Hearsay Social creates content game changer

Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay Social, literally wrote the book on social media. Hear her thoughts on what's next.

SAN FRANCISCO, June 22, 2012 — Last week, Hearsay Social introduced Content Exchange. The service provides content from Thomson Reuters, Tribune Media Services and Demand Media that brands can pull from and share to their social networks.

Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay Social, is well aware that shared content is key in social media. It is proven to be more effective than an advertisement and can do wonders for brand positioning. In fact, recent ROI results for the firm show 50 to 500 percent increases for their customers.  

Content Exchange allows businesses to easily discover, curate and post engaging content. We are seeing a shift this year as more firms target businesses rather than consumers in social media. It’s a natural evolution that Shih alludes to in the interview below. 

1. What is the future of social media? What will we be talking about 12 months from now?

The future is international, integrated and mobile. We are still just scratching the surface. There is good signup globally. Yet it still has to evolve and mature like in the U.S. and Europe. 

We are only beginning to see the wave of smart phones worldwide. Expect incredible integration with geo location services through mobile, social, digital.

It’s a very exciting time. 

2. What trend do you watch more closely? The evolution of different tools or how people interact?

What I find fascinating is that the tools directly effect how people interact. Before Facebook, a trusted online identity, it wasn’t acceptable to share the level of information people share now. Personal, political, religious views are all available. 

Before this people just didn’t share this information online. It wasn’t on their website. They didn’t put it in their signature. Creation of new technology altered human interaction by creating a safe place among friends.

The interactions colored how the tools evolved. The same feedback loop is true with mobile technology. People didn’t always obsessively check their phones. Now we’re OCD, checking Twitter streams and Facebook. 

3. Is there a specific tool we should pay attention to more? Why?

There is a cycle of technology in Silicon Valley. Once a decade there is a new Facebook, Google. Pinterest, YouTube.

It’s important to differentiate social media and social networks. Media is about content. Networks are about interaction. Social networks are great distribution for social media.

There is an extensive and comprehensive social graph already. The technology we see emerge is probably going to be social media. My guess is that these social media innovations will use one or more of these social graphs to go viral. 

I think people should pay attention to Hearsay Social (Clara smiles). 

The first wave of social has been consumer driven. The second wave is business. How marketers and sales can communicate authentically and effectively with customers and partners. In the venture community the next wave is coming from business.

 4. We keep adding social channels that we check, update.  Will it eventually condense or continue to grow larger?

It will largely consolidate around the big three (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). Let’s call it 4 with Google+. What remains will be social media, photos, music, video, applications that allow people to interact with each other over organizations.

The larger you get larger you become with social networks. There is an exponential growth. Users are increasingly less likely to switch. 

Google+ has to offer a new functionality. They certainly are mobilizing the company to do so. They have very smart people, assets. So much to work with, it will be interesting to see if they can make it make sense for the consumer as well as the brand. 

5. What need in the market did you recognize at Hearsay Social? 

Our Co-Founder and I met first year at Stanford. It’s the classic Silicon Valley story. He was at Microsoft and I was at Google. I was building the first Facebook app. It created a buzz. It landed on the desk of Charlene Li In 2007, she kickstarted it. 

Then, I got to write about LinkedIn and Facebook. The Facebook Era is now taught as a textbook at Harvard Business School. 

Hearsay from the beginning envisioned bringing consumer technologies and billions of users to marketing and sales organizations.

From brand protection, government compliance, management, measurement, driving sales. It covers all of those. 

6. What role does broadcast media play in effective social media strategy?

The easy answer, much more closely. The complete answer, all marketing activities are converging. The lines are blurring. Offline includes radio, TV, print, billboards. Those are converging with online. Mobile check-ins, QSC codes. Within online the lines are blurring around paid, owned and earned. Paid is not very conversational. It’s a YouTube video.

 Northwestern Mutual sponsored the NCAA championships. As usual they ran commercials. Concurrently they ran a huge social campaign through us. We enabled 6,000 insurance agents around the country to localize their base around the home team. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. 

Jeff Barrett is a recognized leader in public relations, experiential marketing and social media. Co-Founder of Status Creative, 2011 PRNewswire Award Winner for “Best Use of Video In Social Media” and record holder for Most Strikeouts in Tee-Ball.  

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Jeff Barrett

Jeff Barrett is an experienced columnist and business leader. He has been named Business Insider’s #1 Ad Executive on Twitter, a Forbes Top 50 Influencer In Social Media and has previously written for Mashable and The Detroit Free Press. 



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