Managing information overflow from social networks can be a daunting and confusing task for even the most tech-savvy company or user. Fortunately Canadian company, Hootsuite, found a way of responding to the market demand for management of popular social networks.
Created in 2008 and based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Hootsuite is a social relationship platform that allows businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute social media strategies across networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ from one secure, web-based dashboard. Advanced functionality includes tools for audience engagement, team collaboration, geo-targeting, account security and comprehensive analytics for end-to-end measurement and reporting.
Harnessing the right business opportunity
Hootsuite was developed by Invoke Media Inc., a digital innovation and marketing company. While devising social media strategy and web development for its clients, Invoke had a pressing need to find a solution for managing multiple social media accounts. Logging into and out of networks to post messages for clients was time-consuming and inefficient. In 2008, Invoke Media Inc. approached the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) for assistance in developing its social media management solution through Hootsuite. In 2009, the company spun off of Invoke as a separate incorporated company poised for further investment and growth.
From 2008 to 2010, with financial support and advisory services from NRC-IRAP, Hootsuite designed and developed a dashboard to manage multiple social media profiles. This technology was further developed into a customized platform, which was scalable for its customers to add multiple accounts and send images to different social networks, all in one simple and streamlined process.
NRC-IRAP support also helped Hootsuite create a shortened Ow.ly URL that helps users measure and track success of social campaigns using different social analytics, including site visits and number of clicks on links. In addition, with NRC-IRAP funding, Hootsuite created mobile applications for iPhone and Blackberry and showcased its product technology to foreign investors at the 2010 Olympics for product reviews. The Vancouver company also received valuable insight from its NRC-IRAP Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA), Rizwan Kheraj, who introduced the company to many local businesses who were facing similar web marketing challenges, which proved helpful.
"We were able to bring on up to 7 talented software developers and engineers dedicated to developing our product technology in 2008, thanks in part to NRC-IRAP. As a young startup, we were facing budgetary constraints," recalls Simon Stanlake, one of the engineering leads at Hootsuite.
"NRC-IRAP's financial support and advice allowed us to accelerate R&D and our product commercialization. As a result, our staff increased their technical knowledge, and we quickly positioned ourselves as the leader in social media management. We were then able to hire more employees and push the company to even further its innovation capabilities."
NRC-IRAP has continued to support Hootsuite product development in the areas of analytics development, communications management, integrating to social networks and multi-platform support. Since its relationship began with NRC-IRAP back in 2008, Hootsuite has grown into a full-fledged social relationship platform provider.
From home-grown success to global recognition
Hootsuite is now the world's most widely used social relationship platform, with over 9 million users, in over 175 countries. Starting with only a few employees, Hootsuite now boasts over 500 global staff located in Vancouver, San Francisco, New York, Hong Kong, London, Sydney, Singapore, etc. As a certified partner of major social media giants, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, Hootsuite’s enterprise customers include 744 of the Fortune 1000, as well as Virgin, Sony Music, WWF and more.
After developing its user-friendly desktop, mobile applications, geo-location functionality, its Ow.ly out, RSS capability and follow/unfollow features, Hootsuite is geared towards becoming the most popular platform worldwide for connecting, informing and succeeding through social networks.