Say a sneaker brand is looking for a spokesperson and wants to see how many followers the two have in common on Twitter, or an apparel brand is running a surprise-and-delight campaign and needs to quickly identify verified accounts of users who are located in a certain geo and are fans of a certain musician.
“In theory, you could give an intern what would be the most annoying job in the world – but, really, that kind of filtering just isn’t feasible to do manually,” said Taub.
The goal is to focus less on what people are talking about on social, and more on who they are.
“We’re making a big bet that audience is about to become as important, if not more important than, [as] creating content and broadcasting all day,” Taub said.
Take the American Red Cross. Last September, the nonprofit was looking to boost downloads and awareness of its new mobile blood donation app at a launch event held in Las Vegas. Red Cross used SocialRank to identify its most influential follower in the area, which turned out to be MMA fighter Wanderlei Silva, who “promoted the event and joined us that evening to lend his support,” said Curtis Midkiff, who at the time served as director of social engagement at Red Cross.
In his new position as senior adviser for social business strategy at Southwest Airlines, Midkiff and his team have also been experimenting with SocialRank.
“By leveraging the tool, we have been able to offer some unique experiences, including meet-and-greets with artists, as well as exclusive access to events we are sponsoring,” Midkiff said. “It has been a fun way to extend the hospitality that is an important part of Southwest’s DNA.”
David Caruso, chief operating officer at full-service creative agency United Entertainment Group, uses the tool for research and to pluck useful accounts from what can be an ocean of social noise.
“The data is out there, but it’s either not structured properly or highly fragmented, [and] it’s not always user-friendly or easy to query,” Caruso said. “[With this] we can do deep dives on clients we are pitching and oftentimes walk into a pitch with more information on their social followers than they have.”
Because social-media-as-megaphone is a passé strategy, said Kraut.
“Social is no longer just a ‘channel’ conversation for clients. [It] has become the primary voice to consumers for many brands, as well as a CRM/loyalty vehicle, research and insights engine, ecommerce driver and much more,” Kraut said. “Today, there are sophisticated ways to derive value for from social following, but it’s absolutely not about one-to-many messaging and communications anymore.”
SocialRank started life as a side project developed by Taub and his co-founder, Michael Schonfeld, in 2012 to help people pinpoint their most valuable Twitter followers. The duo left their jobs at payment processing startup Dwolla in 2014 to focus on SocialRank full-time.
The New York City-based company, which has five employees, raised a $1 million seed round in May 2014. In addition to Red Cross, Southwest, MRY and UEG, clients include Century 21, Bonobos, Juicy Couture, Uber, Instacart and Muhammad Ali.