Jorge: How did your entrepreneurial journey begin and what was the vision behind building Socedo
Aseem: My entrepreneurial journey began in college when I built a social network called Scriptovia (a social network for students). Scriptovia was really what got me to understand the foundation of social media and how it works. Keep in mind that this is when Myspace was the main social network and YouTube was just becoming a big deal. I learned a lot about how to leverage social media in order to get customers and grow a businesses.
From that knowledge, I created Uptown Treehouse, which is a social media- marketing agency. Uptown inadvertently led us to the creation of Socedo because we identified that there were a lot of brands and marketers who were looking at social media from a very traditional perspective. That means all they wanted to do was get as many followers as possible, and then broadcast their marketing messages out to them. What we really wanted to do was to use the power of social media to drive sales and build relationships. We saw the power in engaging in a one-on-one conversation on social media and how that played into moving people down the sales pipeline.
We started to build internal software at Uptown Treehouse that essentially helped to manage relationships and show ROI. We saw a lot of success in that and we decided to pull that software out, in order to help other companies and that’s essentially what Socedo is today.
Jorge: How has social media changed lead generation and content marketing?
Aseem: It has allowed us to be a lot more targeted. Before social media you didn’t know much about who your customer was, now you have all of these rich profiles that tell you what your customer is thinking about and reading in real-time, how they describe themselves on Linkedin, their location, what their past experience has been. Compare that to lead generation even 5 years ago where you would just buy a list of somebody’s title, the company they work at, their contact information, and that was it. Now you get all of this information that you can target people with. That’s one way; the second way is the actual communication on social media.
Before, people got together at meet-ups, events, and conferences. You would shake hands and that’s how you meet strangers who were potential prospects and leads. Social media has now brought that all online so you’re able to interact like you would at an event. Social media allows for conversations you could/would have had at conferences to happen year-round.
In terms of content marketing, it used to be about search engines. You put content online, people find it because they search keywords. Now with social media, people can share your content, so your message is able to go a lot further. People are able to Tweet about it, share it on LinkedIn, blog about it etc.
You’re also able to now target people who would be looking for that type of information. Who is in a group where your white paper would be useful to them? Who’s Tweeting something that’s similar to your interests? From that you would know they have an interest in reading about your content, and you can be much more proactive about getting your content into these peoples hands.
Jorge: How can a sales or marketing team gauge level of interest or sentiment using social media?
Aseem: I think there’s two ways. One is level of interest: are they Tweeting or posting about your space or topic area? Before, you would buy a list of CIOs, but you didn’t know what they cared about or were focused on at the time. Now you know if that CIO is posting about ‘bring your own device implementation’ or a topic along those lines you know what his/her interests are. Instead of going through a list, you’re able to determine who would actually care about your product or service.
The second way is behavior: what we do at Socedo is we ping users, we do some light engagements around what users were already talking about, and then we see if they follow you back. We see if they RT you, or click on your link. It’s a lot more behavioral in that we try to figure out if they’re actually interested in what you’re about and what your company does.
On one hand are they Tweeting about your topic area and two, are they engaging with you in more of a lighter means because they have interest in what you’re doing.
Jorge: What is Socedo and what does it do really well?
Aseem: Socedo is essentially a top of the pipeline lead generation platform that looks for all the signals that we talked about above. It then uses automation to engage with and qualify leads even further. We give you a platform to find your target audience on social media, engage with them automatically. You’re able to fill your sales pipeline with people who never knew about you before and are interested in what you’re doing.
We also save you time through using engagement automation and real time searches so you don’t have to manually go through each person’s profile or start a conversation. Socedo brings you all of that information and ability. It scales the way you’re able to do prospecting on social media and creates a process for you, which I feel a lot businesses are lacking today. A lot of people starting on social media don’t know where to go since there’s so much going on or they don’t know what to say, Socedo automates that and makes an intimidating process really easily.
Jorge: Is Socedo more of an inside sales or marketing tool?
Aseem: It’s a little bit more of a marketing tool. It’s more top of the pipeline since marketing is looking for people who are interested in their product, getting their contact information and passing that off to inside sales. So really, marketing is what’s running Socedo. Socedo is a way to add the leads that inside sales would then be getting on the phone with and working through the transactional sales process.
Jorge: Who is Socedo’s ideal customer?
It’s normally a B2B business that has some sort of sales team or business development group who, in most cases, have an active target audience on social media. Usually the best way to define that is people who are already doing content marketing. They already have gated content, eBooks, whitepapers, webinars, etc. Those are the people who Socedo would be a great fit for because it’s the type of scenario where you know you have an audience that’s active online and who are looking for information. Socedo plugs into that system seamlessly.
Jorge: What advice would you give an early stage founder launching a b2b startup? For example, what should they be focusing on early on?
Aseem: It’s all about customer development. It’s all about figuring out who your target audience is, and what is the specific problem that you can solve for them. I would say, research that, talk to those people, understand what their pain point is, really understand what they’re willing to pay for and get them to pay for it up front.
Be as targeted as possible. The more specific your market is and the more specific your problem is and the more you’re able to put a value on this. Be able to explain the value. Any business that you’re selling to, the only way you can create value is either by increasing revenue or decreasing cost. So you have to figure out where you are in that equation and what the value is. If you can figure that out, then it’s pretty easy to become a B2B business that’s relatively successful.
Jorge: Any thing else that you would like to share with our readers about you or Socedo?
Aseem: We’ve just launched the first version of our product complete with a new mobile app and new reporting capabilities. We would love it if you would give it a try. We have a 30-day trial, and it’s really easy to go in, put some keywords in that describe your target audience and see what kind of leads come back.