It doesn’t matter if you have one million Facebook fans if they never see your news feed posts. That’s why SV Angel, Founders Fund Angel, and more have backed a $ 1 million Series A for news feed optimization service Booshaka, which is also launching a big product update today.
The startup helps businesses identify their most active fans — especially the 10% generating 90% of the engagement — and incentivize them to leave even more wall posts, Likes, and comments. This feedback signals to Facebook’s news feed sorting algorithm EdgeRank that a business is high-quality and that its posts should be shown to a higher percentage of its fans. More impressions -> more clicks and awareness -> higher return on investment for businesses on their social media spend. This is social SEO, and it’s worth paying Booshaka for.
A lot of people don’t realize that businesses only reach an average of 12%-16% of their fans with each news feed post. That’s because some might not be online around they time a post is published, but it’s also because of EdgeRank, which determines which posts are worthy of being seen. A big signal that goes into this relevance rank is how often a Page’s fans have engaged with it in the past.
So if businesses want more reach in the news feed, they need to inspire their fans to be active, and then amplify their mentions of the brand through social ads. Booshaka accomplishes this with a product suite including analytics, evangelist recognition apps, and an Facebook Ads API interface.
First, business give Booshaka permission to analyze their Page wall and identify their loudest fans. Pages can then install a leaderboard application on their Page that offers fame to those who engage most frequently.
Booshaka’s Activity Feed app highlights the latest participants in the conversation, and an Activity Box app lets Pages ask fans to complete specific missions such as uploading a photo or checking in to a physical store. Pages can then reward fans for their engagement with virtual goods, badges, real product samples, and discounts. All these activities improve a Page’s EdgeRank.
But here’s where Booshaka gets really smart. These actions automatically generate mentions of a brand that can be turned into Sponsored Stories ads on Facebook. These social ads that amplify word of mouth’s reach have proved to be influential and have stellar click-through rates. They’re also the only types of ads that can appear on Facebook mobile. Booshaka even tells brands how to target these ads by identifying Pages with similar fan bases who the ads would seem relevant to.
Investors think news feed optimization (NFO) could a big business the way search engine optimization did. 120,000 Facebook Pages have already signed up for Booshaka’s help, leading to today’s Series A participation from SV Angel, PivotNorth Capital, FF Angel, Joe Lonsdale (CEO of Addepar and co-founder of Palantir), Peter Weck (co-founder of Keepsy and Simply Hired) and Rich Skrenta (CEO of Blekko).
Booshaka will be competing with other NFO services such as 500 Startups’ PostRocket, analytics providers including PageLever and EdgeRank Checker, plus the big dogs of Facebook marketing like Buddy Media, Vitrue, and Wildfire. Booshaka’s basic apps are free, with premium rewards and analytics capabilities ranging from $ 30 to $ 500 a month based on fan count, and enterprise service with competitor benchmarking and more available for Pages with over 75,000 fans.
Brands have spent the last few spending millions on enterprise social marketing services who build them contests to net them new fans. But sometimes these are just fair-weather fans who are just looking to win prizes, and who aren’t necessarily potential customers. Even if they’re the right fans, they might never see a brand’s marketing messages if their EdgeRank is too low.
Booshaka’s founder and CEO Erik Ober tells me “This first wave of the companies took advantage of the naive the market, [charging them to] acquire these huge audiences that don’t care. Now it’s our job to go out and find the people that are engaged and rally them around the conversation.” If Booshaka works, brands won’t need to buy more fans because they’ll be able to squeeze more ROI out of the ones they already have.