HootSuite's new conversations update looks like a boon for community managers who need to keep tabs on their company in real time. But it might also foster communication throughout large organizations.
HootSuite's new internal communication tool, which rolled out in public beta less than a week ago, lets a team chat in an environment that's like AIM on steroids. It allows posting, commenting and liking messages within conversations. You can take conversations on the road via smartphone. Even non-HootSuite users can participate.
With this update, HootSuite is trying to break open the silos that separate various departments in a business - marketing, customer service, PT, management - each with its own location and communication tools. It offers a tool for inter-company communication, in real time. No more long email chains and costly conference calls.
"It's helping businesses achieve full social collaboration," said Nick Cicero, a social media strategist who works with small businesses and Fortune 500 companies. Such tools can help companies trying to integrate social media into multiple networks, such as community management and customer service, he added.
"Internal collaboration is what makes organization-wide social media possible," Cicero said. "In order to keep social media flowing from all different departments, there have to be people on all levels with social media. Products like this make that super easy within the social work flow."
Salesforce dropped Marketing Cloud, its internal conversation equivalent, about 10 days before the HootSuite launch. With major social media players lining up to address real-time internal communications, could this be the next step for social networks? It just may be, especially if Twitter's TweetDeck incorporates this kind of functionality. Keep your eyes peeled, because that update may be next.