This post is part of the Content Q&A Series, featuring interviews with top content strategists and bloggers about their work and insights about the industry.
Hearsay Social, founded by former Microsoft executive Steve Garrity and former Salesforce.com executive Clara Shih, assists large organizations and their employees with social media strategies.
The three-year-old company announced in October a 400% customer growth during the first nine months of 2012.
The Content Strategist spoke to Amy Millard, Hearsay’s VP of marketing, about its success, why all businesses need social media strategies, and what the future holds.
Why should brands have social media strategies?
Millard: In 2012, social media is no longer optional for businesses and brands.
Those who hesitate on developing social strategies will be left behind in the coming months and years as customers increasingly turn to brands on social media.
Why do you think Hearsay is so successful?
Millard: All the excitement in the market has inspired businesses to seek help in achieving success on social media.
Hearsay Social software is architected for easy rollout to thousands of users, and the success and enthusiasm of our early adopters has helped spread the word.
We are also very focused on making our customers successful. That means not just integrating into their infrastructure but working with them continuously on strategy, campaigns, and training programs. Thanks to our early success in 2011 with customers like Farmers Insurance and 24 HourFitness, many companies continue to see us a top partner for reaching social media success.
Why should companies be creating their own content?
Millard: Whether your company sells insurance or beauty products, customers will turn to you to be a thought leader in your space. That means sharing relevant content about whatever you sell in addition to tidbits that express the culture of your brand, important elements that lead to a buyer choosing your product.
What types of employees are using your software — is it everyone or just marketers and social media experts?
Millard: Our customers deploy Hearsay Social across the entire organization. The marketing department uses our software for planning and executing on sophisticated multichannel social campaigns.
Hundreds or even thousands of salespeople (typically not social media experts) at any one organization use Hearsay Social to engage personally with their customers and prospects on social media. Compliance and legal teams also use our software to capture, monitor, and archive social communications in order to comply with federal and state regulations.
Why should brands be monitoring what people are saying about them online?
Millard: Brand monitoring serves several different purposes. From a regulatory and brand compliance perspective, it’s imperative to monitor your social properties to ensure that they’re accurately representing the brand and not breaking regulations. From a sales and marketing perspective, social listening helps the business find and better serve its customers.
Do you work on other platforms aside from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter?
Millard: We were also a launch partner for Google+ Pages and now support Foursquare as well.
What social media platforms are going to be important in 2013? Are there any rising stars?
Millard: With over a billion users, Facebook will continue to play a major role along with other major networks like LinkedIn and Twitter. We see the social networks that are visual and leverage mobile, like Pinterest, as the next wave.