Built In Chicago and Marengo Hampshire Partners would like to congratulate November’s Startup of the Month: QUEsocial! This company turns regular employees into social media mavens by teaching them to use various channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for a variety of purposes.
Employees go through e-learning modules in QUEsocial’s SaaS-based platform which provide lessons for specific uses such as sales, recruiting, customer service, product development and marketing. Additionally, QUEsocial provides these employees relevant content that can be easily shared over their social networks, while incentivizing them to do so by gamifying the process. Most important to companies is the fact that individual employees’ outcomes can be measured against business goals.
CEO Patrick Rooney brings years of social media marketing experience to the table. As one of the co-founders of Zocalo Group, he worked to keep the company at the forefront of social media marketing tools and techniques. For QUEsocial, he teamed up with Mike Dwyer, a veteran marketer of whom Rooney says, “His time at Aon Hewitt and later as an independent consultant helped to shape Mike's view of the broad opportunity companies have to train and enable employees to be an extension of the brand.” Rooney also praised team member Michelle Hellyar, former principle of Hellyar Marketing Communications, for her deep experience in strategy development, marketing and customer management.
“QUEsocial is the amalgamation of my broad perspective of the opportunities in the social media market, Mike's experience in using social media for recruiting and sales, and Michelle's experience with looking at things through a customer's eyes,” Rooney said.
I caught up with Rooney for some more insight into the way QUEsocial works:
IN YOUR OWN WORDS, WHAT DOES QUEsocial DO?
Rooney: For companies, QUEsocial operationalizes social business across the organization and provides scalability, consistency, compliance assurance and cross-department alignment.
HOW DID THE IDEA FOR QUEsocial COME ABOUT?
Rooney: When we started, we were a consulting company focused on providing professional services to help different business functions use social media as a work tool. We...found that while companies wanted to embrace social business, they didn't know where to start, or didn't have the right tools or resources. We also heard that companies needed a solution that was scalable across the organization, provided consistency, was self-sustaining, easy to implement, affordable, flexible and job-specific. After all of those discussions, we literally turned our business model inside-out, and created a platform that automated the entire process.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT THAT NEEDS TO BE FIXED?
Rooney: [There is] a gap in enabling employees to go beyond the firewall to grow and tap into their external social networks as a course of everyday work. That may be because of the various issues that need to be address when talking about how social can be harnessed as a business tool — compliance, consistency, content management, adoption and sustainability, best practices, and frankly, how much "control" to give up. Further, business managers are at the point where they are looking hard at the true value of social media as a business tool. QUEsocial simply answers all of those questions.
WHAT IS QUEsocial’S BIGGEST STRENGTH?
Rooney: The entire platform is developed on a proprietary game engine that guides users through the social business adoption curve so that efforts are focused on converting social activity into business impact. We have found organizations place emphasis on different functions of the platform based on their business objectives — some value the unique content distribution capability while others value the game engine, and others value the e-learning capability.
WHAT IS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE YOUR COMPANY FACES?
Rooney: Our greatest challenge right now is raising capital. We have a tremendous market opportunity, and our ability to capitalize on it is based on how quickly we can move, hire the right people, and scale our sales and marketing efforts.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE REST OF 2012?
Rooney: We've been really pleased with the traction we have generated since we launched in August. Our goal for the remainder of the year is to smoothly convert our pilots and early customers to annual contracts.