Alternatives to Salesforce Social Studio to build a social business

Nov 17, 2023

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Salesforce announced that its popular tool, Social Studio, will be sunset in 2024. For 3,700 companies the world, this is a major development in the realm of social media management. With only 5-6 months left to spare, this article offers insights into what Social Studio is, the implications of Salesforce Social Studio‘s impending sunset, and discuss potential alternatives. Last’s we’ll share how CloudAnalysts as the top Salesforce Marketing Cloud & Service Cloud consultants with extensive expertise in social marketing and technical cloud solutions, could help you and the other 3,699 existing Salesforce Social Studio customers with selecting and migrating to alternative platforms.

If you’re not one of the 3700 but still like to know what’s going on and … become a social business:

What is Salesforce Social Studio

Salesforce Social Studio is a comprehensive social media management platform that has socially empowered thousands of businesses over the years. Previously also known as Radiant6, “Social Studio” refers to Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s social media management platform that allows businesses to listen, monitor, publish, analyse their social media presence, and then act upon it. It offers a comprehensive suite of tools and features to streamline your social media management and enhance engagement with your target audiences.

All this is broken down into 3 broad areas of work with specific tool sets:

1. Social listening

What is Social Listening, really? There is a significant difference between social listening, social monitoring, and real social insights.

  • Social listening: pro-actively tracking conversations around your industry, specific topics, and audiences at a high level.
  • Social monitoring: the same, but reactively.
  • Audience development via deep social insights: Identifying trends, nuances, sentiments, etc. and being strategic with it.

What you will find, is that most *social media platforms actually have limited capabilities in this area. Most social platforms are for social posting. (* watch for early AI adopters in this space – as this may change the balance in their favour rapidly.)

Social listening is one of many things that Social Studio could help you do. The extend of capabilities in social listening far outperformed* competition. Yes, Social Studio topics were a tat expensive to buy. And having to buy a keyword, was odd, in my opinion. But, … while most social listening services only listen to one or two platforms, Social Studio listened far and wide on the internet.

*Working on Social Studio is/was more like ‘having your own Brandwatch’, rather than ‘just like Hootsuite’. Anyone familiar with Brandwatch knows that by comparison, Social Studio would have been an inexpensive solution — despite it being far from cheap.

Social Studio’s listening capabilities have many use cases, that ranged from spying on competition to spotting new trends, and/or identifying, monitoring & collaborating with key influencers.

2. Social posting

Besides social listening, Salesforce Social Studio also the capability of managing your social content posting. A host of features ranging from content scheduling, approval and collaboration tools, plus robust post analytics capabilities.

3. Social integration

Most importantly, Salesforce Social Studio extends deep into Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud, and Service Cloud. This means, you get a social enquiry, and you can respond to it from within your Service cloud console. Nifty, right?

As such, Salesforce Social Studio enabled organisations to efficiently manage their social media presence and engage with their audience across various platforms, for marketing, sales and service. That is a lot of different use cases and matching capabilities in one platform! — Chances are: your company is not using all of these, just some. Which ones?

The upcoming sunset of Salesforce Social Studio

In a strategic move, Salesforce has announced that Marketing Cloud Social Studio will be sunset in 2024. It aligns with Salesforce’s ongoing efforts to streamline their product offerings and focus on core business functions, and as we know today that means becoming the #1 AI CRM. As specialist consultants focused on digital marketing with Salesforce, we are sad to see it go, but we understand. (read our latest Salesforce AI article: What is Salesforce Prompt Studio).

This sunset announcement was a while ago, and should really have prompted existing Salesforce Social Studio users to explore viable alternatives to fill the void left by the impending discontinuation. But we know that usually customers hang on to their beloved software for as long as possible. That’s why today, with just 1/2 a year to go, now is the time to start talking to us about it. Don’t leave it till that uncomfortable last minute.

What will replace Salesforce Social Studio

First up, existing Salesforce customers should consider using the social media capabilities in its other Salesforce clouds. These include:

But even when migrating to the use of these native Salesforce tools, many Salesforce Social Studio features will still be missed, i.e. such as social listening, social post scheduling, and deep social cloud integration.

So besides adopting these alternative capabilities within Salesforce, businesses must prepare for the sunset of Salesforce Social Studio’s other features. i.e. They need to select a suitable replacement that offer comparable functionality, or at least all the functionality that you are using today, in Salesforce Social Studio.

Other Salesforce social studio alternatives

When we are looking for software alternatives external to Salesforce, we are really looking for 3 types of capabilities:

Content Post Scheduling with Approval Processes and Collaboration. Most smaller social packages have capabilities in post scheduling. And if you want to get the premium editions, then you can get collaboration too. I’m not too worried about replacing this feature.

Social Listening. How advances are the features; how reliable is the sentiment analysis; what can be configured with ease; what do yo have to pay for -extra. Etc. As mentioned before, huge variances between different vendors. What are your needs? What’s your budget?

Salesforce integration, for social marketing, social sales and social service. Today, in this respect, the only platform that seems comparable with Salesforce Social Studio in this realm would be Sprout Social. With its Sprout Social Salesforce connector, it integrates across Service Cloud, Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Tableau, and Slack today. And there’s more integration to come.

1. SproutSocial

What is Sprout Social? A comprehensive social media management solution

One prominent alternative to Salesforce Social Studio, appears to be the Sprout Social Salesforce Connector* and platform. (*The SproutSocial Salesforce integration is available for all SproutSocial plans.)

What Will Replace Salesforce Social Studio? sproutsocial and other salesforce social studio alternatives

What is Sprout Social? It’s a powerful all-in-one social media management tool that empowers businesses to streamline their social media presence across multiple platforms. In their words: “With features including content scheduling, social listening, analytics, collaboration tools, and robust customer support, Sprout Social enables organisations to effectively manage their social media strategy, engage with their audience, and measure social media performance. “

To continue to serve its existing clients, the Spout Social – Salesforce team has built a connector, for easy migration. The focus of this connector appears to be strongly focused on creating social customer service cases from social incoming messages via Sprout Social pushing these into Salesforce Service Cloud. An important use case that could complement Salesforce service cloud’s own Omni-channel & Digital Engagement toolsets.

Good, expensive and perhaps not suitable for every business?

2. SproutSocial vs its alternatives for social listening & posting

Overall Sprout Social sounds great, but it’s (much) more expensive than other social listening / social posting alternatives. Therefore, it’s essential to explore other options and compare them to identify the best fit for your individual business needs. Each platform has its unique strengths and weaknesses, making it crucial for businesses to assess their specific requirements before making a decision.

2. Other alternative social platforms to Salesforce Social Studio

Sprout Social emerges as a strong contender for industry leading solution seekers, if social listening and social customer service are important. HootSuite is another notable alternative that offers a wide range of features, including content scheduling, team collaboration, analytics, and integrations with popular marketing tools.

I consider HootSuite more for SME, albeit that the team solution (I once tried to get it for one of our corporate clients) was surprisingly pricey. As a hobbyist, I have used HootSuite for over a decade for something like £7/month. Then, one day, they decided to 10-fold their pricing. And without really telling me, started taking 10x as much as out of our credit card. Mmmm… I did not like this business practice.

But, not too worry: there are many other alternatives for social posting. Among these are Buffer, even HubSpot social, Zoho Social, PlanAble, CoSchedule, AgoraPulse, Tailwind, Mention, and others. Each of these software platforms offer their own unique features and focus. E.g. Tailwind focus is on visual media, such as Pinterest.

Today, 2023, some social media platform have quite good scheduling features on the platforms themselves, for free. E.g. Meta/Facebook’s Business Suite for posting on Facebook and Instagram has a similar features to HootSuite and others.

(To give you a completely different take: For one of my hobby sites, I have over 4.2million monthly views and 100,000 followers on Pinterest today. I built this audience up by being active on the Pinterest social platform itself. No expensive social media management software used. It is a matter of knowing what to do, marketing-wise.)

To get the best alternative to Salesforce social studio, which one to choose?

Which platform is best for your business? It really depends on your particular use cases and your budget. What we do as consultants is working with you to understand the following:

Business situation

  • Your industry (some social platforms are better suited to some vs. others)
  • B2B, B2C or both
  • Target audiences for your business (where are they?)
  • Strategic market challenges and competitive intensity
  • staffing, workflows, budget, and more.

Social media platform – business functions, use cases and goals

  • Marketing (brand management, Influencer marketing, raising product awareness, competitor analysis, industry benchmarking, event enquiry management)
  • Sales (raising product awareness, sales enquiries, etc)
  • Service (social help desk)
  • HR & more (managing public HR company culture, attracting new talent, sharing social corporate responsibility and charity initiatives).

Existing tech stack and configuration

Of course, before suggesting you to purchase new software, we will have a look at what you already have in your tech stack that could help build the solutions you are after. Changes are, you might have more software than you thought you had, particularly if you already have Salesforce.

Then, we’ll support you with developing a solution that’s best for your business going forward.

  • After having worked through the analytical phase, we’ll guide you towards the solution that befits, and we’ll configure them for you in Salesforce and Sprout Social /other package that’s best for you.
  • After providing the one-of new configuration & integrations services, we also be happy to set up & maintain your Social Listening queries, Analytics and other ongoing services you may need.
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CloudAnalysts as your SFMC social studio migration specialist

When it comes to migrating existing Salesforce Marketing Cloud Social Studio customers to Sprout Social or alternative solutions, CloudAnalysts stands out as the leading marketing technology consulting firm.

With decades of hands-on experience in social marketing and deep expertise in Salesforce’s marketing cloud, CloudAnalysts is well-equipped to guide businesses like yours through the migration process. Their technical marketing cloud expertise and comprehensive implementation support ensure a seamless transition and maximise the benefits of the chosen platform.

To ensure a successful migration and implementation, partnering with a trusted marketing technology consultant like CloudAnalysts can provide invaluable expertise and guidance. CloudAnalysts, as top Salesforce marketing consultants, has decades of hands-on experience in social marketing and a deep understanding of Salesforce’s marketing cloud solutions.

A Strategic Approach

  • With their comprehensive implementation support, businesses can seamlessly transition to the chosen platform while maximising the benefits of their social media management strategy.

A Smooth Migration

  • CloudAnalysts’ approach is tailored to each client’s unique needs and goals. We provide personalised guidance throughout the migration process, ensuring a smooth transition without disruption to the business’s social media operations. Their vast experience in social marketing equips them with the insights and best practices to optimise social media strategies, improve engagement, and achieve measurable results.

Advisors You Can Trust

  • Moreover, CloudAnalysts understands the importance of staying ahead of the evolving digital landscape. We stay up-to-date with the latest social media trends, emerging platforms, and industry best practices, enabling us to offer cutting-edge solutions and guidance to our clients.

Your Partner in Salesforce & Marketing

  • By partnering with CloudAnalysts, businesses can leverage their expertise and benefit from a seamless migration to Sprout Social or alternative solutions. The combination of our marketing technology consulting experience, deep knowledge of Salesforce’s marketing cloud, and proficiency in social media marketing ensures that our clients receive comprehensive support and achieve their desired outcomes.

5/5 CSAT

  • Don’t just take our word for it. We come highly recommended. Based on our 5/5 CSAT score by existing customers, to ensure you successful migrate platforms and optimise social media strategies, partner with CloudAnalysts. Our decades of hands-on experience in social marketing and technical marketing cloud expertise make us the trusted advisors businesses can rely on for a seamless transition and continued success in the ever-evolving world of social media management.

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