Business and Facebook

Businesses get personal with Facebook fans

    Businesses get personal with Facebook fans
    An Israeli startup offers ‘engagement triggers’ to individualize marketers’ relationships with fans and followers.
    By Avigayil Kadesh
    The new Israeli startup eDealya puts brands in touch with their Facebook fans and Twitter followers at milestone times in their lives, sending them relevant offers and coupons. It’s a focused and cutting-edge way to optimize return on investment from folks who already like your service or product.
    “When social [marketing] came along, Facebook pushed businesses to spend money on building new communities, and they got to the point where millions of people were following them,” says eDealya CEO Chaim Zucker.
    “But at the end of the day, the COO realizes the company is pouring money into this channel to get brand advocates -- and that’s good, but what are they getting out of it besides a very fluid return on the ‘Likes’ and followers? To solve that problem, we will help them engage the already created communities in a relevant way.”
    The service’s patent-pending platform analyzes the activities and intentions of its clients’ existing social community, scores each lead on a relevancy scale and sends automatic messages to individual fans with a timely and appropriate brand offering.
    For example, a Facebook fan of a toy store might receive a personal note of congratulations along with a discount coupon for a plaything after celebrating the birth of a baby. A bookstore’s Twitter follower could get a voucher for a business book or magazine when starting a new entrepreneurial venture.
    “Until now, most brands treat social media as the new television,” Zucker says. “But social is all about relevance and context. We allow the brands, through our software platform, to engage with their social community through ‘engagement triggers.’ The triggers could be planned vacations, birthdays, graduations, weddings, promotions, events like marathons -- whatever makes sense for your business.”
    Savvy social marketing
    Zucker met co-founder Ophir Sweiry while they were working at the Israeli network services solutions company Amdocs. Zucker was director of product management and business development for web products.
    “One of my main tasks was creating a new Amdocs ecommerce product,” Zucker recalls. “I had to learn about the life of marketing people, and one of the things that came up all the time is that they weren’t so savvy in the social marketing space. From there, Ophir and I decided to pursue this opportunity. We’ve built this product that solves some of the problems that marketing people have.”
    The two 36-year-olds established eDealya in January 2012, tapping fellow former Amdocs colleague Alex Pretsev (“a tech geek who is a brilliant coder and an all-around player in technology”) as their R&D director. They have raised nearly $1 million from two Israeli venture capital funds, including one that is backed by the Israel Chief Scientist’s Office.
    Based in the Negev, near Beersheva, eDealya is also establishing a presence in New York to keep a finger on the pulse of Madison Avenue and the almost limitless client base to be mined in and around the Big Apple.
    “We want to offer services to a variety of clients from large to small – even local businesses looking for tools to engage fans in a personal way,” says Zucker.
    This can be done with the help of about 100 engagement triggers the founders have identified.
    We ‘Like’ you, too
    “It’s up to the brand to decide when to engage,” Zucker says. eDealya’s three plan options, costing $49, $199 and $499 per month, allow businesses to choose a certain number of engagement triggers, automatic engagement messages and reports.
    The way Zucker sees it, people who have taken the time to “Like” a business on Facebook or follow it on Twitter feel appreciated when that business cultivates a more customized relationship with them. It’s very different than receiving a marketing pitch from a business that’s a virtual stranger.
    “It’s getting ‘Liked’ back,” he says.
    At first blush the tactic may seem invasive, but Zucker cites marketing surveys indicating that 80 percent of the people who are Facebook fans of a particular business clicked “Like” in the hope of getting some sort of thank-you perk.
    And if that perk isn’t just the same freebie or coupon everyone else gets at the same time, but rather a perfect and personalized match for what’s going on in their lives at the moment, it’s more likely to be appreciated and acted upon. If eDealya proves successful, the notion of brand loyalty will be revolutionized.
  • From left, eDealya founder and VP Product Ophir Sweiry, Director of R&D Alex Pretsev, founder and CEO Chaim Zucker