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The Flight of the Owls - CJ Q/A: HootSuite

December 19, 2012

Twitter me this: in the vast online social media eco-system, who is the smartest and wisest social media management tool of them all? Ask over 5 million people around the world, they'll quickly tell you it's none other than HootSuite, the leading social media management system on the web.

HootSuite, the global social media management system for businesses and organizations, launched their CJ affiliate program in July of 2011 and has been growing steadily since. Jaxon Lam, Affiliate Manager and Search Specialist at HootSuite, was managing multiple client programs at a local Vancouver-based Outsource Program Management (OPM) agency, before taking the reins of HootSuite's affiliate program. CJ publishers can apply to the HootSuite / CJ affiliate program here.

 

We recently sat down with Jaxon to get some insight on how he manages and works with CJ to optimize HootSuite's affiliate program.

 

CJ: What challenges does HootSuite face in terms of marketing and why did you choose to work in the affiliate channel?

Jaxon Lam:

It wasn't that we faced marketing challenges, rather that we wanted our community to benefit from sharing our social media management system with others who were looking for the solutions necessary to manage their multiple online profiles. It just so happened that many of our users were already sharing HootSuite with their audiences and our community feedback lead to the creation of our initial Internal Affiliate Program.

 

CJ: You offer different publisher incentives and commissions for your various services (HootSuite Pro, HootSuite University, Team Members). What was the reasoning behind this and how has it affected your program performance?

Jaxon Lam:

We understand that our affiliate partners are the foundation to our programs and we want to reward them accordingly for their support and hard work.

We offer 100% commission on the first sale and a $5 first sale bonus if the sale was the affiliates first sale with our program. The offer does not differ from product to product and the 100% commission on the initial sale/payment ensures that our publishers are compensated for their marketing efforts that lead to sales. Essentially, when our publishers send us a paid referral, we (HootSuite) take that first payment and give it right back to our publishers.

 

CJ: You guys have a nice selection of creative assets—banners, etc.—is that an important part of your marketing strategy and do you carry the same approach across all channels or do you treat affiliate as its own channel?

Jaxon Lam:

Creatives speak to our brand and our branding is very important to us. We have an awesome marketing and community team at HootSuite and they have done a tremendous job of creating a brand that is loved and recognized around the world.

We have seen success with other types of publishers as well, but the content websites drive the bus. We continuously analyze our publisher data to optimize the programs and we have been able to increase our publisher earnings by 1100% over the last 12 months. That's good, right?

With that in mind, I like to provide on-brand, visually stimulating creatives to our publishers to give a visual component that they can use to support their HootSuite affiliate campaigns. The affiliate channel is very different from our other channels and as such, we treat it as its own to ensure that we are providing materials that speak specifically to our affiliate related audience.

 

CJ: I really like how you've set up your affiliate landing page and FAQ's. What other tools and services do you provide to the publishers you work with?

Jaxon Lam:

We constantly work towards providing a seamless onboarding experience for all of our publishers. We include several resources to our publishers upon approval to our program such as tips on how to get started, tactics to maximize their campaigns and insights about HootSuite Pro that will provide value to their audiences.

As the program manager, I am very hands-on and try to connect with as many publishers as possible to help them create valuable content for their audience. We do have a lot of publishers though, so my outreach to our publishers is done in a very strategic manner and with a personal, manual touch.

 

CJ: What types of publishers have had success promoting HootSuite?

Jaxon Lam:

As a Freemium SaaS product, the marketing and strategy for our affiliate program is very different from that of an e-commerce business with a tangible product. The obvious and most successful publishers are content marketers such as social media, tech blogs and review websites that create unique content about HootSuite Pro. We have seen success with other types of publishers as well, but the content websites drive the bus.

We continuously analyze our publisher data to optimize the programs and we have been able to increase our publisher earnings by 1100% over the last 12 months. That's good, right?

 

CJ: If you had one tip for what affiliate publishers can and should be doing in social, what would it be?

Jaxon Lam:

Focus on promoting your brand and building your online community, not your products or services. Once you create that connection with your audience, the rest will take care of itself.

 

Heading to Affiliate Summit West 2013? CJ will be there in Exhibit Hall booths 314/415 and Jaxon will too! If you would like to meet to chat with Jaxon, you can find him at the Affiliate Summit networking events or by scheduling a time with him in advance.

 

About HootSuite:

HootSuite is a social media management system for businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one secure, web-based dashboard. Launch marketing campaigns, identify and grow audience, and distribute targeted messages using HootSuite's unique social media dashboard. Streamline team workflow with scheduling and assignment tools and reach audiences with geo-targeting functionality. Invite multiple collaborators to manage social profiles securely, plus provide custom reports using the comprehensive social analytics tools for measurement. Key social network integrations include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ Pages, plus a suite of social content apps for YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr and more.

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