Friday Buzz: Tweet for Help

Social management giant Hootsuite has a new trick up its sleeve that involves an old-school form of social media—the telephone. Also: Does retention matter more than member acquisition?

Tweets are often the easiest way for a customer to complain about service, but sometimes it’s hard to get a satisfactory response via Twitter.

Fortunately, a social management giant just acquired some technology that will narrow the gap. Thanks to its purchase of the startup Zeetl, Hootsuite will now let users click a link on Twitter to get their problems dealt with over the phone—or, if they prefer, via a Skype call. While the connection will take place through a Twitter link, that link will only work for the user with the service problem. And—fortunately for the frustrated customer—the call center will be aware of the issue before they even pick up the phone.

“It takes that social out of the open conversation and brings it into a phone call in a one-to-one manner,” HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes told The New York Times.

The acquisition plays to HootSuite’s strengths and comes just as the company has raised a fresh round of financing—to the tune of $60 million. The company isn’t divulging specifics, but Re/code notes that this puts its valuation at about $1 billion.

Retention vs. Acquisition

It costs a lot more to find a new member than it does to keep a current one.

But too often, acquisition efforts get more attention than retention efforts, according to a new blog post from Silverbear. The company uses the metaphor of a leaky bucket, explaining that pouring new members in at the top is good at first, but attrition can slowly drain the organization. The idea is that if you plug up the hole, you don’t have to worry as much about refilling your bucket.

“Your sales team may be hungry for new membership leads, and you may even be evaluated on the number of new members you help bring in,” according to the blog post. “But for associations that are well established in their field and are not in the early stages of market growth, membership retention is far more critical to their ongoing success than membership recruitment.” (ht @SilverbearLtd)

Other good reads

Run a chamber of commerce? Make sure your members know how they can use you as a marketing resource. Christina Green offers some suggestions on Frank J. Kenny’s blog.

“A welcome message is a good start, but turning new members into regulars takes more than just one email.” Socious’ Katie Bapple underlines the importance of having a good engagement process for new online community members.

A social presence that runs like a carnival sounds fun, but it’s not really all that great. Wild Apricot’s Lori Halley points out the pitfalls of flashy strategy in short bursts.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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