Over the last few, years a handful of Australian and International startups have tried to tackle the ‘referral’ market. Startups like ExpectReferrals (now pivoted to a coupon site) and Referron, which was the talk of CeBit in 2013 have launched but none of them have: (a) gained any traction of significance; or (b) really become an integral part of everyday business life.
Recomazing is a startup (set to officially launch in June) that describes itself as a social media platform that works by enabling friends to find, make and share business recommendations to their social media network with the intention of saving everyone time and money.
Created by entrepreneur and leader in the digital advertising industry, Marc Cowper – the platform aims to help struggling business owners that can’t see the benefit of being on social media an easier, more efficient and cost effective way to utilise social media to generate new customers.
“With Recomazing, businesses simply create a profile to enable their customers to give them a ‘reco’ and the customers’ entire social network can then access it,” says Cowper.
“So if a person is searching for a particular business, for example a health & fitness app or a website dedicated to improving wealth management they can check out their trusted friends’ recommendations first on Recomazing before making their transaction decision. And if they find a great business and want to let others know about it, it is very simple to proactively give it a ‘Reco’”.
A common problem that most small business owners have on social media platforms like Facebook is that they live in hope that every time they post that the content will be seen by both current and potentially new customers. However, the fact of the matter is the average post reaches around two percent of a page’s followers making it difficult to reach any audience unless you are willing to fork out the dollars needed to boost coverage.
“Even if someone has ‘liked’ a page, it doesn’t mean they actively recommend your business to their friends – they may have just liked it to win a promotion. Business owners have told us that they want to be able to identify those valuable customers that provide friend recommendations and then use social media to drive more referrals,” Cowper says.
Whilst Recomazing provided media with some pretty decent high-profile ‘testimonials’ about its product – all those testimonials were about what Recomazing “could” do for those businesses, not what it actually has done. Given the platform has just launched its not too much of a red flag. I do however feel that providing us with real-world examples would make a stronger case about whether or not Recomazing has product-market fit. At this early stage, I am not yet convinced it does, I just don’t see the wider Australian business community investing their time into yet another platform in the social media space.
Unlike other anonymous review sites that allow negative feedback along with the possibility of competitors writing falsified negative reviews, Recomazing was specifically set up to only feature positive recommendations from people in a users social network. If a customer gets amazing service from a business then they can provide a recommendation; if they don’t, they simply don’t give it a ‘reco’.
Whilst it is noble to keep things positive, it kind of goes against the entire grain of what people use social media for and I can see this feature actually being a hinderance to growth.
I don’t think it is a big secret that businesses get a majority of their new business via friend recommendations. In fact, statistics cited by Cowper suggest that 82 percent of small businesses receive most of their new customers this way. Cowper hopes that through the Recomazing platform he will be able to digitise this process and make it scalable.
Recomazing will be free for businesses to use and there will be a premium and platinum package for businesses that want to gain extra insights, see social analytics and really begin to understand how and where recommendations about their business are coming from, enabling them to identify which channels across the web are delivering them new business.
For me, these are the features that are interesting and where I see value for business owners. Finding and interpreting data around how people are interacting with a business online is more valuable than trying to get people using a new platform they probably don’t have time for. This is the type of thing that businesses are willing to pay for.