Addvocate Uses Kickstarter Model To Launch “Paid Beta” For Service That Coordinates Social Media Inside The Company Walls

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Addvocate is launching today with a “paid beta,” that will allow customers to set their own price for the service that aspires to take on the still primitive methods for coordinating social media inside a company’s walls.

The model is similar to Kickstarter, which allows people to set the amount they wish to invest in a project.

When a customer chooses to try the service, they pay for their first license to get started. Afterward the customer can add up to 100 coworkers at no cost for 30 days. Like Kickstarter, the customer chooses what price they want to pay.

For example, an Addvocate customer may pay $1 for a subscription and order 100 licenses within the first 30 days. The deal is good for six months. Addvocate Founder Marcus Nelson said at that point there may be some incentives such as a discount for the licenses.

Addvocate is the kind of service that puts infrastructure behind a social media strategy. It coordinates all the social media accounts in a company, segments them and optimizes for the best use.

Nelson, who previously directed social media at Salesforce.com before starting Addvocate, said in an email that after employees opt-in, they select content they want to share on their personal social networks. They can also suggest content to fellow coworkers. Moderators approve, schedule, and direct the content to the people or channels where it will be most effective.

The service works from the browser. In Chrome, the service is a plugin. In Firefox and Internet Explorer it is a bookmarklet. It is not available in Safari. Mobile apps are coming this summer.

Content is shared and tracked through short URLs and campaign codes. These links reveal the actions customers take. These include purchases, lead capture-forms, downloads and other actions that allow marketers to understand which content generated the most buzz and which employees are driving influence.

These results help tailor future content, shape a company’s overall presence, and identify who the social media influencers are inside a company. All the data is easily categorized to help customers stay up-to-date.

Here’s what I find interesting about Addvocate. First of all, the model is unique. It turns software licensing on its head. The customer sets the price. In turn, it gives Addvocate a real incentive to develop a relationship with the customer and embrace them in the community. Further, it’s so counter to traditional enterprise software licensing. This is the opposite of country club deal making. This is not a massive enterprise software sale with a ton of consulting thrown in. It uses modern, Web-oriented methods to attract and keep people engaged.

Addvocate touches on the immaturity of social media inside organizations. Without the right identity mechanisms, managing a social media strategy can be a bit like herding cats. Who has access to what accounts gets lost pretty fast when there are no ways to see who actually has the permissions to use it.

There are other good reasons to connect and coordinate accounts. It fits well with an inside sales strategy. Tracking the data can tell marketing how to channel messages from particular influencers in a company. That can lead to more leads and potentially more sales.

In all, this is an identity play that brings more security and mire granular optimization of a social media strategy.

I would only say that Addvocate has a race ahead. This space is going to get red-hot as more competitors begin to see the aggregated value of all social media accounts and how that data can be segmented and used to amplify the voice of the company. Companies that could be considered competitors include ZuberanceExtole and nfluitive.