Sprinklr is one of a handful of social software tools providers that specializes in managing hundreds of social media accounts for enterprise, rather than departmental or small agency use. Hearst plans to use Sprinklr not just for brand accounts but to manage the accounts of editors and columnists and marketing specialists, allowing each to express a unique personality but within a larger corporate framework.
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"This gives us one platform to look across brands at what's working and what's not," said Brian Madden, executive director of social media with Hearst Digital Media, a unit of Hearst Magazines. His team oversees more than 28 websites and 14 mobile sites for brands such as Cosmopolitan, Elle, Elle Decor, Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, Marie Claire, and Seventeen, as well as digital-only sites such as Delish.com, a food site in partnership with MSN; and RealBeauty.com.
Hearst selected Sprinklr following an extensive review of the market. "There are a lot of really great companies in this space, so it was really quite difficult to choose," Madden said. One of the deciding factors in selecting Sprinkr was its ability "to manage different departments within the company," he said. "We're looking at this as one of the tools we'll be able to use across marketing, editorial, ad sales, and even consumer marketing and customer service."
Sprinklr will become Hearst's main tool for publishing social media content and gauging the reaction to that outreach, as well as listening for mentions of Hearst brands or articles in its magazines and responding when appropriate. Through integration with Adobe Omniture Web analytics, Sprinklr will help Hearst track the traffic flowing between its sites and social media sites. Sprinklr also provides a variety of social media apps and widgets, such as a StumbleUpon widget recently introduced on the Popular Mechanics website to highlight the articles most mentioned on that service.
Hearst is just starting to work with Sprinklr, so it can't offer any measures of success, but the reception to the tool has been positive among the editors and salespeople who are getting access to it first, Madden said. Hearst particularly hopes to use the tools to identify readers who are influential in social media, cultivate those contacts, and use their feedback to improve its understanding of "what the audience wants, when they want it, and in what format."
Sprinklr has done business with other publishers, but Hearst "is certainly the biggest and most exciting," VP of marketing Jeremy Epstein said. "We're super honored to have Hearst and the brands they bring with them."
Every company needs a social networking policy, but don't stifle creativity and productivity with too much formality. Also in the debut, all-digital Social Media For Grownups issue of The BrainYard: The proper tools help in setting social networking policy for your company and ensure that you'll be able to follow through. (Free with registration.)