Social marketing is everywhere. It’s not just global brands, but increasingly local small business and even operators of part-time Etsy and Shopify storefronts that are looking to reach their customers through social media. But for these small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), it can be difficult and expensive to create compelling campaigns. For the last year, PromoJam has been working to solve this problem with a platform for creating campaigns without the need for coding or design expertise. Today, the company launched the next generation of its platform under the new name “Be Social.”
PromoJam’s Be Social is a self-serve platform for creating and targeting campaigns across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram and in a variety of formats including give-away promotions, sweepstakes, loyalty programs, coupons, and downloads, among others.
The platform combines a simple Photoshop-like toolset with account management and team collaboration features that the company claims can reduces the time to create most social campaigns from hours to minutes. Content creation happens in an intuitive, drag-and-drop WYSIWYG interface, that is the direct antithesis of the typical HTML- and CSS-driven process most marketers endure. The site also offers access to advanced tools for those more capable, and perhaps more masochistic users. Be Social supports individual project dashboards for each campaign and integrates with Dropbox for file management, in both cases with the goal of consolidating the workflow that typically occurs across multiple platforms.
The Be Social Platform is available on a monthly subscription. Users can get a taste for the platform by designing unlimited online and mobile lead-gen landing pages free of charge. The company then offers several paid tiers ranging from the $29.99 per month Basic tier to the $249 per month Pro tier with unlimited campaigns and users. Existing customers include premium brands like The LA Times, Hearst Corporation, and Blue Man Group as well as numerous Etsy and Shopify business owners and local service businesses like hair salon and event marketing groups.
Be Social is entering a crowded category but targeting a largely underserved demographic. Google-owned Wildfire offers an enterprise grade solution that begins at $2,500 per month, far beyond the reach of most SMBs. The same is true of Salesforce’s Buddy Media. Santa Monica-based SHIFT offers a free enterprise-focused marketer collaboration platform, but the accompanying ecosystem of social marketing apps must be purchased individually. But neither Wildfide nor Buddy Media nor SHIFT focuses on the SMB market.
PromoJam may be new to the SaaS software space, but it has years of experience in social marketing. The company started in 2009 as a social managed services agency working with LA-based premium brands like Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures, and a number of record labels. In March 2012, the company raised $1.2 million in Series A financing from Golden Seeds and Band of Angels to productize the best practices and internal tools built within the company. Be Social is the third, and by far the most compelling of its offerings to date.
There are challenges associated with an SMB-focused business model, not the least of which is the high cost of customer acquisition and the typically low levels of per customer profitability. Compared to the proverbial elephant hunt of the enterprise world, the SMB sector is like hunting grasshoppers. They may be nutritious, but it takes a lot of them to get full and catching them can be an exercise in futility.
It’s been a week since the company first launched Be Social and the early response has been positive, according to founders Amanda and Matt MacNaughton. The next challenge will be for the 10-person product-driven company to grow its sales and marketing capabilities to get Be Social in front of enough SMBs to make the economics attractive.