It’s only been about six months since I was introduced to Hearsay Social by co-founder Clara Shih, who is also the author of The Facebook Era. Hearsay is a social media platform for corporations/organizations with local branches. Hearsay Social was built to assist organizations that have local presences to be able to assist those local teams/individuals leverage the social web to engage their customers and prospects, while staying compliant with important rules and regulations.
Now the company had been around for a couple a years in stealth mode, but when they came out of it in February they did it by announcing new functionality, and new money raised. So it seems like a pattern is forming here…
Today Hearsay announced some interesting new product developments that should help their target audience more efficiently utilize social channels to engage customers. They also announced raising an additional $18 million in Series B funding, led by New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA), with partner Jon Sakoda joining the Hearsay Social Board of Directors. Added to the $3 million raised in February, Hearsay’s decision to stay in stealth mode for a couple of years building their platform is paying off in a big way.
Obviously raising $21M in six months is a good indicator of things paying off “in a big way”. But I think the less obvious but equally important way it is paying off is in the way Hearsay is able to add important functionality to the service. Today’s announcement included the ability to create and manage integrated social marketing campaigns. This allows for centralized marketing departments to package up Facebook tabs, posts, and ads into a single integrated campaign. They can than push the campaign down to the local representatives, can launch with a click of the mouse to their local audiences. And when it comes to tracking/analyzing campaign effectiveness, it can be done at the local level, or rolled up at the corporate level.
This piece, as important as it is today, will exponentially grow in level of importance as companies increase the number of campaigns, the number of individual campaign components, the number of social channels included, and the number of individuals that execute the campaigns locally. With this, from an execution standpoint, managing campaigns will be a much cleaner process, but analyzing campaigns will be done in a much timelier fashion, which should help with realtime decision making.
Another interesting feature announced is around the Rogue Page Finder. Now with Hearsay you can systematically identify social media pages that represent the company’s brand but remain outside corporate control, automating the process of find content putting the company at risk.
Along with these two functional developments, Hearsay is also adding roles-based security functionality that will allow for more control at the regional levels to deliver more relevant and localized content to field reps and branches. It also lets them roll up and analyze results by region and sub-region.
So while the news of raising $18M is what will get most of the attention (and rightfully so), Hearsay is focused on adding pieces to their service that will help their customers more fully operationalize and scale their social media marketing initiatives. Overall, I’d say they’ve had a pretty good six months.
Btw Clara was kind enough to join me for my One-on-One series over at Small Business Trends for a great conversation. Check it out to learn more about her philosophy on social business.