How Hootsuite practices what they preach with product development

jbondtravel    May 29, 2017

If you’re using social media, chances are you’ve heard of Hootsuite. Founded in 2008, they have quickly grown to become the worlds most widely used Social relationship platform with over 15 million users.

The dashboard interface makes easy work of social media integration. Plus, Hootsuite has a ton of blog posts with helpful tips and advice on how to make social media work for you and your company’s product development. How do they know it works? They use it themselves, and are extremely successful at it.

Hootsuite uses social media to gather data to analyze sentiment and research industry developments. They use social media listening to analyze relevant social media content, and they use  crowdsourcing and online focus groups for product development.

Did you know Hootsuite used crowdsourcing to help develop their name? They were originally known as Bright Kit until they were approached by a company with a very similar name and were asked to re-brand. They reached out to their community online and crowdsourced a new name; the name we know and love now, Hootsuite! They also used crowdsourcing to translate their dashboard. In 2010, Hootsuite used crowdsourcing to not only determine what markets they should focus on translating for, but also to implement the translations on several platforms as well.

Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, said in an interview with Mediacom: “Today, social media is constantly changing and it is crucial for us to continue developing our product to better meet the needs of our constantly expanding customer and client base. We actively listen to and engage with our users to predict changes in the industry, analyzing activity in real time so that we can stay on top of the game.”

Specifically regarding Product Research & Development, he also had this to say: “If an organization wants to know how their audience feels about a topic, for example “games”, they can set up search streams for titles, as well as competitor titles, to draw a picture of sentiment and feedback. Once an organization identifies who their key influencers are, they can reach out with questions and try to gather feedback. By using social networks as focus groups, along with involving the opinions of fans and followers, an organization can gain invaluable product feedback.”

I spoke to Alicia Taggio, Manager, Advocate Marketing at Hootsuite about how they use social media for product development. She had this to say:

“While we do use social media for research, it’s only one aspect of our product development strategy since most of our feedback comes directly from customers and existing staff members which is submitted through an internal portal. That being said, our social engagement specialist does a weekly report on what people are saying online about our product and this information gets funneled to the appropriate person or department for follow up. Ultimately, we’re big proponents of making data driven decisions. If enough customers are voicing their opinion about the need for a certain feature, it usually gets escalated in the engineer’s roadmap of things to build or examine.”

Lessons for Others

Hootsuite puts their money where their mouth is, so to speak. They don’t just preach the concept of product development and innovation through social interaction. They haven proven time and again through their own growth and success that these strategies work, and work well.

Industry: Online Service
Name of Organization Contact: Alicia Taggio, Manager, Advocate Marketing

Authored by: Julie Bond

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.