VerticalResponse Boosts Social Media Marketing Platform

Small businesses testing social media marketing platforms can look to two new features from VerticalResonse.

Social media marketing specialist VerticalResponse announced the augmentation of its Web-based marketing platform, Social, to include new features aimed at helping small and midsize businesses (SMBs) improve their marketing.

The features include the Coupons tool, which lets businesses generate custom coupons that can be published as a Facebook tab on their Facebook page or as a standalone Web page, and Clipper, which lets users save interesting Web pages to their VerticalResponse Social account whenever they're browsing online.

The Coupons feature allows SMBs to create, publish and manage unlimited coupons, share coupons on microblogging site Twitter directly from the dashboard and get a custom URL for the coupon Web page that can be shared anywhere. Users can also create an email marketing campaign about the promotion and include the coupon URL without having to leave the VerticalResponse dashboard.

Clipper is designed to streamline the process of finding and sharing content with social networks. Users click anytime they see something interesting on the Web that they want to share later on social media, and the "clipped" URLs are automatically added to the VerticalResponse Social content library. The links can then be recalled when creating a marketing campaign and edited to suit the company's advertising purposes.

"Small businesses know they need to be more active on social media, but finding time to share content that's engaging and drives sales is still a huge challenge," Janine Popick, VerticalResponse's CEO, said in prepared remarks. "Our new Coupons and Clipper tools help solve this problem by making it as easy as possible for small businesses to promote incentives and content, giving new and existing customers a reason to connect with them on social media."

VerticalResponse's platform lets small businesses choose from a variety of features via a single dashboard, including more than 700 free email marketing templates, social media management tools to create, schedule and publish content, and reporting to track success rates.

Companies can try out the VerticalResponse Social platform free for 30 days, and following the trial period the service costs $18 per month, although a company release noted special pricing discounts are available for existing customers and nonprofit organizations.

While the overall use of social media has risen year-over-year to 53 percent from 44 percent among small businesses (with 1 to 99 employees) and grown to 63 percent from 52 percent among midsize businesses (100 to 999 employees), the gap is widening between small and midsize businesses that are using social media in an informal, ad hoc manner and those taking a more planned, strategic approach, according to a report earlier this month from the SMB Group. According to the survey, the top reasons that drive SMBs to adopt social media continue to center on sales and marketing goals.