Hearsay Helps Corporate America Get Local, and Get Smarter About Facebook and Twitter
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raising a round of financing—just under $3 million, from Sequoia Capital and a club of search and social networking tycoons including Michael Abbott (vice president of engineering at Twitter), Steve Chen (co-founder of YouTube), David Lawee (vice president of corporate development at Google), Dave Morin (co-founder and CEO of Path and a former Facebook executive), Alberto Savoia (engineering director at Google), and Aaron Sittig (product architect at Facebook).
“We didn’t need the money, but we’re so glad we did it,” says Shih. “Sequoia has brought a wealth of insights and contacts.” Sequoia partner Bryan Schreier, a former Googler, oversees the firm’s investment and recently joined Hearsay’s board.
I asked Shih whether she ever worried that her platform—which, after all, is designed to tip control over social media activity back to the corporate side of corporate/local organizations—might lead to a general decline in the quality and authenticity of conversations with customers, or to an explosion of Twitter and Facebook spam. With every new communications medium, she said, there’s a danger of corporate co-optation. But in the case of social media, she pointed out, that danger is mitigated by the fact that connections are opt-in. If a company’s representatives start sharing boring or spammy updates, “people will simply vote with their feet and unfriend you,” she says.
“Facebook and Twitter are powerful because for the first time, people can elect which friends and companies they want to stay connected with,” says Shih. “If anything, this introduces a new level of accountability and real-time feedback. It’s those who truly have a unique and authentic voice who are able to keep in continual touch with their customers.”
Here’s a video Hearsay created to explain Hearsay Social.
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