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2/3/2011
11:45 AM
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Hearsay Launches Social Media Management For Branch Offices

Platform helps corporations maintain control over brand, compliance when local representatives use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to support customer relationships.



Top 20 Apps For Managing Social Media
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Top 20 Apps For Managing Social Media

Startup Hearsay today released Hearsay Social, a social media management solution designed to allow corporate companies with local offices -- such as clients State Farm, 24 Hour Fitness, and Farmers Insurance -- to climb aboard the social networking bandwagon, while avoiding branding errors and mitigating compliance risks.

Hearsay Social was designed for businesses that combine a strong corporate brand with many local presences through franchises, regional representatives, store managers, independent agents, or advisors, the company said. Using this tool, the corporate office allows local representatives to nurture customer relationships via social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter -- yet ensure these representatives stay within the organization's brand guidelines, industry regulations, and corporate governance, according to Hearsay.

In addition, this allows businesses subject to federal regulations to comply with government laws, such as those mandated by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the company said.

Many financial organizations, for example, continue to grapple with the issue of social media. Increasingly, clients will ask financial companies to communicate with them via Twitter and other social media tools for customer service, pushing the financial firms to implement these technologies, Denise Valentine, senior analyst with Aite Group, told Securities Technology Monitor. But despite the allure of deepening their customer engagement, some chief compliance officers still shun these sites due to privacy and regulatory worries, she said.

And 94% of businesses do not use social media for customer feedback, according to a December 2010 study by MarketTools.

"Companies need to know what their customers are saying about them online, and they need to use this unsolicited feedback to not only address the concerns of the individual customer, but to uncover insights to help improve business processes that lead to higher overall customer satisfaction," said Justin Schuster, VP of enterprise products at MarketTools, when the report was released.

Organizations may be loath to use social networking for customer feedback because of the technology's viral nature, companies' perceived inability to control the brand, fears about compliance and security, and the sheer volume, according to Hearsay.

Flock Browses All Your Social Connections
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Slideshow: Flock Browses All Your Social Connections

"With Hearsay Social, companies can be safe with advanced compliance and workflow capabilities, successful with compelling content, and smart with robust analytics," said Clara Shih, Hearsay's CEO, who created a business application on Facebook in 2007 and wrote The Facebook Era. "Fan and follower relationships on social networking sites are creating an unprecedented opportunity for corporate/local companies to extend customer relationships and success of local stores into the online realm."

In 2010, insurance giant State Farm saw many of its approximately 18,000 independent agents were beginning to use social media to interact with customers and prospects. Wanting to leverage the technology -- but concerned about compliance risks -- State Farm required all agents who wanted to use social media in business to use Hearsay Social to access those sites.

"Hearsay empowers our agents to strengthen these relationships on social media while engaging customers and prospects with useful and relevant content. Hearsay also allows us to address the important compliance requirements, which banking and insurance companies need to meet. Results include achieving full compliance with FINRA 10-06 and other federal regulations, and the ability to enforce good corporate governance," said Craig Allen, VP of agency at State Farm. "Agents benefit from corporate-approved content suggestions and branded tabs which they can one-click post to their social network profiles, as well as rich social customer relationship management (CRM) functionality to track real-time customer conversations, activities, and life events appearing on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter."

Hearsay Social is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform comprised of a compliance, content-management, workflow, and analytics, residing on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Organizations can manage their social media initiatives at local, regional, and national levels via a central dashboard, using its compliance and content management components. Analytics capabilities give management visibility across the entire firm's social media efforts, as well as the ability to drill-down by region or sub-region, Hearsay said.

Recently, Hearsay signed a partnership with LinkedIn that includes collaboration on sales and marketing, as well as full integration between Hearsay Social and the LinkedIn messaging API to ensure total compliance to customers, regardless of whether users access LinkedIn from work, home, or mobile device.

"We are delighted to partner with Hearsay so that financial, insurance, and other professionals can meet their regulatory requirements, while taking advantage of the extensive networking, marketing, and research capabilities of LinkedIn," said David Hahn, VP of product management at LinkedIn, in a statement.

Hearsay, which has the financial backing of Sequoia Capital, was co-founded by former Microsoft executive Steve Garrity, and former Google and Salesforce.com executive Shih."With Hearsay Social, companies can be safe with advanced compliance and workflow capabilities, successful with compelling content, and smart with robust analytics," said Clara Shih, Hearsay's CEO, who created a business application on Facebook in 2007 and wrote The Facebook Era. "Fan and follower relationships on social networking sites are creating an unprecedented opportunity for corporate/local companies to extend customer relationships and success of local stores into the online realm."

In 2010, insurance giant State Farm saw many of its approximately 18,000 independent agents were beginning to use social media to interact with customers and prospects. Wanting to leverage the technology -- but concerned about compliance risks -- State Farm required all agents who wanted to use social media in business to use Hearsay Social to access those sites.

"Hearsay empowers our agents to strengthen these relationships on social media while engaging customers and prospects with useful and relevant content. Hearsay also allows us to address the important compliance requirements, which banking and insurance companies need to meet. Results include achieving full compliance with FINRA 10-06 and other federal regulations, and the ability to enforce good corporate governance," said Craig Allen, VP of agency at State Farm.

"Agents benefit from corporate-approved content suggestions and branded tabs which they can one-click post to their social network profiles, as well as rich social customer relationship management (CRM) functionality to track real-time customer conversations, activities, and life events appearing on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter," said Allen.

Hearsay Social is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform comprised of a compliance, content-management, workflow, and analytics, residing on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Organizations can manage their social media initiatives at local, regional, and national levels via a central dashboard, using its compliance and content management components. Analytics capabilities give management visibility across the entire firm's social media efforts, as well as the ability to drill-down by region or sub-region, Hearsay said.

Recently, Hearsay signed a partnership with LinkedIn that includes collaboration on sales and marketing, as well as full integration between Hearsay Social and the LinkedIn messaging API to ensure total compliance to customers, regardless of whether users access LinkedIn from work, home, or mobile device.

"We are delighted to partner with Hearsay so that financial, insurance, and other professionals can meet their regulatory requirements, while taking advantage of the extensive networking, marketing, and research capabilities of LinkedIn," said David Hahn, VP of product management at LinkedIn, in a statement.

Hearsay, which has the financial backing of Sequoia Capital, was co-founded by former Microsoft executive Steve Garrity, and former Google and Salesforce.com executive Shih.

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