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, they’ve made meetings better. When Interviewing Giant Thinkwell’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 Thinkwell’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 don’t need to send invitations, and (gasp!) you don’t need to find or book a venue. All you have to do is input the URL of the content you’d like to share as well as a list of 20 of your closest fans (investors, executives, employees, and customers) into Linksy’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 don’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 Origins

Linksy's first customer, the Startup Weekend team "Chicken Check-in." Loving initially tested out Linksy by helping promote several Startup Weekend Projects.

Aside from Thinkwell’s war room success, part of the inspiration for Linksy comes from Loving’s experiences working for tech startups. For most startups operating on a tight budget, PR efforts largely revolve around leveraging supporter’s social networks on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Says Loving: ”The VP of marketing sends around an email saying: ‘Here’s the coverage we got. Here’s the link to it. Could you, first of all, tweet and “like” this? Second of all, could you go comment on this?’ A lot of times the employees don’t necessarily recognize the benefit, like if you’re a developer who has 80 followers or if you have 60 Facebook friends you’re like: ‘how does that benefit?’" 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 they’ve provided through the simple act of sharing a link. People like being helpful to their friends, as long as they know what they’re doing really does help. Linksy provides them with that knowledge.

Case Study: Linksy and Vittana

While Linksy hasn’t been put to the test with any large launches like Giant Thinkwell’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  of his friends participated, but even then they managed to get over 600 clicks to Sergio’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 Seattle’s tech community:   Out of the total 600 clicks Schappell and Kinzer drove about 400 of them and helped raise $50 for Sergio’s education. While $50 doesn’t sound like much, it’s not bad for just a few tweets.

Partial View: Click to See the Entire Dashboard

Does Linksy Replace a Launch War Room?

In a word: no. What Linksy does is provide a way to reach out to friends to help promote links a few times a month. This tool certainly doesn’t replace a coordinated launch effort like Giant Thinkwell’s war room. There’s simply no replacement for a coordinated team responding in real-time to social media chatter. Linksy, rather than being a replacement for a social media war room, could actually become one of the main tools in a war room’s arsenal. By using this tool you’d be able to keep track of just whom among your friends and family are the most influential as far as driving clicks and traffic. When the time came to send out invitations to your war room, you’d be able to limit your list to a select few whom you know would really be able to help you out--thus saving you beer and pizza money...not to mention the money you’d be saving by booking a smaller, cheaper venue. Thinking about organizing a social media war room yourself? Consider booking a one of our venues in Seattle, SanFrancisco, LosAngeles, San Jose, or Portland.