Legal Blog

A Video Conversation with Brian Razzaque, CEO of SocialToaster- Part 2

Click here for Part 1 Empowering brands and artists with social marketing that turns fans into superfans Brian Razzaque is the CEO of SocialToaster, a social media marketing platform designed for brands and artists to leverage the influence of their biggest fans. SocialToaster’s engagement platform amplifies the reach and visibility of “superfans,” equipping clients with word-of-mouth, content-sharing ambassadors. Clients can track their results in real time with the platform’s advanced analytics and reporting capabilities. Some of SocialToaster’s most successful campaigns include partnerships with AARP, A&E’s Duck Dynasty, the United Nations, Perdue Chicken, and the Baltimore Ravens   Could you guide us through how SocialToaster works? At its core, SocialToaster is a marketing platform that enables our clients to basically run fan engagement and fan loyalty reward programs. There’s a lot behind that, and there are some things that we do that are very unique to us that make us stand out, but if you strip it all away, what do we do? We run fan engagement programs for clients. When you look at the competitive landscape, there’s probably a dozen or so companies that are in this engagement space. The key difference between us and most of them relates to what problem are you actually trying to solve. When a brand says, “We want to launch a fan engagement program,” or “we want to launch a fan loyalty program,” what is the reason? Why are they doing that? Most of them and most of our competitors try to solve something that we call the “engagement problem.” The engagement problem basically says, “I have a million fans on Facebook and none of them come back to my Facebook page. How can I get people to come back to Facebook and interact with whatever I’m posting on Facebook? Or on Twitter, or whatever the owned social channel is. I personally view that as a relatively useless problem to solve, because my experience has been that very few transactions ultimately occur because somebody went to an owned social channel. Now that’s not to say that there’s not some benefit from having the overall noise around your brand go up through social media. There absolutely is some value there, but if it comes down to what’s important. For most businesses what’s important is driving a transaction, whether it’s lead generation, whether it’s a sale—something of that nature—they want something meaningful to happen. We don’t look at it as a problem of engagement. We look at it as a different problem—we think of it as a content problem. We’re trying to solve the problem of how do you take content you’re publishing online, somewhere on the web, and how do you make it go viral? If you produce this video or you produce a blog post, how would you drive buzz around that? Well, what you normally would do is you’d email blast your email list and say, “Check out my latest article” or you would post something to Facebook—and nowadays you have to promote it so that your fans actually see it, and say, “Hey, check out this article, please share it with your friends.” The reality is that that’s a one-on-one conversation and it rarely drives any sort of viral activity. That’s what we do: we streamline the sharing process so people are actually sharing the content to their friends in a true, authentic word-of-mouth fashion. By doing that, we again think of it as more of a fan mobilization and content amplification problem—that’s what we do. We allow you, at a single click of a button, to mobilize tens of thousands of people to all share exactly what it is you want them to share. And the result is that it’s far more likely to lead to a transaction. That’s how we distinguish ourselves.   How did you initially go out and get clients? Early on, just to prove value and get traction in the space, we would go directly to the client and find clients that were willing to take a chance on us. We did a lot of pilot programs, but now that the platform’s proven out and we have the case studies and track records, this is what we’re doing. We’re definitely working and we have a formal agency program. We are very excited to be launching an agency version of our platform that will allow agencies to actually launch their own instances and manage their own clients on our platform. So that right now is in beta, and we will be launching fully early of next year. Part of our SMB rollout, or the Self Service rollout, is a number of integrations with various ecosystem partners. We have an integration with WordPress that we’re launching, we have an integration with Salesforce App Exchange we’re going to be launching, we have an integration with Hootsuite we’re working on, we can integrate with marketing automation systems like Pardot or Eloqua or Marketo… So, like I said we solve a very particular problem but we complement all of the other activities that are going on. We can do full closed-loop tracking, so as your advocates are sharing content if one of their friends clicks a link, goes to your website, and then becomes a lead, we can, in your CRM, show you that that lead came as a warm word-of-mouth referral from Brian Razzaque through his LinkedIn page, because of this specific piece of content that he shared. So you actually have that background knowledge and that’s all available inside of your CRM. If you’re dealing with marketing automation, we can also then tie that into the lead scoring, so that lead that comes in can be scored higher because it’s a warm referral versus a cold lead from the Internet. Those are the types of features that we have the capability for now, and as we scale out, there will be modules that you’ll be able to download and install from the different marketplaces for the different solutions.

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