HootSuite, a company best known for helping customers manage their social media accounts, today announced its new Conversations tool, a module aimed at fostering internal collaboration and getting everyone on board -- and presumably on message -- when engaging with the public over social media.
Judging by comments from HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes, Conversations is one of HootSuite's biggest moves to transition from a social media management pure-play into a social enterprise platform of its own. "Conversations is built on top of HootSuite Teams, which helps visualize the organizational structure of work groups in your business," said Holmes in a statement. "Conversations will increase efficiency between teams or departments and ultimately improve ROI."
In addition to boosting workplace communication, the company envisions that users will employ Conversations to coordinate social media efforts. "Now, true social collaboration can happen around campaigns or trending topics that impact business immediately," Holmes said.
Currently in beta and available at no cost for Free, Pro and Enterprise users, HootSuite Conversations aims to move internal discussions out of the inbox and into the real-time activity stream model popularized by Facebook, Twitter and Salesforce.com's Chatter. According to the company, all it takes is a click of the new speech bubble icon that conspicuously appears near the top of the updated HootSuite dashboard.
Building a Social User Base
How does HootSuite plan to attract users? With that old-school stand-by, email.
HootSuite users need only an email address to initiate a conversation for the first time. Existing users can jump right in, while new users will have to jump through some registration hoops to join. In a page from the social media playbook, Conversations can import Google or Yahoo contacts to boost user counts.
It's more evidence that the company is redoubling its efforts to add new users -- particularly of the enterprise variety -- into the HootSuite ecosystem. Early this month, the company announced it had snapped up rival Seesmic, a maker of social media management tools.
Hootsuite is only rolling out the welcome mat for Seesmic's business users, however. Consumer users are being encouraged to look into alternatives before support fades.