Get Involved: Taking the Leap into Social Applications
Do you have a Facebook business page or a vested interest in making social work, but struggling to go from blah to awesome? Involver has you covered.
From basic (and free) to gloriously robust and tackling deeper social challenges, Involver scales with your business at any size or stage. Below are Q/A highlights from our ongoing interview series Think Big, Act Small. Learn how Involver benefits startups and SMBs to accelerate brand awareness and content distribution via social.
Interviewer: Michelle Fitzgerald
Interviewee: Roland Smart
A SMB or early-stage startup kicking off social media has a lot of options these days ranging from app providers, to social listening solutions, to mini CMS (content management system) tools. Some are also free, some not. Why select Involver?
First off , Involver truly has the most popular Application Suite on the Facebook platform; our apps are on more pages than any other provider. We also have a freemium model so it’s quick to get up and running with a basic solution with making a huge (financial) investment upfront.
Second, we now offer a visual authoring solution that’s perfect for small businesses because it’s possible to create custom Facebook applications without involving a developer.
Third, we are a growth platform, which means our customers don’t need to switch technology providers as they grow. Switching costs are a significant resource constraint and can slow small businesses down.
SML (social markup language) is a key value prop for Involver. To the average business owner or startup that might sound pretty technical (or complicated.) What is it, practically speaking, and why should the startup (marketing) community care?
Think of SML as Social HTML. If you have front-end developers on your team who are already using HTML, this will jumpstart what they can do with social applications. But SML isn’t just for developers. Involver also has a product called Visual SML, which is a drag-and-drop solution for creating customer pages without writing a line of code. As the name suggests, Visual SML gives our customers the benefits of SML without needing additive technical resources.
Involver offers much more than Facebook apps. What’s the logic for such and how does the larger value prop translate to the startup community?
Involver offers a set of technologies for managing your social channels. Broadly speaking this includes solutions for managing conversations, as well as solutions for application development. We see social media as a virtuous cycle that starts with community engagement through conversation (e.g. publishing and monitoring).
Many brands focus on just the conversation piece for quite a while before investing in apps. But once brands understand their social community they will typically engage more deeply through applications. As these users (customers) expand their efforts, they have a single interface with Involver for managing social, which is why we call Involver “mission control for social media”.
Visual storytelling and content curating have become widely popular (and successful) via social platforms such as Pinterest and Storyful. How does the Involver product suite plan to (or already) enable social listening for those platforms?
Social Markup Language (SML) is a flexible development layer that simplifies incorporating new services like Pinterest. We’ve already seen some of our customers doing this on their pages.
At the moment, this is a very lightweight use of these service. Moving forward I would expect Involver to incorporate more functionality based on customer demand. At Involver, we balance the investments we make in bleeding-edge functionality with investments that we believe will have real value for existing customers.
One of my favorite Involver apps is the Klout Coupon, allowing business owners (and large brands) to reward social influence amongst fans and peers. Just how beneficial has the Klout Coupon been to the marketing community? Would you recommend it for SMBs/startups?
Our integration with Klout has made a significant impact because marketers are always looking for new ways to reach the most influential people in their community. We’re also just about the only game in town for implementing applications with Klout on Facebook. All that said, I’m actually surprised that we haven’t seem more apps using the functionality. I suspect this is because Klout is still growing their … well … clout. So, brands that leverage this functionality are typically targeting tech-savvy audiences that understand the value of online influence. That is a growing, but still a relatively small market.
To start using Involver for your small business or startup, please visit here.
Roland Smart is a social marketing and product leader based in San Francisco, CA. Smart leads the marketing department for Involver, a leading Facebook Marketing Developer that powers more pages on Facebook than any other platform.
During his tenure, he has supported a four-fold growth of platform adoption and a two-fold growth in revenues. He has a broad range of experience with social technology and advertising and has a couple startups under his belt including Sprout/AdVine (acquired by InMobi) a leading social/mobile ad creation platform. In addition, he worked at Adaptive Path a user experience design firm focused on bringing great user experiences to enterprise-level technology platforms. Previous to that, he worked on the brand side as part of the startup team at Adina For Life (started by Odwalla founder Greg Steltenpohl), a successful San Francisco-based beverage company. He blogs about social marketing for Involver and on his personal site rolandsmart.com. Twitter: @rsmartx
About Michelle FitzgeraldA product evangelist with over twelve years of traditional and emerging marketing experience. Provides FT and PT consultative services to the startup community to help brands develop a better understanding of what drives results (analytics), what drives connections (branding/PR/social media) and what drives revenue (performance marketing/media). Past and current work experience includes Tout, StyleStalk, iCharts, MyBuys, Zinio, Yahoo!, the LA Times and CareerBuilder. Michelle also publishes ebooks, regularly contributes to Upmarket Magazine, speaks at industry events and guest blogs.
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