There is a category of enterprise social software which is emerging which doesn’t know what to call itself yet. But if engagement platform HootSuite and enterprise social platform Yammer got married, this would be it.
Basically, the software encourages any employee to engage in social media activity outside the four walls of a company, and tracks which content — and which employee — has been influential and responsible for the intended engagement (prospects, leads, job candidates, etc.).
HootSuite, TweetDeck, and other engagement platforms are limited in this regard because only designated employees — usually the members of the social media team — are permissioned to edit and distribute corporate social media content externally.
Yammer, Chatter, and other enterprise social platforms are limited because the intention is for employee-only social media-like communications — short messaging, sharing documents, and the like. Extending Yammer conversations outside of Yammer is not encouraged — in fact, senior management like Yammer precisely because conversations are kept confidential to the company.
These approaches alienate employees who tweet and update Facebook and LinkedIn on their own. Such employees may be happy and proud to carry out social media on their own dime — but their activity is not monitored, and there is no guidance as to if they are actually doing what would be most helpful to the company. (Only when they mess up does a senior manager find out.)
Enter Addvocate, Dynamic Signal, Expion and others, who are marrying the best of both worlds. These platforms include identity mechanisms and security which can finally effectively carry out an inside sales strategy that coordinates and optimizes employee social media accounts — the holy grail of ‘social sales.’ Employees can have others inside an organization see the real results of their efforts, and not have to resort to taking screen shots or creating email chains with ‘Look who commented on my LinkedIn update!’
Why HootSuite and Yammer haven’t ventured into these areas is perhaps due to pricing: premium versions are paid on a monthly, per-seat basis, and most companies do not see the value in paying to facilitate and measure the social media activity of non-social media professionals.
To address the pricing issue, Addvocate has instituted a Kickstarter-like pricing scheme: pay what you want and order 100 licenses within the first 30 days. The deal is good for six months. (This clearly disrupts the traditional enterprise software pricing model, and I sincerely hope that Addvocate receives enough attention for this pricing model to spread to other companies.)
I’m also going to be on the lookout for some advances in the platforms of the incumbent engagement and enterprise players.