Social comes naturally to Hootsuite

“We’ve really grown up in the past few years,” said Kevin Quan, Hootsuite’s Senior Director of product marketing. “The way we enter the enterprise space is through users. It’s a very grassroots effort.”

I’d asked Quan to put the recent successes of some of Hootsuite’s enterprise clients–Monster, for example–into context for me. Like many, I became familiar with the basic Hootsuite product some years ago, as a simple tool to manage and schedule social postings, and had only gradually realized, as I reported recently, that “Hootsuite has worked hard at transforming itself into a collaborative tool for business teams.” It now boasts around 1800 enterprise accounts.

It turns out that the popularity of the free version of Hootsuite among individual users is the secret sauce which helps the platform achieve acceptance as a business tool. Competitors for the enterprise social management market typically come at the challenge “top down,” said Quan. The biggest challenge when it comes to adopting a social management platform, said Quan, isn’t dealing with the technology: it’s implementation and change management at the user level. “Because many people are using Hootsuite already, it’s more a conversation than a sale.” Companies often find that many employees are using the platform anyway. By upgrading to a business offering, they can take a unified approach to work flows, security and manageability.

What’s more, said Quan, “we’re not looking to lock customers into our own apps.” Instead, Hootsuite provides a directory of over 100 apps–some of which customers are probably using already–which can integrate with the program. “We see the world in terms of best of breed,” said Quan, offering examples like Brandwatch, a deep tool for brand monitoring, or UberVU for light social listening.

But context aside, the main reason we were speaking was to review a recent case study involving online job network Monster. In the early oughts, Monster was the go-to web resource for job listings, Quan explained, but in the face of competition had become motivated to go where millennial job hunters are now to be found: on social. A twenty year veteran of the job search space, Monster’s task was less to build brand awareness, than to rebuild positive brand sentiment and relevance–to become, as Quan put it, “top of mind” again.

Adopting Hootsuite as its engagement hub, Monster used hashtags like #JobInterview and #LoveMyJob to listen and respond to social conversations. Setting up listening streams for regional teams helped Monster stay in close contact with job searchers and build lasting relationships. It also used the Hootsuite Brandwatch extension to monitor brand mentions, not just in social channels, but across millions of digital sources such as blogs, forums, and news sites.

Results include an increase in Twitter retweets of over 260 percent, and a growth in mentions of 300 percent, between the last quarter of 2013 and 2014. Monster also reports an increase in efficiency and reach of its social team.

“The analogy I have in mind,” said Quan, “is a black and white photograph of a telephone switchboard, with operators using wires to connect calls. That’s the state of social today. Fast forward twenty years, and social becomes natural.”  Customers want help on that journey, and according to Quan, social is already natural to Hootsuite. “We put a lot into the ‘soft’ aspect of making customers social. It’s one of the reasons they choose us. It’s the space we come from.”

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