Who among your assorted social media peeps is channeling their inner Ashton Kutcher?
Rocking some serious online influence, that is. Not getting publicly outed as a [alleged] big, dirty… um… Demi disappointer.
The people behind newly-minted Australian start-up, SocialShout!, reckon they’ve struck upon the best way to flag regular folk with maximum social media clout.
Here’s how it works: users earn points based on how connected and how active they are across social networks. When influencers join your SocialShout! Leaderboard, you’ll be able to identify them sharpish. Plus, you can offer special discounts, deals and offers to users based on their SocialShout! points.
Social media fans can play their part in shaping the new service. Sign up to SocialShout! before November 30 and you’re guaranteed an invite to the site’s Beta launch.
Where the SocialShout! journey began
SocialShout! is the brainchild of a mysterious fellow who goes only by the name of Trent, a self-described 41-year-old “first-time entrepreneur.”
His social media journey to date goes like so: “I had an idea. Being a non-techhie, I found a friend of friend who had an IT company and paid him to build me a prototype, just to make sure that what I figured could be done, could actually be done.”
And just what was the big idea?
“Why isn’t there a frequent flyer program for the social graph?”
“That question morphed a little and became ‘Why isn’t there a reward system for the social graph?’”
“Everyone in the world has a circle of friends. Within that small circle, we all have varying degrees of influence.”
“Now, with the social networks, ‘Average Joes’ have an easy tool to talk with their circle or their social graph. So, why not give the ‘Average Joe’ access to freebies, discounts, etc based on his activity and connections across his social graph?”
“If brands could get to lots of ‘Average Joes’ and give them some incentives to be brand advocates, the net effect should be far greater than from a few high profile endorsements. The problem with this has always been scale.”
“Next, I set about trying to shoot holes in the idea”
Only silly sausages assume everything about their new business idea is rock-solid gold. That’s why Trent went looking for flaws.
“Didn’t take long to find them!”
“If there’s a chance for free stuff, scammers would set up lots of dummy accounts and use all sorts of other tricks to game the system. What brand/merchant would give stuff away if they can’t see a return or if the system is full of scammers?”
“Then I figured, if there are no freebies, only discounts, we would automatically exclude a lot of the scammers. If they actually have to spend some real money to buy something, we know they’re real.”
Obstacle numero dos: “How can we make sure merchants get some value from it?”
“We need to make sure that the users tell their friends. We can’t just hope they will. That’s when the idea of the Shout! came up.”
“Each time a user redeems points for a discount, we can post an automatic update to all of their social networks so that all of their social graph will get a message from their friend.”
“Now we’re generating word of mouth advertising across the social networks for brands and merchants. This must be a good thing for them.”
“Since then, there have been lots of little ideas like the Leaderboards, Private Message Boards, Delayed Shouts!, Generic Shouts!, etc etc.”
Keeping both buyers and sellers happy
Trent (who has a day job, and doesn’t want to reveal his true identity) believes SocialShout! has struck upon the perfect formula to keep both buyers and sellers happy.
“I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want a discount. So, we figure the user acquisition on the buyer side should be relatively easy. Especially as there is a viral element built into the concept, i.e. you join a Leaderboard or redeem your points and the Shout! goes out to your social graph.”
“User acquisition on the seller side is a little trickier. Our plan is to target merchants who sell the type of products that people are more likely to talk about on the social networks. Products that have loyal fans. Products that evoke some emotion. Even better if these are products that have a natural… competitor so that this rivalry could create more discussion across the networks. iPad vs Samsung Galaxy Tab; Nike vs Reebok; Xbox vs PS3 vs Wii”
Early industry buzz bodes well for SocialShout! In March of this year the company attended and won Startup Weekend Bangalore. It’s also been selected to take part in the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Technology Idea Competition.
“Actually, in all seriousness, this is a concept that should be able to scale internationally. Right now, I just want to focus on building something of value for both key stakeholders – buyers and sellers. I want to give merchants a tool to help grow their business through word of mouth promotion across the social networks.”
“I also want to create a platform where the ‘Average Joe’ can get some recognition and reward for the influence he has across his own small social network. Most importantly, I want this exchange to be real and genuine.”
“Real people, buying real products from real merchants and sharing the experience with their real friends.”