SocialToaster, a Baltimore startup, is doing something that's not terribly easy to do: it's monetizing social media distribution.
Here's how it works: If you're a brand or digital publisher, you use SocialToaster to register a bevy of "ambassadors", or "Super Fans", who get early access to your news and promotions. Here's the thing about these ambassadors: They're very socially connected, and they like to share online. A lot.
Brands with lots of loyal fans -- think NFL sports teams, for instance -- are using SocialToaster for high engagement with their fans.
Brian Razzaque, the CEO of SocialToaster, said that ambassadors are sharing publishers'/brands' messages anywhere from 60 to 74 percent of the time.
Imagine if your tweets were shared that often how much reach you'd have in a short amount of time?
The Baltimore Ravens are using SocialToaster to engage their fans in monthly social media sharing contests. See here: http://www.baltimoreravens.com/News/RavensReps.aspx#st
So far, SocialToaster seems geared toward organizations with a marketing budget, and that want to do more in social media. Razzaque says that a user can set their own monthly cap and only spend up to that cap. SocialToaster's monthly pricing ranges from $79 (for small businesses) to $2,000 (for enterprise customers).
So why am I writing about SocialToaster now? Here are the five things you need to know about the company:
1. The company's big news last week was that it raised a nice round of capital, a series A round where they hauled in $1.975 million from a healthy network of investors. (Part of the money, $600,000, was a bridge note that converted to equity, Razzaque told me.) Last year, the company's sales were $300K. This year, Razzaque is projecting $2 million to $3 million -- and they'll be cash-flow positive in 12 months.
2. The company is located in the Stieff Silver building in Hampden, in Baltimore. But it's soon moving to nearby Clipper Mill, near the Woodberry Kitchen restaurant, and subletting space from G1440, another tech company, that's nearly three times bigger than its current space.
3. Razzaque: "One of our clients told us that with 60,000 ambassadors, we were more effective than their Facebook page of 20 million fans."
4. With the infusion of capital, Razzaque plans to grow headcount from 22 to 50 in the next 12 months. Much of the staff he needs involves client and technical support. Most of their tech development is done by in-house staff.
5. Razzaque's targeting media and entertainment industries, not just sports franchises. He'd like to see news organizations use SocialToaster to engage their readers more (locally, The Urbanite and SmartCEO are using it.) He said a "well-known major TV/entertainment brand" has signed up with SocialToaster and will be using the service in the fall as part of a nationwide promotion.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun