Even Microsoft — the world’s largest software provider — sometimes depends on its business partners to go the last mile or “to help drive success for our customers,” as company CEO Satya Nadella put it at the company’s Worldwide Partners Conference last summer.

That’s why Microsoft has partnered with Hootsuite, a Vancouver, British Columbia -based social media management platform vendor that helps companies make the most of social content.

If all works as promised, enterprises that use Microsoft tools like SharePoint, Yammer and Dynamics CRM will now be able to seamlessly leverage the Hootsuite platform for social marketing, social selling, social customer support and/or internal collaboration.

Users will be able to gather information and insights from social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and others through native integration.

Every Step You Take

Today’s marketers and customer support managers want to understand the customer journey. It's never been as easy to track customer activities as it is now when so many of us are living our lives out loud, one tweet, one update and one “like” at a time.

Companies want to know “Who are my customers?” and “What are they talking about?” so they can sell more, anticipate and solve problems proactively or develop more personal and deeper customer relationships.

Kevin Zellmer, VP for Corporate and Business Development at Hootsuite, told CMSWire that 750 of the Fortune 1000 are leveraging the Hootsuite platform to glean such insights.

With today’s announcement companies that use both Hootsuite and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, for example, might be able to leverage external social comments like “married ten years, still madly in love” in combination with Pinterest data from the same user that includes pictures of luxury hotels in New York and feed it into the Microsoft database which can then generate offers to consumers.

In this case a discounted rate in a honeymoon suite and a carriage ride around Central Park might generate a sale.

While it’s certainly possible to discover such information manually by searching social media platforms one at a time or via similar solutions , Hootsuite customers can manage more than twenty social media sites at a time as well data from as many as 1000 sources.  

“None of our competitors offer that kind of breadth or depth,” Zellmer told CMSWire.

Hootsuite is localized in 20 different languages and social data can be taken from Hootsuite and pinned to customer records to offer a more complete view.

The SharePoint Connection

Hootsuite’s integration with SharePoint makes it easier to share social media data content on both Team and Public sites.

“There used to be a wall between the internal and external,” said Zellmer, adding that team members typically share external content via email. With the integration users can take social content from outside the enterprise, bring it into SharePoint and assign it to a group.

There’s also a provision for bringing SharePoint content into Hootsuite so that it can be viewed alongside feeds from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the like.

Double-Timing Your Customers

Consumers are using social networks to connect with brands more and more often. But workers who represent the brand are often frustrated because the information they need to interact effectively relies on more than one corporate expert.

With the Hootsuite Yammer integration, workers can simultaneously talk to customers on social media and with each other on Yammer to resolve problems, answer questions and close conversations more quickly. External news can also be easily and selectively brought into Yammer.

Why not bring in news automatically? Zellmer noted that an individual’s entire feed may be too big to handle and, that excluding false positives is still a work in progress. “But it is coming, he said.

Everyone’s a Winner?

For companies that use both Microsoft productivity tools and Hootsuite, the native integration, if all goes as promised, represents a clear win; after all, it’s free.  At launch Hootsuite customers can expect a phone conversation and a demo after which the integration will be turned on.

For Hootsuite the integration might open more customer doors not only to companies who do not yet use its services but also into new department s at exiting customer sites.

As for Microsoft, Hootsuite may help it raise its social play, which might prove to be especially helpful in situations where it needs to go toe-to-toe with Salesforce, Sugar CRM and the like.

Title image by Ryan McGuire