SocialRank, the startup that promises to help users find their most valuable, engaged, and all-around “best” followers, is announcing that it has raised $1 million in seed funding. It’s also opening sign-ups for a new feature, the ability to run similar reports on your competitors.
The initial product was developed by co-founders Alex Taub and Michael Schonfeld as a side project back in 2012, but they recently left their jobs at payment startup Dwolla to resurrect the project and turn it into a real business.
Right now, SocialRank provides top 10 lists for three types of followers on Twitter. The most valuable refers to, essentially, the biggest account following someone (Taub has described the calculation for most valuable follower as “scarcity plus usefulness plus importance”), while the most engaged is the person who actually interacts with your account and responds to your posts, and the best is a combination of the two, i.e., big name followers who actually talk to you.
For example, SocialRank identifies Electronic Arts as my most valuable follower, but the video game giant isn’t on my other lists because we’ve never interacted with each other on Twitter. (Taub said he’ll be adding Instagram data as well.)
In some ways, it may sound similar to service like Klout (which was recently acquired by Lithium), but it’s less about assigning everyone a score and more about understanding your own following, so that businesses know who they should be interacting with more, and perhaps who the followers they should be rewarding.
With the new feature, those businesses can get the same data for their competitors, or for any other Twitter user they want. Taub argued that most competitive data for social media has focused on general benchmarking (like if your biggest competitors has twice as many followers as you), rather than individual users. With SocialRank data, you can see the same lists for your competitors and, if you so desire, try to convince them to follow you, too. (Taub suggested that there are other uses for the data, for example online publishers might want to run lists such as, “10 People You Didn’t Realize Follow Miley Cyrus.” So if that actually happens, you can blame him.)
SocialRank will be rolling out the competitive intelligence product through an early release program, where companies apply to use the product for six months and help shape its direction before it goes into general release.
As for the seed funding, it was led Vaizra Investments with participation from Advancit Capital, BOLDstart Ventures, Social Starts, Iowa City Capital Partners, and various angel investors.
In a blog post, Taub said that 5,000 brands have used SocialRank since launch, and he added:
We see a huge opportunity to help brands better understand, connect and track their relationships with these followers and fans. Our vision for SocialRank is to be the go-to tool for brands who want to understand, manage, engage, reward, and track the people who follow them across social networks.