It’s hard to imagine a world without social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have come to shape our lives, with digital interactions fast outpacing face-to-face meetings. Ten years ago, when Facebook boasted just 100 million users and Twitter had only 6 million on the books, few predicted how rapidly social channels would transform our day-to-day habits.
Ryan Holmes, however, had that foresight. The founder and CEO of Hootsuite—a social media dashboard that permits scheduling of posts and insights into their performance—saw the upcoming need for a tool to aggregate a person’s social platforms into one place. Brands had started to advertise on the nascent Facebook and Twitter, and Holmes and his partners at digital ad agency Invoke realized early on that clients found it tough to manage all their campaigns.
A decade later, Hootsuite is celebrating its 10-year anniversary as the most recognized social media management platform, with clients such as HBO, White House administrations, and Facebook itself.
“The truth was we started Hootsuite as a way to scratch our own itch,” Holmes says. “At the time we were running social media accounts for a lot of brands, and it was a struggle to keep track of all the log-ins across all of their social media accounts. We thought there must be a better way, and when we discovered there wasn’t, we built it.”
Launched on November 28, 2008, Hootsuite first operated for free. Two years later, it had a million customers. Today, more than 17 million people use the service, and the company’s offerings tap into a range of markets. As well as being available for individuals, the organization has tailored plans for small and medium-sized businesses, and enterprise-level clients like governments and agencies. Still headquartered in Vancouver, the company now employs 1,000 people across 14 international offices.
“The past decade has been an exceptional ride,” says Holmes. “We’ve been fueled by our customers and their success, and we can’t wait to invent the future of social with our customers over the next decade.”
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