almost all business marketing plans.
Inbound marketing is no small potatoes, either. Some experts recommend that every business should allot some $115,000 to $200,000 annually just to social media management. With all of that money floating around, it’s little wonder that software vendors are fighting to dominate this market.
One Network Still Missing
This business focus might be a reason why there’s one particularly noticeable absence from the HootSuite collection of apps: Google Plus. Although HootSuite has been integrated with Google Plus Pages since last November, users still don’t have the capability to manage general Google Plus accounts from HootSuite.
It’s a line of thought that Holder doesn’t agree with, insisting that Google Plus is on the HootSuite map.
“We’re currently working with their teams to intregrate Google Plus,” Holder said. “We just can’t provide a certain date.”
Where Will the Marketers Head Next?
If anything, the decision to include Google Plus Pages before standard Google Plus accounts makes sense, since it is businesses and power social media mavens who typically use Pages within Google’s social platform. It confirms that HootSuite’s focus, and indeed the focus of many social media software firms, is right where the money is.
If that’s the case, then look out for more marketing efforts on Instagram, SlideShare and the rest of the apps in HootSuite’s collection. If HootSuite is reading the social media tea leaves right, those services are where the inbound marketers are heading next.