In February, Hearsay introduced social media management tools for national and global organizations, like Farmers Insurance, who want to take advantage of local contacts and their social networks while ensuring compliance with brand standards and regulations.
Hearsay's initial product allowed corporate social media managers to distribute posts that local representatives could use on their social profiles and Facebook business pages, as-is or with some personalization. Now Hearsay is doing the same thing for entire social media campaigns, which can include bundles of related posts and other social media content that come with a corporate blessing, but which local representatives can still tweak.
Hearsay CEO Clara Shih said this corporate/local model combines the best of corporate control and local personality and understanding of the market. "If I'm launching a new product next week, I can prepare for that by bundling up content that includes a Facebook tab to serve as a landing page, plus three ad campaigns that all drive traffic to that tab. I can also bundle up a couple of wall posts to drive people to that tab, so then what I have is a robust, comprehensive, and consistent campaign," Shih said.
"Now, what Farmers corporate can do is stitch together extensive campaigns to push out to local reps, and each can choose which ones they want to fund and run," Shih said. In some business structures such as franchises, the local representatives would be responsible for paying for the advertising portion of these campaigns, so it's important that they get to choose which campaigns or what elements of them to use. "Even if corporate is paying, sometimes the local manager wants to be able to go in and change things, maybe to reflect local language or culture, or a specific price."
While this model allows a measure of local autonomy, Hearsay also provides monitoring of local social media feeds to flag any posts that violate corporate policy. Hearsay is now adding a Rogue Page Finder feature that scans social media sites for unauthorized pages and profiles that appear to represent the organization, whether established by rogue employees or fans of the brand who are not employees. This scanner attempts to determine the owner of the page or profile so appropriate disciplinary or legal action can be taken, as necessary. In the process, Hearsay's software scans the pages for compliance issues and policy violations, making it easier to prioritize which ones need to be addressed first.
Hearsay is also introducing a Regional Management Console, which allows organizations to introduce a hierarchical structure for distributing and approving posts and campaigns.
The company also announced receipt of $18 million in Series B funding. New Enterprise Associates led this round of funding and NEA partner Jon Sakoda is joining the Hearsay Social board of directors. Existing investor Sequoia Capital also participated.
Shih said Sakoda's participation is significant because "he has experience selling to all the major banks and insurance companies," and regulated industries like those are one of Hearsay's major markets. In that area, Hearsay's market borders on that of compliance and archiving products like Actiance Socialite, with its capabilities for pre-approval and archiving of posts to LinkedIn.
Hearsay is more oriented toward Facebook and drives most of its marketing through its own Facebook page, although it does also support posting to LinkedIn and Twitter. But Shih said where Hearsay is really different is in its emphasis on exploiting social media, rather than taking a defensive approach to preventing problems.
"Compliance is barely enough, it's barely table stakes," Shih said. "There is so much more to making an organization successful beyond making them compliant."
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