If too many cooks are spoiling your broth, maybe what you really need is a better kitchen.
That’s the idea behind collaboration platform GraphEffect. A sort of social network for the marketing community, GraphEffect provides a virtual space where agencies, brands, vendors, and media buyers can work together to create social marketing campaigns.
"We’ve found that the key to social is not optimization algorithms or even A/B testing, but collaboration across stakeholders," says GraphEffect CEO James Borow. "So what we’ve done is create a collaboration layer that is totally organizationally agnostic that let’s people work together then execute in a much more coherent way."
As brands focus more of their marketing attention on social media, the number of parties demanding input—from vendors to publicists to other social networks and even lawyers—seems to increase exponentially. Thus getting a social media campaign off the ground can sometimes feel like launching a satellite, requiring an unwieldy number of email chains, instant messages, and conference calls.
While existing tools like Yammer are typically used by teams within a single organization, with GraphEffect, stakeholders from all the companies involved can participate in the creation of the campaign on a single platform, giving feedback, making changes, viewing results, and ultimately measuring performance.
"There are too many emails going back and forth," said Borow. "Too many random conversations. It’s just not efficient."
But more than just a virtual workroom, GraphEffect aims to be a campaign manager, too. Users can post Facebook content directly from GraphEffect, and then have the platform monitor its performance. If the content performs well enough—getting a set number of likes or comments, for example—GraphEffect can automatically place it as a Facebook ad.
So far, brands like Walmart, Samsung, American Express, and GE have used GraphEffect. The basic collaboration service is free, but GraphEffect charges a commission fee when clients use ones of its applications to place ads on Facebook or other platforms.
Though the platform is designed with social marketing in mind, Borow says it can be used to foster collaboration on any kind of marketing campaign. Late last month, GraphEffect opened its API to third parties, allowing any vendor to plug into its platform and potentially move it beyond social.
Of course, the idea of allowing open collaboration among all stakeholders on a campaign might frighten some creatives more than it pleases them. After all, while email chains can be tedious, it’s doubtful many creative directors would rather grant the client’s PR rep the ability to just go ahead and tweak the logo himself.
But, Barrow says the GraphEffect isn’t a totally democratic platform. "Everything is completely granted by permission," said Borow. "The PR people can only see and do certain things, the brand can only see and do certain things. If you think about the level of permissions that come with the social graph, we’re trying to do that same thing with this graph."
See a demo of the platform here.