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Hearsay Social is a fast-growing social media management software company, and StartupNation had the pleasure of interviewing its CTO and Co-Founder, Steve Garrity for his insights. Hearsay is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) social media management platform that acts as a
layer on top of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media.
The company has grown its user base by 400% in the first nine months of 2012; has been covered by Fast Company, Forbes and InformationWeek; and has received investments from executives at Google, Facebook and Twitter.
In other words, the company is hot!
The following is our interview with Garrity:
What are some of the top ways that a small business can improve its Facebook EdgeRank?
Garrity: Here are some best practices for small businesses trying to improve their Facebook EdgeRank:
- Engage your customers with visuals. Photos imbue your professional posts with a friendly, personal touch. Additionally, photos earn between 5 to 20 times as many interactions as any other type of Facebook post, according to the Social Media Examiner.
- Mix personal and business. Our data shows that posting only about products or your company can decrease edge rank. The optimum mix is about 50/50.
- Understand the breadth of your Facebook reach and explicitly quantify how much you want to expand that reach.
- Humanize your business page and its content. Engage your online audience like you would engage a customer who walks into your store.
- Post consistently and post often without smothering. The more you post the more your content will show up in user news feeds, but you have to stay fresh. Mix up your Facebook activity with photos, statuses, funny quotes, giveaways, and more.
How can a small business leverage LinkedIn successfully?
Garrity: Here are some best practices for small businesses that want to be successful on LinkedIn:
- Educate your clients and build the brand.
- Identify and attract top talent for recruiting.
- Build deeper relationships and improve the efficiency of outreach by staying updated with client and prospect updates made through the network.
- Perform high-conversion prospecting through 2nd and 3rd degree connections.
How can B2B companies, specifically, use Facebook effectively?
Garrity: Facebook is home to over one billion active users. B2B companies can use the network most effectively by promoting news and educating their fans, building the brand, developing a rapport with fans through great timely content, joining in the conversation, and even by generating leads.
What is the most exceptional business use of social media that you’ve seen?
Garrity: There are a lot of really creative social marketing success stories out there, from the Old Spice commercials that spread virally on YouTube and Twitter to Farmers Insurance’s partnership with Zynga and Hearsay Social (ultimately earning them the Guinness World Record for "Most Likes on a Facebook Page in 24 Hours"). Personally, the most exceptional business use of social media I’ve seen are the thousands of individual agents and stores out there building local social media communities day in and day out. Check out some of the individual 24 Hour Fitness locations, realtors from Pacific Union International, or individual Farmers Insurance agents.
What’s the worst business use of social media you’ve ever seen?
Garrity: A poor use of social media is anything that is careless or inconsistent with the brand. Another example would be a stagnant page that isn’t updated regularly, or photos that aren’t professional (poor resolution, etc.). Another thing to avoid is leaving customer complaints on your page unanswered. We don’t want to call out anyone specifically, but plenty of examples can be found.
How should a small business be measuring social media ROI?
Garrity: Here are some best practices for measuring social media ROI:
- Gaining new customers: As a soft metric, you can make some general assumptions about how your social media usage increases your brands visibility. As a hard metric, you can trace referrals as originating on social networks.
- Retaining customers: Regularly staying connected with existing customers allows you to make sure they stay satisfied with your service, meaning they’ll always be happy customers.
- Increasing the value of each customer: Happy customers spend more, and if they have a good experience with your service, then they will most likely come back again and again.
Do you have any other advice you’d like to provide to the StartupNation community?
Garrity: A successful entrepreneur must be able to build a great team. That team must not only be great at what they do, but they must also be able to scale the company culture and continue recruiting quality talent through their formative years. Sometimes, it may even make sense to look internally to see what skills you can cultivate from within.
Follow Steve Garrity on Twitter: @stgarrity