Hubspot’s Social Inbox – What is it?

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Today Hubspot released a new component of their Inbound Marketing Suite called “Social Inbox”.  The next logical question is “What is a Social Inbox?”  The short answer is that it is a mash-up between your leads, contacts and their social media interactions.  For those of us that are users of Nimble CRM, this is not a new concept.  What Hubspot appears to have done however, is moved the mashup of social data and contact data “up the funnel”.

OK, Let’s start with what it is
Image you have someone who signed up for some information on your website and gave your their name and email address (We’ll call them a lead).  With Social Inbox, Hubspot will go see if they registered on any social networks like Facebook or Twitter with that email.  If they did register with that email, you will be able to utilize Hubspot to track this leads interaction with you or your competitors on social media.  So if the lead all of a sudden tweets about your company or products or your competitors, you will be notified and can follow up appropriately.  Make Sense?

Why “Up the Funnel”
We say they moved it “up the funnel” because when we use Nimble’s Social CRM tool, we are typically entering qualified prospects, friends and clients into the tool.  The Nimble does its thing and allows us to see what that person is all about on social and what interactions (if any) I’ve had with that person via any number of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Well it looks like Hubspot has taken the same “social intelligence” concept and applied it to people that I really don’t (or don’t necessarily) know.  They give me social insights on leads that are brand new and that I have had little or no actual communication with.

This can be effective if I want to send an email to all of my current prospects (or customers) that I have engaged in a Twitter conversation,  Another cool twist is that Hubspot’s new Social Inbox will allow me to track mentions of my competitors in social media by people I have engaged with.  I’m not quite sure how I make the transition from “Nooooooo!!!!” to saving a prospect from a competitor, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

I know that Nimble and Hubspot are on pretty good terms so I am wondering how this announcement is going to affect their relationship or if maybe it was worked on jointly.  I’m sure the Brian Halligan Hubspot’s CEO told Jon Ferrara at Nimble that they were in fact working two ends of the customer acquisition funnel and the funnel was plenty long for both of them but I am wondering how that really sits with Jon.  Especially with Salesforce.com being a big investor in Hubspot and the 800 lb. gorilla in the room.  Clearly there are many applications for this type of data mashup that extend to the customer service aspect of customer interactions as Hubspot so clearly explained in their Social Inbox product announcement.

Jamie Troia is President of Greystack Digital Marketing and author of Stern Rules!

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