Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sequoia-Backed Hearsay Launches Social Media Platform For Corporations With Local Branches

from TechCrunch

For big brands who have local branches (i.e. Starbucks, BestBuy), managing Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages for the national brands as well as for the local shops can be a challenging process. With social media compliance, work flow, content upload options and analytics, Hearsay is launching to provide a dashboard for national businesses and their local branches to manage Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages. In conjunction with the launch, Hearsay is announcing a $3 million investment from Sequoia Capital, Michael Abbott, Steve Chen, Dave Morin, and Aaron Sittig.

Hearsay Social is optimized for “corporate/local” enterprises to allow local representatives, agents, advisors, franchisees or store managers to manage social media pages while ensuring local representatives stay in compliance with brand guidelines, and content regulations. Hearsay Social SaaS application puts compliance, work flow, content management and analytics on top of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

The central dashboard for brands features message archiving, keyword flagging and filtering, work-flow and approval capabilities. Users can also suggest tailored campaigns to local branches and reps and access analytics on Facebook, Twitter and Facebook pages by region or sub-region.

In terms of the local branch view, Hearsay Social offers branch managers to see suggested content, and a 360-degree view of Facebook fans and friends, LinkedIn connections and Twitter followers. The platform will also allows local branch users to post updates and check if their page updates (i.e. a profanity filter) are in compliance with a chain’s social media policies. The company also inked a deal with LinkedIn to collaborate on sales and marketing efforts, as well as a full integration between Hearsay Social and the LinkedIn messaging API.

Of course, there are a number of social media management platforms specifically tailored for businesses, but Hearsay Social is really targeted towards a certain type of company that needs to manage a number of franchises or branches and also has strict compliance policies. For example, social media adoption in financial services, for example, is dramatically curtailed by compliance concerns. Hearsay’s research shows that while 64% of insurance and financial professionals have adopted Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for personal use, only 21% use social media for business. Of those who said they do not plan to adopt social media for business use, more than half volunteered that company policy, compliance and security concerns prevent them from doing so.

Founded by former Google and Salesforce employee Clara Shih and former Microsoft staffer Steve Garrit, Hearsay has convinced some financial services companies already and is being rolled out to more than 30,000 users at companies including State Farm, and Farmers Insurance Group of Companies(as well as fitness chain 24 Hour Fitness).

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