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Fast rising business social media startup Hearsay Social heads for the stratosphere

Most com­mu­ni­ty man­agers would agree that by the time a social net­work has raised $30 mil­lion in Series C fund­ing, it’s clear­ly doing some­thing very right. And since that’s just the amount that social start­up Hearsay Social has just raised, the intre­pid com­mu­ni­ty man­ag­er will be curi­ous to find out just what it’s doing that’s so right.

Launched in 2009 by co-founders Steve Gar­ri­ty, now its CEO, and Star­bucks board of direc­tors mem­ber Clara Shih, Hearsay Social is head­quar­tered in Sil­i­con Val­ley with offices in New York. Its mis­sion? To help busi­ness­es not only achieve reg­u­la­to­ry com­pli­ance, but build strong rela­tion­ships with cus­tomers and enhance brand pres­ence across all of the major social net­works, includ­ing Twit­ter, Face­book, LinkedIn, foursquare and Google+. Ear­ly on, the empha­sis was on help­ing busi­ness­es raise the social media pres­ence of their local branch­es, but it’s evolved into what it calls a “social sell­ing plat­form” as well.

A dual approach

If there are any com­mu­ni­ty man­agers out there who are a lit­tle baf­fled by this term, essen­tial­ly Hearsay Social now helps sales­peo­ple to keep their social media pres­ence in dynam­ic shape by find­ing rel­e­vant con­tent and track­ing the “social sig­nals” of oth­ers in their net­work. As Gar­ri­ty puts it, the company’s empha­sis has always been on help­ing busi­ness­es to con­nect with their cus­tomers via social media on a one-to-one basis. While com­pli­ance and train­ing formed the ear­ly core of this vision, social sell­ing has pro­gres­sive­ly grown more central.

By fus­ing these approach­es, Gar­ri­ty believes Hearsay is doing some­thing none of its com­peti­tors are. There are lots of com­pa­nies offer­ing social media tools for busi­ness­es, but they empha­size com­pli­ance only. Garrity’s view is that offer­ing com­pli­ance with­out any oth­er tools is like own­ing a car with “a great set of brakes but no engine and no steer­ing wheel.”

Accel­er­at­ing growth 

A recent com­pa­ny study found that 64 per­cent of its cus­tomers have used the plat­form to build bet­ter cus­tomer rela­tions and gen­er­ate new leads. And those cus­tomers have dou­bled in num­ber over the last twelve months alone. Busi­ness­es clear­ly seem to like what they find.

The $30 mil­lion Series C round was led by exist­ing investors Sequoia Cap­i­tal and New Enter­prise Asso­ciates, and will be plowed into accel­er­at­ing the firm’s growth with expand­ed cus­tomer sup­port, sales teams and prod­uct development.

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