Vertical Response, known for its email marketing system that serves over 100,000 customers (many of them small businesses), just announced that it has acquired the Roost social media tool.
Roost, based in San Francisco, allows you to update your social media accounts (currently Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook) from one dashboard. There’s a built-in calendar to schedule and publish updates in advance.
While there are other tools out there that do similar functions, what’s interesting about Roost is that you can schedule social media updates like marketing campaigns. In a campaign, you can schedule updates to go out over a specified period of time — up to 40 updates over a period of 30 days. So, for instance, if you wanted to promote a special offer with a series of informational tweets and also discounts, you could set that up in Roost.
Roost also gives you some analytics about your social media impact. For instance you can measure engagement with your social media updates. You can also see where your Facebook fans are located geographically, as well as some other features. Roost announced its analytics features a few months ago.
Back in August of 2011, we did a review of Roost. At that time, Roost reported that it had a customer base of 30,000 small businesses. TJ McCue, who conducted the review for Small Business Trends, wrote what he liked about Roost, noting:
- I liked that Roost summarized my audience for me. I could see… where my fans/followers are located. Yes, I can do some of that in Facebook, but it is not easy, so I was glad to have Roost do it for me.
- On a busy day, you could pick from a list of links and Web stories that might appeal to your audience from already popular online media destinations. Roost pulls in a feed from each of the Web’s most popular sources and allows you to choose a story, and then post a comment about it (just like when you click the share or like button and comment from the Web).
The product still offers a free version, along with a premium plan that appears to target real estate businesses. As of this morning, you do not have to be a user of Vertical Response to get value from Roost. You can still use Roost as a stand alone tool.
There’s no mystery why an email marketing system provider would purchase a social media tool. For too long now, email marketing and social media marketing have been separate. But when you think about it, a company is losing out on opportunities to better understand and serve its target audience when the two activities are siloed. According to Janine Popick, CEO of Vertical Response:
“We look at social media as the perfect complement to email marketing. If you take a specific example, a small business more often than not has historically built their customer base and much of their business around a customer’s email address, which they’ve likely been emailing for quite some time. Now they’re using a new channel to communicate with some of these people who get their email offers and others who prefer to hear from the business through social channels.
With the acquisition of Roost, we’re looking to finally combine what our small businesses and non profits are doing on multiple sites under one roof. Sending email marketing campaigns, extending those campaigns to their social networks, and the ability to publish single posts or full social campaigns will make the marketing life of our customers simpler and save them time.”
Vertical Response, also headquartered in San Francisco, has been adding tools to its stable. It added an event marketing tool, and before that a survey tool.
I like the direction Vertical Response is going, but I hope that companies don’t get lazy and think they can schedule their social media and forget about it. Having a living, breathing person behind your social media is still key or you’ll just be spamming, er, broadcasting.