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Call them champions, customers, partners, influencers.
Social media generates an ever-growing lists of contacts.
A long list of contacts is both a gift and a burden, that any good communicator possesses.
These lists have to be organized, if we want to get the most out of our relationships.
On one hand, a large network opens up more opportunities, allows you to educate yourself from more professionals, and makes you a very valuable connector.
On the other hand, managing all of those contacts can be difficult, as we all face email and conversation overload.
Through my position as the community manager for MBA@UNC, I have become familiar with BuzzStream, a contact and outreach management tool that has done wonders for helping manage my contacts around the interweb.
Here, is a little more about BuzzStream:
Contact Management to the Max
BuzzStream not only stores your contacts across the web, it allows you to document all of your interaction with them across emails, Facebook messages, Tweets, and even instagram interactions.
All of these points of communication are easy to document and displayed in a clean layout, when you’re sorting through your contacts.
Not only are you able to document your communication with each contact, you are able to sort your contacts into lists, which is very useful, especially from a media and PR aspect. I love using the lists for different projects I’m working on, as it helps me remember what each of my contacts’ main focus is, so I’m not conducting irrelevant outreach to valued members of my network.
In addition, you are able to assign contacts to certain members on your team, in case you have multiple users on the account. This, along with the communication documentation, is very important for avoiding doubling up on outreach efforts across the team.
Up until a few months ago, Buzzstream’s interface was pretty basic, especially since they cater to socially-savvy communications professionals. Their upgraded UI is much cleaner, and geared towards WordPress users (in my opinion). The contact information page is also very easy to navigate – a huge upgrade from the last version.
They also have a solid user experience, when logging in contacts from relevant sites that you may want to reach out to, in the future, with their “Buzzmarkers”, a bookmarker that allows you to pull contact data from any site/blog that you visit.
Improvements to be made
While they have a solid UI, there isn’t much guidance for navigating the site. A more distinct layout would definitely help new and trial users, to figure out the advantages and features of the platform.
I asked a colleague of mine, Sarah Fudin- who is the social media coordinator for the MAT@USC, about what she thought could be improved, and she said there should be a focus on universal search throughout the platform.
“It’s easy for tags and contacts to get lost in the shuffle across various projects. If you run an installation of Buzzstream that has both the PR and Linkbulding product, there’s limited integration between the two platforms. Ideally, if Buzzstream search could sift through notes, contacts, tags, and other aspects of entries, that would help bridge the gap between PR/building.”
All thumbs up.
While they have improvements to make (what service doesn’t?), Buzzstream is a great tool that I recommend to any individual or team that is looking for a way to organize their contacts and outreach.
I’m actually surprised more communications teams aren’t using it more often. They also have a good customer support team that is very responsive and helpful, regardless of how long a process or walkthrough might take.
This service isn’t free of course. It ranges from $20 a month, to $250 a month, for a wide range of scale and features. And while I think a “freemium” model might be a solid route for Buzzstream, their product has been well worth the investment for my team at MBA@UNC and 2tor.