A recent post by a small business organization, on Facebook, pointed out that only 3% of the business owners surveyed felt that Twitter had any potential of helping their business. In the comments that followed, it was pretty apparent that the most common issue was time and resources. Most small business owners have little to spare of either. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a staff member that watches your Twitter feed for you, organizing what you need to pay attention to, and even making suggestion on things you should act on? Well, that wait may be over, with the pending BETA release of Meshfire.
I recently had the pleasure to (Google) Hangout with Meshfire CEO Eli Israel (@eliasisrael) and CMO Amber Osborne (@MissDestructo) to learn more about this Seattle based start-up and their new application. In a 20-minute demonstration I saw an application that did more than just organize your Twitter feeds and spit out analytical charts and graphs to tell you where you are and where you’ve been. I saw an app that can take a Social Media noob by the hand and walk them through the minutia and point them at the good stuff; the stuff that helps a business grow and be seen in the Twitter stream.
No More Mystery
Like many dashboards, it helps organize team members, allowing the leader of a Social Media or marketing team to assign tasks and follow-ups to team members. While the interface of “task cards” is great and the usability is simple (and kinda fun!), the one piece I enjoyed the most was the Virtual Team Member. This Virtual Team Member is always on, watching the stream, analyzing and making suggestions to you about the things that you should be paying attention to, from people talking about your brand to what is value trending for you. Even better was the fact that the trending topics it pays the most attention to is the stuff that is actually coming from the people that follow you and your brand, helping you further engage with the people that are talking to and about you, something the company refers to as Actionable Intelligence. No more having to watch a half dozen streams of searches and hashtags, trying to sort out what you need to action and what is chaff. It’s just there. Right now. In front of you. Done.
I really like the team administration, which follows a Lord of the Rings philosophy of “one password rules them all”, taking away the chances of a disgruntled employee hijacking your Twitter handle and running amuck in an angry tirade about your company (are you paying attention, HMV?). In fact, it was just that feature that got the attention of Microsoft, causing them to apply for BETA test access. They are not the only big names to show interest, with companies such as IBM, Google and Forrester Research also awaiting the official launch.
The application is currently Web browser based only, but is easily scalable to be viewed on smartphones, tablets and desktops alike. App versions are planned for the future, as are the inclusion of other Social Media platforms, such as Facebook. Out of the gate, however, the company has taken a very deliberate approach of focusing and honing the application, rather than trying to make it all things to all people, everywhere. With interest in North America, the UK and even South Africa, Meshfire’s growth looks to be on a very positive track.
Working in the #socialgood
One final thing that stands out about Meshfire and the team putting it together – while many companies in the Social Media sphere of application development will eventually get into doing #socialgood, Meshfire is actually making it part of their development plan, working in how their application can be used by non-profits and other organizations serving the #socialgood. Even though their price plan model makes it attractive to any business organization, taking the aspect of #socialgood into consideration, even before the BETA launch, gives the company some good karma right off the starting line.
Official BETA release of Meshfire is planned for late March, early April, and it is one that I would highly recommend taking for Social Media spin.