When Sysomos acquired Expion a few months back, I was excited for the social media listening and management verticals. Both platforms were really good at what they were built for – Sysomos for social monitoring/listening; Expion for social management, especially from an enterprise/franchise level. I had a sneaking suspicion a marriage would produce some neat new features and products.

The first of those was announced this week as “Sysomos Expion” (mouthful, but rebranding is ‘spensive) launched something called Expert and Essentials, a version of the suite for what they call “small to mid-sized brands.”

Before we go further, it’s worth revisiting my beef with social technology companies. Most of them start out with low to no price to gather users. Then they get funded. Then their investors tell them, “Fuck the small guys. There’s no money there.” So they become enterprise solutions and the rest of the world is left to cobble together functionality.

It’s greedy and short-sighted and pisses me off, to a degree.

So when one of these animals comes out with a product for “small to mid-sized brands,” I’m both excited and skeptical. Unfortunately that skepticism is well warranted this time around.

It turns out the description of “small to mid-sized” brands, which might make one assume they’re offering something for SMBs – small- to medium-sized businesses – is expertly crafted. The use of the term “brand” however, gives Sysomos Expion an out. To be a “brand” is to have a certain level of size, budget, etc. A small business can be a single person selling t-shirts out of their garage.

The small to mid-sized business is not what they’re referring to. The cost to entry for these new features is $2,500 per month (or $30K per year). So while it certainly may be a step in the right direction – though I remember when Sysomos was $500 per month – it’s not anywhere near an SMB price range.

However, for the small to mid-sized brand (companies that are running marketing budgets ranging from about $500,000 to maybe $5MM), the offering is certainly attractive.

Here’s what this new offshoot provides for SMBs:

The Essentials level (around $2,500 per month) gives you:

  • Licenses for up to five users
  • Up to 40 social channel connections
  • Content planning, publishing and moderation tools
  • Contend discovery tools for finding content to curate and share
  • Standard analytics dashboards (not custom, but the basics)
  • Ability to track up to 10 competitors/others
  • Administrative control over what team members can do (publish, moderate, access analytics)
  • Email support

So essentially, it’s their version of a lower-tier paid version of Hootsuite.

With the second level of pricing – The Expert (around $5,000 per month), you get:

  • Everything in the essentials package with up to 10 users, 80 social connections and 20 competitors/topics
  • Group moderation functionality
  • Geo restricting to weed out the out-of-market stuff which may not be relevant
  • An asset manager to stockpile images, videos and even pre-written posts for use across channels and time
  • The ability to identify influencers and trending word or topics
  • More advanced dashboard features and analysis
  • Phone and email support

So, with the group moderation, geo restricting, asset manager and more advanced analytics you’re getting a fairly robust social management system with some level of monitoring/influencer identification.

Don’t get me wrong! For that half-a-million-dollar marketing budget and up set, this is a welcome pricing structure. The enterprise class software sets are typically hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. So the price break to get some good functionality is nice.

But what could have been a godsend for SMBs out there turned out to be some confusing descriptions that just got my hopes up.

Still, both Sysomos and Expion have been and are good software packages. The new combined brand is run and cared for by good people who have the expertise to help your business implement the tools to give you an exceptional experience and capability in monitoring, managing, publishing and measuring your social efforts.  Find more on the Sysomos Expion site.

For now, though, the SMBs savior in this space is still a vacant spot.

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