Customer Success with Hootsuite
Learning what it takes to be a Customer Success Manager
Hootsuite is a company that provides a social media management platform for any and all brands. Throughout my time at George Brown, my classmates and I have been actively using the platform as part of our courses. It’s been an exciting few months learning how to properly use the system for our own use whether it be for assignments or otherwise, as many of us are planning to start a career in social media marketing, learning how to use the platform is essential.
What is even more exciting was getting the chance to listen to Alyssa Biasucci & Melissa Cicconi from Hootsuite. A great opportunity to hear from two outstanding individuals that work for the company, and a great way to get a little more insight on Hootsuite outside just the technical aspects we’ve been learning. Both Alyssa and Melissa are Customer Success Managers, but what does that mean exactly in the case of social media?
What is a Customer Success Manager?
Based on the presentation, a customer success manager for Hootsuite is not what I initially expected it to sound like. Typically when I hear a term like “customer success”, I always come to the conclusion that it refers to a B2C type of model, like customer service. Throughout the presentation, I was surprised and enthusiastic to know that my pre-disposed assumptions were quite the opposite.
A CSM at Hootsuite is responsible for managing a portfolio of customers, to ensure they have the right tools and techniques to maximize their success on social media. The role seems like something that is very on-brand with Hootsuite, the company provides a management tool to help make social media marketing more fluid, and there is a position that exemplifies that. A CSM acts sort of like a guide, providing clients with the information and tactics they need to achieve their business goals. Alyssa explained that CSM’s work in a cycle, starting by onboarding clients and developing timelines with the right technology, to presenting quarterly reviews to identify opportunities and recommendations going forward.
The role sounds like an intriguing opportunity, getting to work hands-on with clients and help pave the way for their success through social media requires a lot of essential qualities needed to excel at the role. The perfect candidate for a CSM position should be tech-savvy, familiarizing themselves with various platforms and creative suites will help them provide the right channels to their clients. Not all ideas will be agreed upon, so being able to communicate openly with customers will ensure that both parties are on the same page. This ties into the next key quality, which is to be customer-focused. A good CSM needs to know that their customer is the key priority, it’s their success that matters most. Therefore, knowing what they want out of a great campaign and how they want to achieve that is important.
Career lessons to reflect on
Towards the end of their presentation, Alyssa and Melissa gave us 4 career lessons to reflect on:
- Know your worth
- Don’t be naïve
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
- Keep challenging yourself
If there’s one thing I’ve admired while attending these seminars it’s that our speakers always give us little tidbits of advice that go a long way. These career lessons Alyssa and Melissa gave us this week really struck a chord with me. The 3 things that I know I need to work on the most to become career-ready are to know my worth, don’t be afraid to ask questions and to keep challenging myself.
For the first point, it’s important to focus on the strategy you bring to the table, becoming an advocate for yourself can boost your confidence in so many ways. For me, that’s trying to remember what important values I have in myself that I bring with me every day. In terms of the workplace, I try to think of what landed me in the position that I currently work in. Is it my technical skills? Yes! My ability to communicate? Absolutely! I could go on but hopefully, you get the idea, we’re all important and have things that make us important. Focus on those to keep you going throughout your career.
Asking questions has been a fear of mine for a very long time, whether it be at school or in the workplace, I always find myself feeling guilty when I need to ask something. There’s that negative thought I have where I feel my manager, co-worker, teacher, etc might think I’m stupid for not knowing something whether it be simple or complex. However, in reality, asking doesn’t hurt anybody. It’s better to ask how to properly do something than to lie and pretend as if you know. It makes me more career-ready as I now don’t feel ashamed to ask more about the responsibilities of a job during an interview, if anything it would show the employer that I have more interest beyond what I read in the job posting.
Being complacent is honestly a guilty habit of mine. Once I’ve found my comfort zone, I choose not to leave. I mean why would I? Everything is smooth sailing and I don’t have to worry about anything. That’s until boredom strikes and the realization that I can do better and improve starts to settle in. This lesson made me re-evaluate how I look at things from a career perspective. Instead of getting comfortable with the mundane aspects of a job, I should bring in new elements and give myself new challenges. Not only will it alleviate any sense of boredom, but will help me grow professionally.
Creating a “cheesy” campaign
As with most of our digital seminar classes, it’s not complete without some group work, for this week our group had to prepare a social media campaign revolving around #nationalpizzaday. While working with my group I began to realize one of the most vital aspects that every social media manager needs: creativity! While discussing with my group, we reflected on using TikTok to spread awareness by creating a Squid Game-themed ad. Hannah, who came up with the idea, explained to us in detail how bringing elements of the Korean show would get people talking. Being that it has become a cultural phenomenon and from what I gathered is a trending topic on TikTok, it made for the perfect ad campaign that would be relevant to the audience we’re targeting.
To bounce off of that, it also made me realize another key aspect, the importance of using ongoing social media trends as part of your campaign. You’ve probably seen tweets and posts from brands using language borrowed from memes that I will admit, kind of feels like they’re beating a dead horse, but from a business perspective, it’s perfect because it lets customers know that you’re up to date with whatever is trending on the internet. Working with my group for those 20 or so minutes really opened my eyes to the levels of inspiration you can get from simply scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, and so forth. Just be sure not to get too hooked otherwise you’ll get carried away scrolling the For You Page on TikTok.
The stars haven’t aligned just yet
Having a career in social media appeals to me very much, it’s one of the many reasons why I decided to go back to college and learn digital media marketing, and the fact that finding a job related to my undergrad (film studies) was tougher than I thought. Applying to my dream job at companies such as Vice, Corus, and Bell Media and not hearing back from any of them made me wonder if Melissa and Alyssa had the same experience that I did. I initially pondered on this question at the beginning of class when they asked us who our dream employers would be, which made me think back to that time of my own.
Melissa gave us a very personal story about a clothing brand she always dreamt of working for, she loved the brand’s perspective on body positivity and was eager to join their team. Hearing Melissa talk about sending her resume for any position that was available whether she was under/overqualified and being left in the dark rang bells for me as I remembered applying to the most random positions at Vice when I was 20, just so I could get my foot in the door. I remember feeling the same way Melissa felt and telling myself: “It’s not meant for me, It never was”. While it wasn’t an extrapolated question, Melissa did tell us that she would still love to work for this brand. The stars haven’t aligned just yet, but maybe one day. It quite honestly gave me a little bit of hope and a better outlook on my job search. Applying to work at Vice or those other companies may not have been the right time years ago, it might not be the right time now, but eventually, I’ll get there.
As stated previously, not being afraid to ask questions is an essential lesson I need to start doing more of. It doesn’t even have to be something too deep, simply asking basic questions to those in my network about what their company does or what they do would provide the building blocks needed to strengthen my networking skills. A simple coffee chat could expand into an informational interview simply by me gauging more interest.
Another thing I learned from our seminar is to own my career development. There are times when I felt bad explaining to others why I left an automotive job for my current video editing job. To some, they see that I left an opportunity but for me, I wanted to expand my skills and take on a job that was not only relevant to my undergrad study but something that I actually enjoyed doing regardless of salary, benefits, etc. In my eyes, this is me essentially leveling up in my career and it’s something that I’m proud of. In terms of how that will help me with my ongoing job search, I feel as if it would give me the right amount of confidence to explain my career journey to employers and colleagues better and without my own predisposed fears.
Lastly, Alyssa and Melissa encouraged us to mentally prepare ourselves. Oftentimes I find myself stressing out and having extreme anxiety from connecting with professionals in the industry. There is that ongoing thought in my head that tells me I’m wasting my time, or that I’ll be ignored and forgotten about. However, preparing myself is something I need to start doing to alleviate that stress. For me, that’s repeating this mantra:
“Whatever happens, happens”.
It’s a quote taken from the TV show Cowboy Bebop, but it’s a simple phrase that helps me. A reminder that I’m not in control of things out of my control. If things work out in my favour, great. If not, don’t worry too much and keep on working until the next opportunity arises. Rinse and repeat, it’s all a part of the process.