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How Hootsuite University Leverages Social Media For Customer Education

Written by Sarah E. Brown

Published on August 25, 2014

Hootsuite University is a leader in customer education, turning motivated users into bona fide social media “ninjas.” Learndot spoke with Hootsuite’s Allie Russell, Product Marketing Manager, and Kirsten Bailey, Director of Hootsuite University, about best practices for running successful customer education campaigns, including advice for customer success or customer education teams who are new to social media or want to optimize their efforts.

Learndot: What is your role at Hootsuite University and what do you love about it?

Allie Russell: As Product Marketing Manager, I’m focused on Hootsuite’s key education programs, including Hootsuite University. When I started over two years ago, I was focused entirely on marketing for Hootsuite University, which was our core education program, delivering on-demand training and education videos on the Hootsuite dashboard as well as social media as a whole. Since then, Hootsuite’s education programs and services have expanded and grown significantly, and Hootsuite University has always been at the core of these programs. With the widening digital skills gap in today’s workforce, there’s a huge need for company-wide training and education for employees, in order to empower engagement, while also mitigating risk.

Kirsten Bailey: I’m Director of Hootsuite University. What excites me the most about working at Hootsuite is that we have a front row view of how communication in the workplace is changing. Phones and email are still popular means of communication, but over the last few years we’ve seen the rise of social networks (internal and external) into the communications mix. I love the fact that we’re taking the lessons we’re learning from the front lines of this communications evolution, and turning that into education to help the workforce gain the skills required to make the most of it

Learndot: What are some of the ways Hootsuite University incorporates social media in customer education campaigns?

HSU Team: Whether it be connecting with newly Hootsuite certified grads, promoting new content and courseware, addressing student questions, or hosting thought-leadership focused #HSUchat Twitter conversations with our community, social media is an integral part of everything we do at Hootsuite University, not only in terms of the content that we educate on, but also the way in which we engage with our students and our community

Learndot: Do you think social media can play a significant role in customer success?

HSU Team: Absolutely! If your customer is on social, then social engagement should be a primary consideration as you think about their customer journey. A recent Forrester report showed that fully 100% of business decision-makers now use social media for work purposes, so providing a positive, valuable experience to customers on social is crucial to your business success. (Source)

Learndot: Do you do anything specifically on each social network to help engage Hootsuite University students? Do you focus primarily on one social media network or on several of them?

HSU Team: Hootsuite University primarily engages with students on Twitter and Facebook through our ongoing weekly #HSUchat, and to share new and relevant content

Hootsuite has almost 6 million followers on Twitter and we often share Hootsuite University content and news across the main @hootsuite handle, to communicate the various educational resources available to HSU students.

When it comes to establishing and growing your social media presence, you really need to start with your key business objectives and what you're looking to achieve, and then assess the different channels and networks where you can be engaging, and figure out how these can help you achieve your goals. Don't just jump on a social network because it's popular, come up with a strategy first that will help grow your business!

Learndot: Can you talk a little bit about how you incorporate social media in your certification processes?

HSU Team: Upon completing certification, we encourage students to share their accomplishment and listing in our Hootsuite Professionals Directory over their social networks. That then allows us to celebrate our students accomplishments by responding to them over social.

Learndot: What advice do you have for customer success or customer education teams who are new to social media or want to optimize their efforts?

HSU Team: First, enroll in Hootsuite University ;-) Next, Identifying your primary business objectives first is key in order to truly understand how social media can support these. Without this clarity and direction, you’re likely to engage in random acts of marketing and social media that may not drive your business forward.

KB-profile-headshot.jpgKirsten Bailey  is the Director of HootSuite University, the premier social media education destination founded by HootSuite, a leading social media management platform serving over 9 million users and 79 of the Fortune 100 companies. Kirsten is responsible for overseeing the development and growth of its online education and certification programs.

allie-russell.jpg

Allie Russell is a Product Marketing Manager focused on driving Hootsuite's Education Programs, including Hootsuite University. With a widening digital skills gap in today's workforce, there is a growing need for formalized social media education programs for businesses and professionals. Allie is focused on collaborating with Hootsuite's education team to deliver valuable education programs, understanding the market fit, and leading marketing programs to drive awareness for education at Hootsuite. 

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