The prevalence of social media is proving to be more than a movement for sharing selfies and photos of delicious meals. The power of someone sharing their positive or negative opinion of a business is becoming more widely known, with criticisms fueling business loss and publicly made recommendations sparking all-important PR moves.
Recomazing, a new online platform gathering hype prior to its official June launch, has focused on the advocacy elements of social media to create a network for people to share and make business recommendations to their contacts.
Recomazing founder Marc Cowper, after working for marketing and digital agencies, launched Momentum Worldwide’s Digital and Social Media division. It was here, in a sector that created hundreds of apps and websites for clients such as Amex, Durex, Dettol and Heineken, that Cowper met a team of people that helped him bring what would be his ultimate brainchild to life.
“The idea for Recomazing clicked when I was asked by a friend to recommend a web designer – it was the fifth time that week someone was asking for a business recommendation from a friend instead of searching online,” Marc tells Dynamic Business.
“I realised that, despite the millions of dollars being spent by businesses to advertise to people, ultimately everyone trusts a friend recommendation over any source of information when making a purchase decision.”
The concept was simple: Have one place to store, find or request recommendations. Cowper acknowledges the importance that is placed on business recommendation tools used on popular social services, including Facebook’s ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ system and Twitter’s ‘Favourite’ and ‘Retweet’ capabilities, but says they do not necessarily mean that users actively approve of the business in question.
“The reason people still seek out friend recommendations so vigorously is because, unfortunately, a like or follow of a business on social media does not mean you recommend the business. Research shows that the number one reason why people like a page is actually to receive freebies and incentives.”
Marc says one of the most popular Facebook-apps that he and his team built for brands was a ‘like to win’ promotional app, which gave brands large amounts of followers that were not actually customers.
Another issue, Marc points out, is the fact recommendations on popular social media platforms don’t usually make it to the right amount of people to make it beneficial for the business. Changes in Facebook algorithms, for example, have seen business Pages reach smaller audiences, with ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ flying past in News Feeds within seconds.
“Recomazing allows a business to ask their customer for a recommendation and we make that recommendation available to all of the customer’s social contacts when they are looking to make a purchase decision,” Marc explains.
“We allow people to share or request business recommendations directly to their social pages from our site, while permanently saving those recommendations to their Recomazing profile. That means that anytime someone is looking for a service-based business, like a financial advisor, real estate agent or online fitness app, they can visit Recomazing to see the businesses that their friends recommend.”
A big incentive: Recomazing is free. It’s free for businesses to sign up for a Standard Profile, which allows businesses to take advantage of customer recommendations. There are two paid packages also on offer, upgrades that will provide “superior functionality”. Although the platform officially launches in June, it is currently accepting business registrations and offering pre-launch benefits to early signups.
“Based on existing numbers we expect to have 5,000 businesses signed up by July, which will each request recommendations from their customers driving scale to our platform,” Marc says.
“We also have strategic partnerships in place to ensure scale for our consumer launch. These partnerships have specifically been put in place to target high propensity to recommend customers. For example, because you are more likely to recommend a charity than any other business, we have a partnership with GoFundraise, which sits above 900 of Australia’s leading charities. Also, research shows that 73 per cent of Millennials feel it is their responsibility to help friends make smarter purchase decisions, so we have partnered with MusicOz, which owns Australia’s largest database of Millennial based independent artists.”
Marc strongly believes that business need to be taking stock of their social strategies and carefully planning objectives for each platform.
“Social media services are absolutely critical, but I can understand why businesses can be overwhelmed by the ever-changing landscape. The recent decline in organic social reach has a lot of businesses questioning the value they are receiving and was one of the biggest reasons why we created Recomazing.”
The big companies in social media have been established – they’re not going anywhere, and Marc more than understands that.
“If people are interested in building their own personal profile in the industry then LinkedIn and Twitter make sense. If they are looking to create a mass targeted advertising campaign then Facebook provides a great solution,” he says.
“If they are a business that knows they generate positive word of mouth and are looking to utilise customer advocates to create more leads over social – that’s where Recomazing can help!”