Organization Name: Hootsuite
Name of Contact if Available: Gus Fosarolli – Customer Success Manager, Hootsuite
Description of How Social Media is Used for Business Performance
I’ve been working in marketing for the past seven years. Really? Really.
A lot has changed in seven years. I remember when I graduated from college and took on my first role as a Marketing Representative for an environmental recycling company. This was an excellent time to start your career. Companies were just beginning to get on the social media bandwagon. Were we taught about social media in school at this point? No. It was a time to experiment and figure out how social media could benefit your business.
This company was not on any social media networks yet – but knew that they needed to be. One of my first projects was to develop a social media marketing plan for the organization and successfully execute it. The CEO of the company didn’t care about the details. All he wanted to know was that we were on social media and that we were successful. But what does social media success look like?
This is when I began working with the Hootsuite platform. For this blog post I had the pleasure of connecting with Gus Fosarolli, Customer Success Manager at Hootsuite.
There Was a Need in the Market
Hootsuite was founded in 2008 by Ryan Holmes when he saw an opportunity to create a better social media experience for businesses. Holmes was working for a digital agency and was looking for a way to manage multiple social media networks in one place. Holmes, along with his team, developed a platform to organize their Twitter accounts and launched BrightKit. Recognizing other companies were facing similar problems, BrightKit was well received. The dashboard continued to develop and expanded support to include Facebook and LinkedIn.
Hootsuite launched independently as Hootsuite Media, Inc. in late 2009. They immediately received $1.9 million dollars from angel investors (Leo Group LLC and Geoff Entress), Hearst Corporation and Blumberg Capital. In 2012, OMERS Ventures invested $20 million into Hootsuite driving their valuation to over $200 million. In 2013 the company raised $165 million in Series B funding and began operations overseas. Today, Hootsuite has over 10 million users in 175 countries and is the most used social relationship platform in the world.
The Changing Social Landscape
As the social landscape continued to develop, so did the needs of companies. In 2008, companies knew that they needed to be on social media but weren’t really sure how to measure success. When I first started using Hootsuite, it was so that I could schedule posts across multiple social networks. I had no clue that today I would be using Hootsuite to provide extensive reporting on our social performance and metrics. With full-time employees now dedicated to social media management and increasing time spent on these channels, companies needed to be able to provide metrics, analysis and ultimately report on the ROI of their social media operations.
“Local businesses are always looking at ways to attract customers. By setting up specific geotargeted searches, businesses can monitor customers or potential customers in their area and can quickly respond to their queries that help drive their business.” – Gus Fosarolli, Customer Success Manager at Hootsuite
More than a Social Media Platform
Hootsuite provides basic analytic reporting at all levels of account from the freemium account to Hootsuite Pro. As reporting on metrics has become more important to users and demand for more powerful reporting became clear, Hootsuite acquired uberVU (now known as uberVU via Hootsuite) in January 2014. Hootsuite combined their best-in class engagement solutions with real-time social analysis to provide actionable data from across the web and generate revenue from conversations.
This new integration enables users to track brand growth, visualize social demographics, measure sentiment metrics, identify influencers, see what content resonates, and the ability to create customized reports.
Metrics that Matter
The information above can sound a little overwhelming. How do you know what metrics matter for your organization? Hootsuite recommends focusing on the following:
- Improving Social Media Engagement
Track your mentions, retweets, favourites, likes, comments and shares across your social media network. This allows you to report on performance and determine if what your sharing is relevant to your audience.
- Increasing Customer Acquisition
Ultimately you want to direct your social media followers towards an action that results in a transaction (sale of a good, sign-up for an activity, information request, etc.). This can be measured through URL clicks and traffic to landing pages. This allows you to track your return on investment for social media activities and illustrates how your social media activities influence customer acquisition.
- Increasing Brand Awareness
Arguable the easiest and most important social media metric to track is the impact that your activities have on increasing brand awareness. This is one of the main goals for all companies using social media in their marketing mix. This can be measure through looking at follower growth rate, change in followers over time, sentiment, and reach.
“I think the main metric any business should track is conversion. Are my messages from social driving traffic and conversion on my site? Are my messages from social creating a conversation? Is there a conversation around my business or brand? Who in my local community is influencing the conversation? These are important metrics to monitor. Though they also have to align with the overall business’ strategy. Is social helping drive that strategy forward?” – Gus Fosarolli, Customer Success Manager at Hootsuite
Setting Users Up for Success
With this enhanced analytics program, Hootsuite provides users with the tools to successfully measure their social media metrics. Additionally, users can enroll in Hootsuite University to stay up to date with the latest social media trends and technology. Students in Hootsuite University obtain industry-recognized certification which identifies then as a social media expert and Hootsuite platform pro.
Lessons for Others
Having used Hootsuite for a number of years, utilizing uberVU and being enrolled in Hootsuite University – I can safely say that Hootsuite offers social media metric reporting that fits the needs of all user levels. In order to effectively use these tools, users need to:
- Have a Game Plan
As with any marketing campaign, you need to have a clear understanding of your goals and objectives. This should be mapped to all elements of your plan including social media. Many organizations fail to integrate social media into planning and use it as just another medium for communication. Social media can add tremendous value to your communications and does have ROI associated to it.
- Determine Key Reporting Metrics
As outlined above, there are a number of ways to look at the success of your social media activities but not every metric is useful for every business. Before launching into a campaign, outline the metrics that will provide you with the clearest insight into your goals and objectives.
Social media is a living and breathing landscape that is continuously evolving. You can’t just make a plan and stick to it. You need to consistently evaluate to ensure that you are effectively working towards your goals and objectives.
Gus Fosarolli ended our conversation with a final word of wisdom that I think every business using social media should keep in the back of their mind:
“Businesses still need to see that what they are doing on social is helping to drive their business strategy move forward. You need to show that alignment to have it prove successful.”
Submitted By: Alicia Bedard, University of Waterloo
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