SocialAppsHQ, the largest Facebook app store, enables companies to run 360° social media marketing campaigns through their apps, planner and ads. Meet Rajat Garg, its CEO, in this exclusive interview.
Cendrine Marrouat: Hello Rajat, thank you for answering my questions. As a starter, tell us a little bit about you.
Rajat Garg: I graduated from DCE followed by a MS at Stanford University in 2005. As product Manager at Amazon, I was responsible for the conceptualization and launch of aStore, Amazon data feed and the internationalization of various affiliate marketing products. I have also worked as General Manager for Real Estate Business Unit at a Seattle startup DataSphere before starting SocialAppsHQ.
CM: How was SocialAppsHQ born? And who are the other members of the team?
RG: In my previous role, we were looking at several SMBs trying to figure out how to leverage new mediums as big companies like Starbucks and Southwest Airlines were. We founded SocialAppsHQ to enable a large number of small businesses to leverage new mediums (social or mobile). We started in 2011, and have offices in the United States and India, where our team of go getters work hard to provide innovative solutions to SMBs across the globe.
About the Team Members:
- Puneet Sharma did his Masters at Delhi University in 2006. He joined, Bharti Telesoft (later, renamed to Comviva Technologies) as a Software Programmer and worked on their flagship product “hellotunes – Airtel India”. Puneet is VP of Technology at SocialAppsHQ and his main focus lies at product development.
- Tony Pullen received his education from Portland State University. After following a few hard working years in the real estate industry, he landed in Seattle working for DataSphere. Tony is Director of Business Development at SocialAppsHQ and his main focus is to grow the company in all areas.
CM: What makes SocialAppsHQ different from other companies designing apps specifically for Facebook Fan Pages?
RG: We realize that social media campaigns involve a lot more than building apps and thus, we provide 360° solutions which include social ad optimization as well as our newly released Social Planner.
Some of the key differentiators are:
a) Largest App store and affordable pricing: We offer a whole ecosystem of apps and a company can leverage them to power their marketing campaigns at a fraction of the cost. Also, all our apps have integrated viral features such as comments, sharing and inviting your friend. Users also have an option to internationalize our Contests and Sweepstakes apps in their own preferred language.
b) Social Planner that enables you to schedule your post across multiple profiles and accounts (LinkedIn / Twitter / Facebook pages and profiles). Best of all, it’s completely free!
c) Social Ad optimization: We have enabled a large number of clients to run effective ads that not only get you likes but also help you with lead generation, e.g. getting people to test drive your car or, register for a doctor’s appointment.
With the 1 million pages using our apps, we have evolved and gained deep knowledge of social platforms, and it is unmatchable.
CM: Facebook is always evolving. How challenging is it to keep up with those changes?
RG: It comes as part of the territory. We have to realize that social media is a whole concept in itself and that Facebook is one component of it (albeit the largest one). Today, social media is about finding your customers wherever they are and understanding what they care about. Then, delivering them the right product or solution whether they are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blog, Pinterest, or anywhere else. I also think that a whole new field of social design is coming up, which is still not understood well (think onsite search engine optimization).
CM: How many people use your apps? And which apps are the most popular?
RG: Currently our apps are live on over 1 million Facebook pages. Amongst 29+ Facebook apps, Contest, Coupon and Sweepstake are on popular demand. Given the demand, we have done internationalization of these popular apps.
Amongst our vertical apps, Hotel, My Restaurant, Real Estate and Rent your Home apps are also very popular. They help you leverage the Facebook platform to increase their brand value and drive new customer acquisition.
CM: How have you used social media to create a buzz about SocialAppsHQ?
RG: Social Media is the only platform which has the ability to rally people together for a cause or idea: in other words to create buzz. We have used social media platforms in many ways to create buzz about SocialAppsHQ.
a) Facebook – Currently we have around 264K+ likes on our page. We engage our fans through contests, sweepstakes, social media tips and by playing some interesting games like social scrabble. It is also an effective medium to communicate product and company related updates.
b) Blog – We also write articles to provide some useful insights on various social media marketing and Facebook Apps related topics.
c) Twitter – SocialAppsHQ is also present on Twitter. We have connected our blog, Facebook and LinkedIn with our Twitter account and keep updating our users about daily activity.
CM: What is next for you? Any plan to design apps for other social networks?
RG: We are constantly innovating. We recently launched Social Planner and Social Reader. Right now, we are working on something very exciting that exactly addresses what you are asking about – it should be live in next couple of months.
CM: Any last words?
RG: We will be coming with a lot more new apps for our users. So stay tuned with SocialAppsHQ to get updates on our new launches!