The new tools allow HootSuite users to take conversations “offline,” sharing something from Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere on the web to a select group of internal company personnel. They also allow quick real-time chat and promise to galvanize company employees into brand ambassadors.
One of the goals, HootSuite founder Ryan Holmes told me, was simplicity.
“Our product is now three and a half years old,” he said. “It started as a tool for our team to help manage social media, but we’ve grown a lot. We spend two to three hours a day in the tool, and when we leave it’s to jump into email … to send something we found on a social network.”
HootSuite Conversations skips the email step, keeping the discussion in a web native social tool where any results of the conversation can immediately be shared out to social networks as desired.
“As we look at where we’ve come from,” Holmes says, “Social is now spreading across the whole business. We need better tools for managing that.”
The strategy from HootSuite seems to be to concentrate all of a users’s social activity in one tool. It’s not a serious competitive threat, if any threat at all, to a true intranet or inside-social tool, although one quote in the press release from a Pepsi exec seems to indicate that organizations can use it to communicate with their employees.
However, HootSuite — even with Conversations — is not currently the kind of tool that everyone in an enterprise will ever need or have. What it does is simplify the communication for social media or marketing teams, especially if the team needs to collaborate on social media messaging before releasing tweets or status updates.
And the new functionality probably will perk up a few ears in the social enterprise space.