GroSocial personalizes social media platforms

GroSocial provides social media marketing software for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Specifications 
GroSocial provides social media marketing software for small- and medium-sized businesses. It includes tools to create custom Facebook apps, Facebook timeline covers, Twitter backgrounds, contests, promotions tools, and analytics. 

Cost
Starts at $19.95 per month. A 30-day free trial is available.

Ownership
Privately held.

User
Kendyl Yorba, marketing coordinator at Stance Socks, has been using GroSocial for about six months.

How do you use it? 
I log onto the website and it takes you to a pretty cool dashboard where you can use a blank canvas or one of GroSocial's templates to create a tab for your Facebook page. You can use it to create tabs for contests, tabs to capture emails via newsletter sign-ups, or for any kind of custom tab. If you use the blank canvas, you can design the tab exactly the way you want to design it. 

We only use the blank canvas because we like our page to look a certain way. You can add any text you need. It's got a layers aspect that's similar to Photoshop –you can add photos and text and lay it out any way you want. You can make the tab more interactive by adding things like text fields, a Facebook like button, or a tweet button. It's totally customizable within Facebook's limitations of how wide you can make it.

If there's a problem I use the live chat option. There's usually someone there, and so far they've been super helpful. They can pull your information up automatically and see the tabs you've having issues with. Any problem we've had has always been resolved. 

How does it serve your business needs? 
Our company allows us to do a lot of giveaways, contests, and promotions. We use GroSocial mainly as a tool for this. It's awesome for promoting contests and for virally spreading the word of contests because our audience wants to share. We've also seen an increase in overall likes since we've been using GroSocial because viewers have to like our Facebook page to see content in all of our tabs.  

Right now we are running a promotion in collaboration with Baker Boys Distribution and pro skateboarder Andrew Reynolds. We are giving away a skateboard deck, a hat, sunglasses, and our socks. It was easy for me to add that tab for people to enter their name and email address, and then they're automatically eligible to win. They can click to share it to their Facebook wall, and they get additional entries for doing that. This kind of promotion drives up our fan base and helps us capture more names and emails. Within one week, we've received 300 or 400 new likes mainly because of this contest, and all I had to do was create the tab and click submit. 

We have an ongoing tab called “Stoked on Stickers,” which has also driven a good increase in likes. Kids want stickers, so they click it and then they have to like our Facebook page to find out how to get stickers. 

There are also analytics for each tab so you can see how many people have viewed it, liked it, and shared it.

How does it integrate with your existing infrastructure from and IT standpoint?
It's Web-based.

What are the main benefits?
It's really easy and clean – it's just a matter of clicking buttons, dragging, and uploading photos.

One thing I didn't like about other companies was their dashboards were confusing and didn't have a lot of options for customizing. GroSocial has a million templates and fonts. We're very particular about the look of our brand, and if GroSocial doesn't have a font I want, I just upload a picture of text in the font I want and use it that way. So basically there are unlimited options. You can literally do whatever you want as far as the look goes.

It's not that expensive either.

What are the main drawbacks?
To publish a tab, I have to create an application in Facebook – I think this is a Facebook guidelines issue, not a GroSocial issue, and the firm is really good about helping you meet Facebook guidelines.

What would you like to see improved / added?
I'd like to see more buttons and widgets added for tabs. Our Facebook audience can easily share on Facebook and tweet, but if someone who interacts with one of our tabs wants to share on Pinterest – it would be great to have a “Pin it” button to make it that easy. 

Analytics are very basic. I would them to be deeper, such as female versus male percentages and age groups. It's not a make or break point, but it would be nice.

Competitors
North Social (owned by Vocus): offers Facebook apps for sweepstakes, coupons, contests, promotions, videos, viral downloads, and more.

Wildfire (recently acquired by Google): provides social media marketing platform that includes and ad software, mobile and desktop page management, messaging, and real-time analytics in one platform.

Votigo: provides a social marketing suite that includes promotions, publisher, community management, applications, social CRM, and analytics.

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