HootSuite acquires Seesmic, a competitor in social media management for business

HootSuite acquires SeesmicManaging social media has become a huge part of every business’s marketing plan, and helping companies manage those social accounts has become a big business in itself. Case in point: HootSuite announced today that it has acquired Seesmic to grow its customer base of business users.

In case you’ve never used either, both HootSuite and Seesmic were competitors in the same space: providing social media tools to businesses, from the very to small to the Fortune 500. Both allow companies to manage all of their social networks from one centralized dashboard, and control and schedule content flow and updates. They also provide real-time tracking measurements to business customers, so that customers can see which messages work best with their audiences. Both services seek to streamline the process for companies with many social accounts and lots of folks using them.

The business model for HootSuite is its paying clients: $9.99 a month for “pro” accounts and a whitelabel enterprise solution for the big guys. In acquiring Seesmic, they’ve taken a customer acquisition shortcut: Seesmic has its own base of paying business customers that HootSuite is hoping will come on over and join their 5 million users.

But Seesmic also had lots of non-business customers, and HootSuite doesn’t necessarily want those folks. ┬áThose consumers will be directed back to using the native Twitter experience, including Tweetdeck, which Twitter purchased over a year ago. This is pretty squarely inline with Twitter’s recently-announced policy that they don’t want third parties creating applications for consumers. Twitter wants to own the consumer experience, but is OK with organizations like HootSuite creating tools for businesses to leverage Twitter further.

Curious how Twitter’s moves may affect your small business, or about how an application like HootSuite can help your small business? Stay tuned for our interview with HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes!