Jason Weaver has 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, and innovator. He has worked in the social-media strategy development field since its inception, for brands that include Disney, SC Johnson, and eBay. He is also the founder and CEO of Shoutlet, an enterprise social-management software company.
Cendrine Marrouat: Hello Jason, thank you for answering my questions. First, what is Shoutlet?
Jason Weaver: Shoutlet is a social marketing platform that helps companies make the most of their marketing campaigns on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest. It’s a do-it-yourself software that serves as the hub for all social activity, making it very easy to create, monitor and manage campaigns. It also includes functionalities that brands can use to build contests and design visuals for their campaigns all within the interface.
I founded the company almost three years ago, after working on the agency side and realizing that my clients didn’t have, but wanted and needed a tool that could do what Shoutlet does.
Since the inception of the company, we’ve seen the explosion of social media in the everyday lives of consumers and there’s been tremendous opportunity for brands to capitalize on this channel to connect with their fans. Our customers make up some of the biggest brands out there and they use Shoutlet software to better engage with their fans and learn more about them with our analytics tools.
CM: People can use Shoutlet to manage Facebook Fan Pages. Would you tell us a little more about that?
JW: Facebook Fan Pages are a great way for brands to not only identify their biggest advocates via the ‘like’ button, but use the page to share everything from promotions/deals, solicit feedback on products, and respond to fan questions. For consumers, it’s their direct access pass to engaging with a brand and we’ve seen our customers use fan pages as a great customer service tool.
With the Shoutlet platform, brands can use the Social Canvas feature to design fan pages and graphics in an easy drag-and-drop template to promote a campaign or product. After campaigns have been designed, brands easily manage activity and engagement with their fans with tools like Social CRM, Social Switchboard and Social Profiles, measuring the effectiveness of those campaigns using Shoutlet’s cutting edge Social Analytics tool.
CM: Facebook recently released a new feature allowing users to receive a notification every time a Page they have liked posts a new update. In an article you wrote for the Shoutlet Blog, you mention that the feature “puts more control in consumers’ hands.” What do you mean, exactly?
JW: For quite a while, Facebook users would like a fan page and either feel like they were being bombarded with unwanted posts OR frustrated that they were missing out because they didn’t see all fan page posts in their newsfeed. This was frustrating and with the new opt-in features, fans can individualize their post-viewing preferences. The customer experience and how they engage with a brand can only educate the brand about what resonates with its fan base and what does not.
CM: A lot of Page owners are less than impressed with this new feature. They claim that it is an extra step for both their followers and themselves. A step that may not give them any result, since so many fans cannot see their updates anymore. Is it too little too late or a step in the right direction? Is Facebook backing down?
JW: There are a few different ways to look at this, but ultimately, I believe Facebook offered this so that the user experience continues to be what the users want, not what brands want. And that’s the way it should be. Yes, the opt-in features can be challenging to brands that can’t seem to infiltrate the news feed but at the same time, this is the best way for brands to identify and engage with the fans that care most about their updates. Those are the fans that are more likely to make purchases, share promotions and deals within their networks and overall become that valuable customer they want.
CM: Ultimately, how do you think this feature will affect consumers and brands?
JW: I touched on this a bit earlier but ultimately, this gives consumers the power to tailor their Facebook experience how they want it. And for brands, it opens up opportunity for find and understand their brand advocates.
CM: ccording to you, what changes can we expect from Facebook in the near future? And how can brands best prepare for them?
JW: It’s hard to say but it’s clear that Facebook is under more financial pressure now that they are a publicly traded company. They have to continue to discover ways to make the platform profitable and relevant, so brands see the value in investing time and resources marketing on the platform.
That said, there will likely be changes in the ads space to boost and restructure the revenue model.
CM: Is there anything you would like to add?
Facebook has been truly innovative in brand management and marketing, opening up access between brands and individuals/consumers in a way we’ve never seen before. It has completely changed the game in how brands market themselves and there’s a lot of opportunity for revenue generation.
Our customers have taken note and with Shoutlet’s platform, have made a lot of progress in growing brand recognition, boosting sales and developing direct relationships with those that like them most.
For more information on Shoutlet, visit www.shoutlet.com.