About Hootsuite

More than 10 million users, including 744 of the Fortune 1000, trust Hootsuite to manage their social media programs. The world’s most widely-used social relationship platform, Vancouver-based Hootsuite helps companies easily send messages across multiple social platforms at once. In the last year alone, Hootsuite doubled from 300 to 600 employees and is one of Canada’s shining stars in the tech community.

The Business Case for Community

Hootsuite recognized from its inception in 2008 the importance of community as a communications channel to customers. The founders knew community would help them listen to and engage with users, especially as the company introduced new products and entered new markets. But Hootsuite underestimated the critical role its community would play in accelerating global expansion. It was even more surprised by the impact that its community champions—a growing team of Hootsuite’s most knowledgeable, loyal, and helpful customers around the world—would have on the company’s ability to localize product offerings and scale customer support.

The Community Effect

Community champions open up new markets

Based on the Get Satisfaction platform, Hootsuite’s online community saw high levels of user activity from the beginning. But what captured Hootsuite’s attention was the traction it was experiencing with peer-to-peer interactions— customers helping and sharing with each other. In 2012, Hootsuite created a formal champion program, the Hootsuite Brand Ambassador Program, to operationalize and foster peer-to-peer engagement. The company worked with Get Satisfaction’s customer success management team to shape the program strategy and launch. “The idea was to identify and motivate enthusiastic Hootsuite experts and get them trained and certified on our platform,” said Stephanie Wiriahardja, Community Manager at Hootsuite. From there, these experts evangelize Hootsuite, give us ideas for how to introduce products in their region, and even host “HootUps,” events where users get together to share ideas, experiences, and best practices.

In exchange for their participation, ambassadors receive access to Hootsuite Pro, training, certifications, and funding for hosting local events. They also enjoy the credibility that comes from adding the position to their work history and being featured on Hootsuite social channels. “We want to make our ambassadors the stars whenever possible,” said Wiriahardja. “They bring us valuable insights about what works in their market and what users in their geography need or want.”

800+ brand advocates on the ground in 56 countries

The results of the Hootsuite Ambassador Program have far exceeded company estimates. “More than 800 ambassadors in 57 countries have joined. Together, they’ve held over 200 HootUps, participated in hundreds of online and offline events, and made vital contributions to our product,” said Wiriahardja.

One ambassador in Brazil alerted Hootsuite that Orkut was popular to users in his country, so the company integrated it into Hootsuite for that market. “Customers in Brazil saw that we were paying attention to their needs rather than doing things the same way they are done in North America,” explained Wiriahardja.

Ambassadors expanding into support

Hootsuite’s community also plays a vital role in the company’s customer support ecosystem. As the success of the ambassador program grew, the support team saw an opportunity to leverage ambassadors into the support function. In April 2014, Hootsuite reached out to ambassadors to explain how they could participate in a support capacity and outlined the perks for doing so, including earning points which could be exchanged for company swag.

By September 2014, 10% of Hootsuite’s ambassadors had raised their hands to answer support-oriented questions—more than Hootsuite’s own staff. The company expects that number to double by the end of 2014. “Ambassadors give us greater reach and allow us to focus more attention on other support channels,” said Sterling Anderson, Social Channel Lead at Hootsuite. “Three months ago, just 3% of our customers were solving their own issues via the community. Three months later, with the help of ambassadors, over 50% of the topics posted are being resolved solely by ambassadors.”

Ever-growing knowledge base

Ambassadors also contribute valuable content to the community knowledgebase so customers more easily find the answers they are looking for. As a proof point, in January, Hootsuite had 475 support queries and was only able to respond directly to 136 of them. Eight months later and with assistance from ambassadors, the company received only 231 queries and all but seven were addressed.

“On the one hand, we have fewer questions submitted because more users are finding their answers in the growing knowledgebase,” said Anderson. “On the other hand, for the queries we do have, we are far more responsive with ambassadors.”

Hootsuite finds its ambassador experts respond best when they serve in a way that feels most natural to them. “Ambassadors engage differently,” said Anderson. “Some like to share best practices; some like to help with problems. It’s very organic and we encourage them to go in and just be themselves.” If these experts run into a user problem they can’t answer, they are provided special access to Hootsuite support. “With this privilege, they can escalate their issue and a Hootsuite support agent will take over and troubleshoot,” Anderson explained.

Speaking the customer’s language

Hootsuite may have one of the most robust community champion programs in the world. The ability to enter new markets and scale support in the face of rapid growth are two strategic outcomes. But the company is just as pleased about what the program says about the Hootsuite brand. “No matter how much passion we bring to the market about what we do, there’s nothing like the power of customers’ passion for us,” said Anderson. “We’ll do whatever we can to capture and harness their enthusiasm for Hootsuite.”

Community as a differentiator

Hootsuite may have one of the most robust community champion programs in the world. The ability to enter new markets and scale support in the face of rapid growth are two strategic outcomes. But the company is just as pleased about what the program says about the Hootsuite brand. “No matter how much passion we bring to the market about what we do, there’s nothing like the power of customers’ passion for us,” said Anderson. “We’ll do whatever we can to capture and harness their enthusiasm for Hootsuite.”

About Get Satisfaction

Based in San Francisco, Get Satisfaction provides an online community platform connecting companies with customers to foster relationships that unlock new value for both sides. Companies of all sizes and industries—from Kellogg’s, P&G and Intuit to Sonos, HootSuite and SugarCRM—rely on Get Satisfaction to deliver online communities that modernize customer support, accelerate sales, differentiate their brand and inspire new innovations. Get Satisfaction’s community platform offers the fastest time to value for companies ready to embrace the way today’s customers want to engage.


The ability to enter new markets and scale support in the face of rapid growth are two strategic outcomes from Hootsuite’s ever-growing ambassador program.

Business Results

  • 800 ambassadors in 56 countries
  • 200 ‘HootUps’ in 22 countries hosted by ambassadors
  • 60 ambassadors actively responding to support questions
  • Self-solve rate growth from 3% to 52% in 5 months
  • Significantly reduced support query volumes with a customer-generated knowledgebase
  • Community covering 15 languages (only four from company employees)

Related Case Studies

View More Case Studies
SEE THE COMMUNITY IN ACTION

Contact Get Satisfaction

Call us at (877) 339-3997

CONTACT SALES