Earlier this week I had the opportunity to ask MavSocial founder , Matthew Holden, a few questions. His insight and plans for the future of MavSocial is inspiring.
As demand for engaging visual content and visual web experiences grows, so will the demand for the tools and platforms that make it all possible. Matthew and the team at MavSocial has a strong vision for that future and he shares it with us in this one on one interview.
What was the catalyst or what did you see that spurred you to create MavSocial?
The catalyst for me to really start MavSocial was because I saw so many platforms on the market. The dynamics of the social media industry were changing and they were continuing to change as they do today. I saw a opportunity where the combination of video, photos, and imagery wasn’t being fully addressed by the major players. As a result of that I saw the ability to combine the content side of things with the publishing component, and that’s the market niche that MavSocial has been focusing on.
With so many social tools available these days to marketers what makes MavSocial different?
There’s a plethora of tools on the market today. So many that I see, so many potential buyers just being overwhelmed, is probably the best word, by choice that’s out there. It’s very difficult. Tools have to make a business impact. You don’t acquire tools for the sake of tools’ sake. What sets us apart significantly is the fact that we’ve got the ability to integrate the most common and the most requested components of being a successful social media marketer all in the one platform.
When we talk about a visual social or content experience – or creating one – where do you see this experience moving over the next 1-5 years ?
It’s all integrated. You don’t have to go to third party stock houses. We have Getty Images built in to our platform. You don’t have to have a separate editor for your photos; it’s all built into our platform. You don’t have to store your photos on your local hard drive or on a thumb drive, or an someone else’s computer. Everything’s in one cloud-based system, and of course when it then comes to planning your campaigns you can plan your social media campaigns and your posts with your colleagues to be able to save time and save money, and be far more efficient. Quite frankly, for social marketers our tool enables them to get back to what they should be doing, which is focusing on the design and development, not so much being caught up in technology.
The social or content experience is undergoing rapid transformation. I’ve commonly been asked in relation to what’s … what do we see things happening in the next few years. I see a great change happening. Certainly I believe that photographs, a picture, will still have higher value than a video in the foreseeable future. Where I see changes happening in the market though will be more reliant on technologists more so than consumers – the consumers are businesses and so forth – because the most important part of what’s happening is the analytics and the psychodynamics and interpretation of photographic images I think will go to a much higher level.
The days of using a wobbly iPhone to get some photos and some images still has its place, but the demand for users as they flick through the microseconds that you’re going to be get attention is going to have a shift to the industry which is going to force marketers to have a greater attention to detail in production, selecting images, and of course more importantly, being able to really focus and have a key on-target messaging.
There’s going to be some technical changes. I see consolidation in 2015. There are too many platforms out there for the market. I think a lot of consumers will see quite a few vendors go out of business, but more importantly there will be a lot more mergers and acquisitions within the sector.
The vision for MavSocial of playing within the sector of what I call the sea of change that’s going to happen in 2015-2016 is we want to be at the forefront of this. We are a fast growth emerging company. We’re based in San Francisco. One of the significant differences is is that our business has a great pool of talent and highly experienced managers where we’ve worked in industry for quite some time. We’ve had the experience of mergers and acquisitions, managing fast growth companies, and we’re constantly recruiting to bring people to our team to be able to take us to that next level.
As far as I’m concerned, team is everything. I just love talking to all the various people I come across, see all their various skills. Obviously some people have some skills that we can certainly take advantage of and work together. That’s wonderful to have them to be able to come and join us and to take us on our exciting journey that we look for in the forthcoming periods that is going to happen over 2015.
From a purely features-oriented perspective of MavSocial there are just so many. Marketers today have so much challenge. It is the most difficult thing in the world at the moment, but also the most rewarding, to be in social media marketing right now. One of the reasons that it’s a challenge at the present time is you have to do more with less. There are constant changes, and if we look at the second half of 2014 there have been so many changes to the Facebook algorithm, Google search algorithm. Twitter is having some significant changes. We’ve just had Twitter for small business come out with a myriad of new features that are available.
Now, these are wonderful, and of course the networks are the real driving force of the entire industry, so its incumbent upon vendors such as ourselves who customers put their trust in our brand and our product, it’s incumbent, and I’m very much aware of that, on us to be able to keep at the forefront of what’s happening, enhance our product, and being a fast growth, nimble company. We can adapt to what’s happening quickly, and that is our goal and our objective.
We’re able to do these things, so on the features level really I suppose the key areas would be along the lines of having one single repository of all your content to where you can manage everything all under the one umbrella instead of losing pieces of content that you had in the past, photos, videos. Instead of them still being stuck on your iPhone they should be on a centralized platform that you can use and harness for social media.
Our content library is right up there. Within the content library you’ve got storage and tagging and metadata. There’s a photo editing platform built in, a video platform coming along very shortly. So that you can do some high level editing to images and to video to be able to really improve the quality of what you’re wanting to do.
What features would you like to have in the future or do you feel will become increasingly important as you grow?
We have our campaign planner. Just that one component alone, the ability to plan in advance and schedule what our campaigns should and would be looking like is a fantastic feature. It’s not available in other platforms to the approach that we’ve taken it where you can use it across time zones, break it down by post to certain days and periods and weeks. The whole idea is instead of being reactive with social media marketing, the MavSocial tool set enables our users to be more proactive in their marketing approach, to get a handle on what we can do in the future.
Admittedly, of course, because of time pressure a lot of users are pressed for time. It’s a tough gig to do and they are pressed for time, and sometimes they can’t utilize it to the fullest extent, but when they do – and a lot of users have given us feedback that they sit down, they do their next one, two months activities – it has significant advantages and works really well for them.
The third element on the feature set is we don’t have in-depth analytics within our platform. We took a very different approach. Our approach for our users is we want to save them time, so we created pre-formatted reports, reports that give over 200 different touch points from different analytics components such as Google Analytics and Facebook and so forth. We brought them all together into one, easy to read report.
That’s a big difference, because I don’t want to have to trawl through reams and reams of data of various reports coming into me. I want to see one page. What’s happening? What’s working? What were the latest comments? What are the trends? Which image is giving the best results? Which video’s getting the highest likes? I want to know that stuff in one easy to read report, and there’s a whole range of them available, depending on the subscription, that users can then use and get insight to be able to make reaction and alter their social media campaigns.
As I said, there’s going to be greater demand on social media marketers. The features that in the future I think that will become important to users to grow in social media is a smoother experience.
This is a challenge, not just for MavSocial, but for all developers. It is extremely challenging to have a fully integrated mobile web-based application across all the various platforms. Just this quarter we’ve had Apple release a whole new phone set which has changed that again, because we now have the larger format similar to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 for one example.
All of these make continual change to software developers. I see the integration of mobile development to web-based as being critical. I see the alerting and the ability to get greater reach will be very important. I also see another area where were looking to – this is something we’re working on as well – is around integration of advertising for the social networks, like Facebook ads. Business by the end of next year, despite what I call the initial reluctance to spend money to get any reach whatsoever, I see that as Facebook moves on and what changes they’re going to have in 2015 will demand that vendors such as ourselves keep up with that and make that as an offering to clients. Our target audience are small to medium businesses, mid-market businesses, and divisions of brands. They’re our target audiences and they are going to be wanting to have more and more features from us as well.
What does the future look like for MavSocial in the short term – what can users expect to see?
The future of MavSocial I have to say would be … there’s only one word to describe it and that’s bright. We’ve get a great pipeline. We’ve got a great roadmap of what’s happening. We’re a healthy, small, fast growth business. What we’re going to be wanting to achieve I suppose in relation to my vision of where I see a product, helping marketers and users to make their jobs easier and their businesses more productive. I have a roadmap coming down the path, pretty exciting in a lot of ways. I think obviously we want to hear from users. The user base is the best barometer of any product’s success, and we’ve seen time and time again where marketers and designers, with the best of intentions, release a product without market research.
I’m a little bit different. We get our product out there and as users give us the fantastic feedback we get, and we’ve got such a diverse user base and a user range across industries, once we get that back from them we alter and adapt our product accordingly. That’s a really important to be able to do.
Marcus Lemonis recently said that tech scares him as an investment because of the speed at which it moves – how do you keep up or stay ahead of the
changes and does the ever increasing speed of technology development keep you awake at night?
I think the comments from Marcus and his program, I couldn’t agree more. Whether I stay away from an investment, well, that’s not obviously our approach to the business, but as I was mentioning earlier. We have a very experienced management team, and that’s critically important when you have any sort of social … actually, when you have any sorts of high technology or software development platform. Software development is not easy. Anybody can start just code and makes things work and you can publish to Facebook. Anybody can do that. Not everybody can take it to the next level. That’s why we have so many publishing tool sets in the market today. But really, there’s only about top ten, top 12, social media publishing tool sets that have solidity, depth, management experience, product maturity, to be able to really work in a business-related environment.
Thankfully we are one of those, and we continue to stay in that place. With our enhancement and our roadmap I think it will bode quite well. I think Marcus’ comment in relation to the speed of development is critically important. Speed to marketers, also very important, but you’ve got to do it right. It’s the easiest thing in the world to rush something to market. The challenge is actually take it to the next level, and of course in a business sense where he was referring to, then what you’ve got to be able to is obviously build a profit and a product around that. Of course Marcus, he’s showing the profit, continually crystalizes and reinforces that.
What keeps me awake at night is the constant challenge of where the next opportunity lies. We have a very deliberate strategy where we have a very strong presence into the Chinese social media and Japanese social media publishing networks. Whilst I’m now based here in San Francisco, originally from Sydney, Australia. I believe so much in our product and the vision, and what we’re bringing to our clients that I moved my entire family from Sydney, Australia. I packed us all up and I made that big leap of faith of moving to San Francisco to show the market that we are here, we are committed, and we’re looking for opportunities to grow our business.
That’s a pretty big thing to do, but having done that we’ve also been developing our team. Our team is based in India. We have a presence in Hong Kong. For me the component that would keep me awake at night was [inaudible 00:17:37] where is the next opportunity that we can take advantage of. My training is one of keeping a light, lean company that we can adapt and change to market circumstance. It’s a matter of finding people who could fit that mold, because not everybody wants change, but change in social media is inevitable. If you’re not wanting to do that, then obviously this is a) not the right industry, and certainly MavSocial is probably not the right stage in your career at the moment. Those who are with us are [still up 18:13] people. They are the people who want to make a difference. That’s the caliber of type of person we’re looking to attract right now.
MavSocial has reached out to bloggers and others recently as part of an overall influencer strategy – how important is that and how does this play a role in
MavSocial reached out to bloggers in a recent campaign through a partner called Triberr. It’s the first time we’ve done this through a third party marketplace such as Triberr where we reached out to interested bloggers who were interested to look at our product, and then take it up and then write reviews and do whatever they wanted to do, because each blogger has a different approach to market. I thought it was a great campaign. I’ve been very happy with the diversity of output. Some bloggers have a specific audience that they write and tailor to. Some like video, some like audio. The Triberr campaign was very promising and very encouraging to us.
I think the role and the importance of the blogging community, I think again for 2015 is going to start to show the who’s who of the industry. Anybody can build their followers and anybody can retweet anything. It’s the ability of those who can crystalize and see what might be happening down the track, and those who can then interpret what they may or may not mean for business. Because I think, and coming back to your point about the program called The Profit, that’s absolutely key.
I think 2015 is going to be one of the years where management is going to start to be saying “Show me the money. Show me what the return on investment’s going to be for these programs.” That to me is also very uppermost in my mind. That’s why I see the ability of getting market education being key, which is through the blogging community. For us as a business obviously to be able to demonstrate to our clients, which we work very closely with, to show that the value proposition of MavSocial will encourage them to save time, save money, and then they can reallocate the most precious component they have, they can reallocate their time to dedicated tasks to improve their brand. That’s our role and our responsibility, and that’s one of the things that I see that really drives a role in marketing, and what we also do to going to market strategy.
I think the one thing about MavSocial that I don’t think a lot of readers would know is that we did not build our product in the United States. We took a different marketing approach to the construction of our product. We are a live product today. It’s not a theoretical or a vaporware or a non-existing product. It’s a real live product that is out there revenue generating for a fast growth emerging company. We didn’t build it in the United States. I’ve had a lot of experience working in America. I’ve been here, worked in the US for many, many years for very large software corporations, so I’ve got a great deal of experience of bringing product to the market.
In order to have a profitable, healthy business, as do our clients, it’s important we kept our cost base in check. With the partnerships we have with Getty Images and Bigstock and other vendors, those partnerships coupled with our off-shore development team, with our growing marketing and sales team in the United States, and also offices in Hong Kong, we are truly not just a fast growth company but we want to take this to being a fast growth, truly international company in the social media sphere. Of course, that’s great from a business objective. Second thing for what we need to know about MavSocial is we’ve got to have a lot of fun. You can’t lose focus on life, and that’s one thing that I always try to really have within our business, the true dimension of having a work-life balance, because we’ve got to work hard and we’ve got to play hard.
I’m being compensated for reviewing MavSocial but its one of those great tools that I would recommend you try, regardless. It’s an extremely efficient tool and it can save businesses and marketers a ton of time and money in the long run.
Don’t waste time and energy trying to market a campaign across all of your social networks alone. Don’t waste money on long term agreements for stock photos and costly editing software. So many businesses face issues trying to build an effective campaign through social media with the lack of an efficient tool to help them do it easily and smoothly.
Put yourself a step ahead of the others in your field and download a free trial of MavSocial today at www.MavSocial.com.