In the early days of social media, businesses sought new ways to manage their online presence. Hootsuite entered the picture and has seemingly dominated the conversation ever since. But Hootsuite has been largely focused on image monitoring from the management side, so the question now is — What more can it do to increase a company’s exposure? Well, how about getting the entire company onboard?
To that end, Hootsuite has launched an employee advocacy application called Amplify to create “evangelical” employees throughout social media. A company can leverage its frontline employees–like sales people–empowering them to advocate on its behalf.
Ryan Holmes, Hootsuite chief executive, told VentureBeat that social media managers are now encountering the problem of not knowing how to get employees to share company content. The current method is through email requests (you know the ones: “Please share this blog post on Twitter/Facebook/Google+”) that don’t often have a great conversion. What’s more, employees don’t always know what’s going on with the company. Hootsuite Amplify is trying to connect the dots for everyone.
“Employees want to actively contribute to an organization’s success,” Holmes said in a statement. “Amplify makes it easy for employees to share approved content with their own social networks, empowering them to be advocates who are engaged and connected with their company.”
What Hootsuite is doing with employee advocacy isn’t exactly a new idea. It’s following in the footsteps of services like Addvocate, LinkedIn, SocialChorus, and others that have sought to tackle this issue. But Holmes remains unconcerned and said that he’s heard from CEOs asking for ways to empower their support-, sales-, and front-line employees to engage more directly with the public. He believes that the main differentiator is not only the Hootsuite brand reputation, but also Amplify’s “low-frills and very easy-to-use” concept. It’s made for regular users, not power players — if you are the latter, you would be better off with Hootsuite’s main service.
Amplify works by encouraging employees to authenticate their social media profiles with the app and then wait for notifications of content to be shared. There’s no algorithm involved in determining what content is shared — Holmes said that it’s all curated by hand. To make the employee more comfortable with the technology, Amplify doesn’t feature Hootsuite branding.
That’s it, no real fancy bells and whistles involved, just an application that helps employees figure out how to spread news about their company, whether through photos, videos, blog posts, announcements, or other media.
Holmes wants everyone to know that Amplify is an extension of the Hootsuite mission to promote businesses’ social media presence. The company has long focused on dissemination through social media channels (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+). Now, it’s all about amplification, based on the philosophy that it “takes a village” for a company to get its message across.
The expectation is that Amplify will facilitate Hootsuite’s entry into companies with up to hundreds of thousands of employees who can be recruited as online evangelists. If that’s the case, this certainly seems a good space for a company with nearly $285 million in venture capital to move into.