HootSuite Teams is a new feature of the Pro and Enterprise editions of the social media dashboard, with enhanced administrative tools for defining teams and approval workflows.
Last year, HootSuite introduced Secure Profiles as a feature of its Enterprise Edition, making it possible to insert an extra check in the process of posting to a brand profile page. Because HootSuite makes it possible to manage multiple social media profiles from the same dashboard, it had been associated with several foul-ups where individuals posted messages meant for their personal profiles to one for a brand (such as the Red Cross #gettngslizzerd incident where an employee tweeted to the charity's profile about the joys of beer drinking). That feature will continue to be supported, but HootSuite Teams makes it possible to impose a more sophisticated editorial workflow on publication to social profiles and pages.
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In addition to providing more control, HootSuite Teams provides more ways for a social media team to collaborate about what they will publish or how they will respond to social media contacts before a tweet or post goes live.
Large businesses and enterprises are getting more organized about how they manage social media, and HootSuite is trying to keep pace, VP of marketing Ben Watson said in an interview. "This lets them define who the different teams are and assign the right level of privileges to each member of those teams," he said. "I can also see who my top performers are across those teams, roll up that reporting, and share it with other users. I can have one view of what my team is up to and how well we're doing it." Because Teams starts at the Pro Edition level, it's available to teams of two people or teams of 2,000, he said.
HootSuite previously provided some basic workflow functions, but the tools for defining and organizing teams and workflows have gotten a significant upgrade, Watson said.
HootSuite is promoting this as the maturation of its product into an enterprise tool, but R. "Ray" Wang, Principal Analyst and CEO at Constellation Research, said there are other products, like Sprinklr, Hearsay Social, and Spredfast, that still have a greater focus on appealing to very large organizations that may have to manage thousands of social media identities.
Wang sees HootSuite as still being more of a departmental solution for organizations of that size. "It's enterprise class for their class of product, particularly compared to some of the other stuff on the market that's consumer class. They've invested a lot to make it enterprise class," he said. The product's workflow capabilities are now "much better than before," he said.
The security and permissions model for HootSuite still may not be on the level of an enterprise-class product like Lotus Notes, but it's closer than most of its competitors, Wang said. HootSuite has been very successful with its "freemium to premium model" and with its dashboard for monitoring and responding to social media channels, he said.
One social media manager for a retailer that uses HootSuite said in an interview that, while he wasn't comfortable going on the record endorsing HootSuite Teams and hasn't yet tried it, he was interested in using it for collaboration between his corporate marketing team and the stores that manage their own Twitter and Facebook pages.
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