Last week we talked about how the Seattle Startup Giant Thinkwell managed to capture 9% of the twitter audience with just 20 people, a room and a plan. We thought this was an excellent story to cover for eVenues because it seems like every other month we hear about some technological innovation that "threatens to replace" face-to-face meetings. Time and again, however, we've found that technologies like email, Skype, and social media have not replaced face-to-face meetings at all. Rather, theyâ€™ve made meetings better. When Interviewing Giant Thinkwellâ€™s CEO Adam Tratt for last week's post, we learned that Adam Loving, a developer for BigDoor, a gamification startup based in Seattle, came up with a new web tool called Linksy (still in private beta), inspired in part by the success of Giant Thinkwell's social media war room. We sat down with Loving and asked him about it.
What does Linksy Do?Like Thinkwellâ€™s war room invitations, Linksy is a tool that enlists your supporters to share links to content through social media channels. Unlike the war room, however, you donâ€™t need to send invitations, and (gasp!) you donâ€™t need to find or book a venue. All you have to do is input the URL of the content youâ€™d like to share as well as a list of 20 of your closest fans (investors, executives, employees, and customers) into Linksyâ€™s web interface. Linksy then generates an email that goes to those 20 people. The email directs them to the Linksy web site which then directs them to choose what kind of message they want to go along with the link they are to share and which services they want to share it on. Users donâ€™t have to sign into anything. They just open it up, click it, close it, and they go on with their day. If they care to, they can check out a dashboard which shows who happens to be driving the most clicks and traffic to the target URL.
Linksy's first customer, theÂ Startup WeekendÂ team "Chicken Check-in." Loving initially tested out Linksy by helping promote several Startup Weekend Projects.Aside from Thinkwellâ€™s war room success, part of the inspiration for Linksy comes from Lovingâ€™s experiences working for tech startups. For most startups operating on a tight budget, PR efforts largely revolve around leveraging supporterâ€™s social networks on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Says Loving: â€The VP of marketing sends around an email saying: â€˜Hereâ€™s the coverage we got. Hereâ€™s the link to it. Could you, first of all, tweet and â€œlikeâ€ this? Second of all, could you go comment on this?â€™ A lot of times the employees donâ€™t necessarily recognize the benefit, like if youâ€™re a developer who has 80 followers or if you have 60 Facebook friends youâ€™re like: â€˜how does that benefit?â€™" As marketers know, and early trials of Linksy have proven - every share on the social web provides benefit. Perhaps more important, Linksy rewards the influential people in your social circle by showing them just how much benefit theyâ€™ve provided through the simple act of sharing a link. People like being helpful to their friends, as long as they know what theyâ€™re doing really does help. Linksy provides them with that knowledge.
Case Study: Linksy and VittanaWhile Linksy hasnâ€™t been put to the test with any large launches like Giant Thinkwellâ€™s war room, it has already proven useful to help get a real idea just how well tweets and facebook shares from certain people convert into newsletter signups or dollars spent. Loving tested Linksy out by promoting a link from Vittana, a Seattle based non-profit with a website that helps users make microloans to students in developing countries. Each loan helps students get a little closer to finishing their education. After graduation, many of these students earn anywhere from 3 to 8 times more in annual income than they would have earned without a degree. For the promotion, Loving chose Sergio, a computer science student in Paraguay, and asked ten people in his personal network to tweet out the link. Loving says that only half Â of his friends participated, but even then they managed to get over 600 clicks to Sergioâ€™s lending page. The tweet that drove the most clicks was by GroupTalent founder Andrew Kinzer, which was then retweeted by Dave Schappell, another notable influencer in Seattleâ€™s tech community:
Let's make Sergio's day. He's studying computer engineering in Paraguay. Make a loan NOT a donation. linksy.me/r/52 via @adamloving â€” Andrew Kinzer (@superkinz) January 22, 2012Out of the total 600 clicks Schappell and Kinzer drove about 400 of them and helped raise $50 for Sergioâ€™s education. While $50 doesnâ€™t sound like much, itâ€™s not bad for just a few tweets.