HootSuite Interview with Andrew Anderson of www.21to21.com

This is an interview that I just did with Dave Olson over at HootSuite which is one of the best tools you can use for Social Media and your business.

They just released a team collaboration tool to manage a Businesses Social Media that frankly, just totally rocks and you need to get it.  I allows you to have several people use your Social Media and collaborate while limiting permissions.

Below the interview, I have  a video showing you what it can do.

If you are using not using this great Social Media tool (and it is free) and your competition is, at least you will now know why you are losing your customers to the them!  🙂  I am sure the blog will get hammered so be patient while the audio loads!


You can download the interview here in MP3 format.

Below is a raw transcript of the interview.  I wanted to get this posted ASAP.   HootSuite really gets it unlike so many companies out there.  Keep an eye on them for sure and go get HootSuite for criminy sakes.  Here is a link,  HootSuite.

Hope you enjoy this!


Interview of Dave Olson with HootSuite by Andrew Anderson.

AA is for Andrew and DO is for Dave of course.

A.A: I’ve got Dave with HootSuite on the line here, and of course this is Andrew Andersen. Dave, you want to introduce yourself and let everybody know who you are and what you do?

D.O: Yup. My name’s Dave Olson, and I work for HootSuite as the community director. I oversee all the marketing and support related task as well as spend a lot of time out just spreading the message to our passionate user-base.

A.A: I happen to be one of those passionate users, which is why we’re having this conversation today. I’ve noticed that you’ve got a really cool product that is honing in on businesses, which really need to use Twitter, and I’m just gonna kinda let you go off on your riff and tell us about HootSuite, and tell us why you think Twitter is good, and go for it.

D.O: What HootSuite tries to excel in is using Twitter and other social media platforms within groups – It’s all about the teams for us. And really, from the very first iteration, HootSuite was built to solve the problem of how do you manage multiple Twitter accounts with multiple editors. It kinda came out of that agency background. But as we built this product, we’ve listened to users and really saw where the future trends are leading, which is more social networks – people don’t just hang out on one. It’s not either or with Facebook and Twitter, it’s both in most cases, especially so in marketing. But now we’ve taken it a step further to create a context of owner and team members. Which allow groups to control their different social networks at a very granular level where they can have owners, advanced team members, and basic team members – they can all be created ad hoc so you can create a group around a topic, a project, a client account. All without revealing confidential password information which is really great especially considering the transitory nature of a lot of work environments where you might have interns or people moving on, people changing jobs, changing departments, and so on.

A.A: Right. And the value of that account is becoming higher and higher as more people depend on it too.

D.O: Oh, absolutely. We find, by listening to what people are talking about out there – and I spend a lot of time on the road talking to agencies and enterprises, and consultants and so on – they really think of HootSuite as a destination. This is their dashboard that they open up first thing in the day, even before their email, to listen to the pulse of what people are saying about their pertinent brand names out there. It’s tremendously important, and I would say, to businesses who aren’t using Twitter yet, even more so that talking to the people, it’s even more important to be listening to what people are talking about right now about. They’re talking about your brand even if you’re not listening. If you’re not involved in the conversation, you’re not getting in front of potential PR disasters, and you’re not out there prospecting and gaining more customers by being out there, listening to the people, and responding and reacting to their comments. [00:02:58] your own company, but certainly your competitors as well

A.A: And it can if you’re out in front of it, and I just wanna give a real brief example: I had made a Twitter comment, I’d used a product that I wasn’t happy with. They’re well known, I don’t wanna mention them in here. I made a Tweet about it, and I wasn’t being mean about it, I’ve learned never to do that because I have problems too, and I don’t know any company that has these issues but they had seen the Tweet, I had the CEO and their VP of marketing get a hold of me within 15 or 20 minutes of that and take care of the problem. I was amazed. And I’m not sure if that could have happened without Twitter and everything else

D.O: No certainly not, and I think where Twitter is really powerful is in its limitations. The whole ‘It has to be a short message’ allows you to digest these little dim sum sized morsels really quickly and respond and react to them. When sending an email, which just gets lost in the shuffle and people write an email and there’ll be 6 different topics in there – so it’s like “Oh geeze, I can’t respond to all of this”. But if you can fit something into 140 characters, usually it can be answered in a fairly straightforward manner. So it kinda creates this back channel into the offices all around the world of these people who [00:04:15] are very difficult to get a hold of.

A.A: Right. You’ve nailed it ‘round the head. What happens is it’s the ultimate in direct marketing. You have to be very precise, as you said, to get your message out there so that it’s understandable.

D.O: Yeah, and I think direct marketing sometimes has this connotation that it’s very indirect, it’s kind of spreading the message too far and wide. Now with Twitter by setting up a listening column and HootSuite for example, where you can listen for everyone talking about llama feed because you’re in the llama feed business, And every time you see someone saying ‘I have to go feed my llama’, or something to that effect, you can be chiming into them saying “Hey, I’m interested in your llama’s too. [00:04:56]. How many do you have?” When it comes time for feed, they’re more likely to contact you. Although I don’t know what the shipping cost is for llama feed across the country, so I should probably come up with a better example – maybe fly fishing.

A.A: It doesn’t matter what it is though. It doesn’t have to be a world away. That conversation could be taking place right in your community, and you would never know about it without twitter.

D.O: Yeah, absolutely. People do forget about the power of – and you see this a lot with tweetups and such where it’s local people. People that might be working just down the street from each other, or hanging out at the same coffee shop, all of a sudden are able to build relationships because they have this Twitter tool, this social media tool sort of bridging that divide of awkwardness that sometimes is between we human beings.

A.A: Yeah, absolutely. It’s obviously added a few zero’s to your guy’s bottom line. It can do that for anyone else too. I know it has in mine, in my consulting business, and everything else that I do. It’s absolutely added a complete zero to our profit this year.

D.O: Bear in mind too that HootSuite is a free tool. While there’s a premium version of the mobile versions for both Android and iPhone at $299. There’s also free versions for Android, iPhones, there’s the web version which is free, enjoy it. And there’s also three flavors of standalone applications that a lot of people don’t realize. People that are accustomed to using a standalone Twitter or social media tool, and they prefer that rather than running it in the web. There’s some versions that you can run it as a standalone application too, and at this point there’s no cost for any of those.

A.A: And $2.99, you don’t mean $299, right?

D.O: No, no. Although if you do want to pay $299, we’ll make sure that we spend the money to feed the developers tasty beverages on a Friday.

A.A: Ok. You’re talking about 2 dollars and 99 cents.

D.O: That’s correct.

A.A: Ok. Just wanted to make that clear for everyone else. What’s amazing Dave is, and we had this in our brief, previous conversation – I don’t know what your numbers are as far as penetration of people actually using Twitter for their businesses. But in my own experience in dealing with clients, I would say it’s really less than 3-4%, if that high, are really using it to their full advantage. It’s kind of amazing.

D.O: Yeah well a lot of companies get on and they don’t think of it holistically involved in their whole marketing and outreach in public media relations strategy. They think of social media as the red headed stepchild that’s sort of stuck in the corner. Sometimes within companies, they sort of randomly assign someone to manage this stuff. But really, this is just another tool in your marketing tool kit and once people start understanding the power of listening and talking in almost real time. It gets over that ‘Oh this is just a fad’ phase real quick if they do it right. The problem is a lot of people sign up for an account, they’re just using Twitter Web and they’re spending their time thinking about what to write rather than how to listen. When they do write, it’s talking about something like – maybe sending out a coupon offer, and they’re talking about themselves, when really you have to be out there building relationships which means talking about what other people are interested in. It’s not about being transparent; it’s about being translucent and sharing the interesting bits about you and your company.

A.A: Very well put. You guys definitely have a handle on it. It’s a powerful medium and I think that if a lot of companies would spend half the money that they spend on PR and advertising, and put in a social media like Twitter and everything else, they would get 10x return they’re getting now.

D.O: [00:08:46] return with spending 10% of the money. When I talk to people who are heavily invested in this kind of traditional advertising forms. I’m like how many people converted because of that billboard ad, or how many people converted because of that radio ad? And those numbers are really hard to quantify, whereas using Twitter and using HootSuite specifically with our onboard statistics, you can see immediately what Twitters generated clicks, how many clicks there where, where the people came from, and kind of the long tail of that – well there was a whole bunch here in the first couple hours, but look at that, it kept on going for another week. How many people re-tweeted that message – it’s real easy to find out. You can very quickly and efficiently generate metrics to justify the success and adjust your campaigns to fine tune them based on what you find is really working and what your audience is responding to. With a billboard once it’s up there, you can’t go in the next day and say “what we meant to do is”- you can’t do that.

A.A: Absolutely. As you said, you can track the links. If you set up your link to specifically deal with those people that were coming in from Twitter and the other social media, you can further leverage that as well and measure it. It just takes a little bit of common sense to get that put together.

D.O: Yeah, and if there’s some analytic stat geeks listening out there, they probably have discovered our custom URL parameters. It’s one of those features that we added, that we’re really excited about. This maybe 2-5% of our total user base understands or cares what this is. But this allows you to attach a whole bunch of information to your shortened URL that will tell you specifically what campaign, where it was sent from, who send it, and so on, so you can really slice and dice and compare – well what kind of conversions did we get from Twitter messaging as compared to Facebook messaging as compared to Myspace messaging, and you can slice and dice those statistics by campaign, which is a great way to turn in reports to your client. Or else for your internal use to hone your tactics. It’s a really powerful tool.

A.A: Can I rephrase what you just said? What he basically just said was “It’s gonna help you make more money”.

D.O: Yes. And spend less money to make more money.

A.A: Exactly.

D.O: And spend more time chilling out because rather than experimenting over and over and over again, you figure out real quick which platforms are working for you, which time of day is the best time to send messages out. You’re not caught in a spiral. You can adjust each campaign very specifically and very deliberately.

A.A: Very well said Dave. I know that you’re in on a tight schedule now. Do you guys track those metrics that you just spoke about? And do you guys have some ideas for that? You don’t have to give me all the information now, maybe perhaps we can talk again because I’m sure the audience is gonna be interested in this.

D.O: In other words, do we eat our own dog food?

A.A: Yes.

D.O: Absolutely. Like this morning when our new release came out, I had everything staged from yesterday to blog posts and the releases, and the videos and all the stuff goes out at a certain time. All of us here in the office, the developers included, released it, because it’s kind of a big deal, they’ll be able to keep an eye on all the conversation and all the chatter going on about HootSuite. Various terms about it, certainly we look at what people are clicking through, where people are coming from, and so on. Mostly the main thing that we look at is the sentiment. Who’s excited about it. Who’s talking about it. Who’s sharing it with their networks. What people are writing about it. We know about that kind of stuff in real time because we pay very close attention to it.

A.A: Good deal. As far as I can tell and as far as my use, it is the best social media product that I know from a business standpoint. And that’s why I wanted to talk to you guys, and I wanted to get the word out there. Great job on the new release there, it’s a fantastic tool. Everybody that’s listening or reading this definitely needs to go and get it. And the price is right, Dave.

D.O: The price is indeed right. And if anyone out there has ideas for features that they’d like to see added to HootSuite, we have a feedback channel: feedback.hootsuite.com

You can go there and put in your ideas for new features. Plus you’re allocated a handful of votes so you can go apply to other features that other uses have suggested that you’d really like to see on HootSuite as well. It’s another tool we use to pay attention to what the community cares about and where the passion is. I encourage you to use those tools.

If you need a little help getting started, check our help desk. There’s all sorts of ways to get in touch with us to get a helping hand to get you rolling with this tool.

A.A: I can attest that HootSuite is very responsive. I’m definitely impressed.

D.O: We try our best anyway.

A.A: Dave listen, I really appreciate you taking the time to have this chat. I know it’s gonna help a lot of people get their act together with social media, and hopefully get a bunch more users for an absolutely fantastic product that I can’t say enough about.

D.O: Appreciate the call and to all the HootSuite users out there, we truly appreciate your support of our product. And to all that aren’t out there using it, give it a try and I think you’ll be pretty happy.

A.A: Alright, thanks a lot Dave.

D.O: Bye for now.

A.A: Bye.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Cheers again,

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